The English Premier League soccer season is winding down but there still a few matters to be settled at both the top and bottom of the table. Even in the middle of the table–where Leicester City is to be found–there is something to play for. With Manchester United and Chelsea renewing their rivalry at Old Trafford and with Manchester City looking to keep pace with Liverpool atop the English Premier League table this game could be overlooked to some extent. That’s a shame since it might end up being the most entertaining and competitive matchup on the short Sunday card.
Depending on how the rest of the EPL season shakes out for Arsenal they could finish as high as third or as low as sixth. As you’re no doubt aware, in English soccer third and fourth places are significant as they qualify teams for entree into the Champions League competition which brings with it considerable prestige–and revenues. Entering Sunday’s play, Tottenham Hotspur is in third place with 70 points. Chelsea is in action at Manchester United and are in fourth place with 67 points. Up next is Arsenal with 66 points followed by Manchester United with 64 points. Obviously, Arsenal will have a keen interest in the goings-on at Old Trafford and depending on the outcome there are a variety of scenarios at play. With two more games remaining, however, the best thing that Arsenal can do is focus on the task at hand.
Leicester City might not be playing for a Champions League spot but depending on how things shake out in the final weeks of the Premiership season they could see their position on the table improve or deteriorate. They’re currently in 10th place with 48 points with Everton and Watford just ahead tied at 50. Wolverhampton is in 7th place with 54 points. The three teams immediately in front of Leicester City are done for the week as are the teams in their rear view mirror. West Ham United are two points back, Crystal Palace is give back and Newcastle United and Bournemouth are 6 back. Should Leicester gain any points here they can scratch the latter two teams off of their list of concerns.
Arsenal may need wins but they haven’t been in good form of late and particularly on the road. Last week was pretty much ‘worst case scenario’ for the Gunners as they lost 3-2 at home to Crystal Palace and 3-1 away at Wolverhampton. The schedule gives them something of a break the rest of the way with a game at Brighton and home against Burnley matching them against two teams that have been fighting to avoid relegation. Given their poor play away from Emirates Stadium nothing can be taken for granted. They’re 6-4-7 in EPL play away from home this season and have lost 5 of their last 8 in league action. They’ve also lost 4 of their last 7 in all competitions.
Leicester City is 7-2-8 at home and the team things that they have a realistic shot against Arsenal here. The primary goal is 7th place which would bring with it a Europa League entry should Manchester City win the FA Cup. The rest of the EPL slate is no picnic for Leicester–they play at Manchester City on May 6 and home against Chelsea to conclude the season the following Sunday. This means that this game is essential for Leicester City’s European play ambitions. They beat Arsenal 3-1 at this venue last year and in the last five meetings also have three draws and a loss. With Arsenal’s poor defensive play lately they surely realize that the best way to win is by playing attacking football. The recent meetings between the teams have seen a good deal of goal scoring with at least 4 tallies in each of the past three head to head. We’ll play Leicester City on the two way line to protect against a draw and look for a wide open contest.