Arsenal (+145) at Leicester City (+185), Draw (+250)
Both the defending champs, Leicester City (0-0-1, 0 pts), and perennial powerhouse Arsenal (0-0-1, 0 pts) started their 2016-17 Premier League campaigns on a sour note last weekend. Now they’ll both look to turn things around this weekend, as the Gunners invade King Power Stadium on Saturday (12:30 PM Eastern).
Leicester’s defeat was easily the worse of the two, after last year’s Cinderella story was upset by newly promoted Hull City, 2-1. The Foxes only goal came from Riyad Mahrez on a penalty; that wasn’t the only bright spot the winger provided this week. He also signed a new four-year deal with Leicester on Wednesday, ending speculation he would transfer to Arsenal.
Mahrez was the second major player off Leicester that Arsenal tried to pilfer this summer, also making a play for Jamie Vardy. It appears the Gunners don’t need any help scoring goals, though; they need help stopping them.
Arsenal dropped a 4-3 opener to Liverpool, surrendering 16 shots, including seven on target. The club only allowed four goals in a game once last season. This time, the result came without Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil, or Olivier Giroud in the lineup. All three were given extra time off after deep runs in Euro 2016.
Manager Arsene Wenger suggested Arsenal may have to “take a gamble” on the fitness of those stars, though, to avoid another poor result. The Gunners are already weak on the back end with Gabriel Paulista and captain Per Mertesacker injured.
The Gunners took both meetings between these teams last season, and have not lost to Leicester in league play since November 1994. But with Arsenal looking so weak on the back end, the Foxes should be able to get a positive – or at least non-negative – result in their home-opener.
Pick: Draw (+250).
Photo Credit: Kajsh (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.