If the loss to Liverpool didn’t provide a reality check, the defeat away to an average yet resolute Manchester City has shown just how far Arsenal are off the best teams in the Premier League.
It wasn’t even a bad performance from the Gunners; however, the lack of clear-cut chances created from open play was almost frightening, especially when you consider the club had Mesut Ozil sat at home with his feet up.
The club’s clearest chance on goal was from Bukayo Saka, and even then, it was a shot from an almost impossible angle with Ederson pulling off a simple save.
It was the fourth league game on the bounce in which you can say the club have struggled to impose themselves on the live betting opportunities during 90 minutes, and with Leicester City on the horizon, a good performance is well overdue.
The Foxes are out of sorts themselves, having coupled three wins from their opening three games with consecutive home defeats.
And when you consider Brendan Rodgers’ team managed to destroy Pep Guardiola’s men, the losses at the King Power Stadium to the likes of West Ham United and Aston Villa proves shocking.
Whether it’s the north London outfit or the Midlands side, the start of this campaign has taught us that there is a real battle among many clubs to finish in the top four.
Focusing back on Mikel Arteta’s men, the game on Sunday is already proving to be a crucial moment in their season.
Laying down an early marker against a fellow top four rival is just what is needed ahead of what is sure to be a tough year in the battle to regain Champions League football.
The Gunners are quite strong at home against the 2015/2016 title winners having last lost to the side way back in January of 1973.
But, with Jamie Vardy reportedly on his way back to full fitness ahead of the clash, it could prove to be a tricky 90 minutes for the Emirates Stadium giants.
It’s no secret that the Gunners hate playing against the former England international, his pace and lethal finishing has seen him score 10 times in 10 appearances.
We should all know just what pace and power does to the side’s backline, having already watched the defence struggle against Michail Antonio back in September.
Whilst the Gunners did come out on top, the Englishman put in a brilliant performance as he wreaked havoc. The 30-year-old was on fire as he had an eye-opening five shots on goal, scoring the equaliser, and even drew three fouls.
Vardy will be hoping for something similar this Sunday, and if Arsenal are to stand any chance of getting a result, they must keep last season’s top scorer quiet.
However, with Gabriel Magalhaes having taken to the English top-flight like a duck to water, Arsenal have the perfect counter Vardy’s threat.
The Brazilian has a number of qualities which make him an ideal selection for Sunday, but it is his one-on-one defending which has proved most impressive so far.
During the defeat to City last week, the 22-year-old showed his ability to handle strikers when isolated in wide areas as he recovered to block a Sergio Aguero cross, despite having gone down to ground too early.
However, with the Foxes stacked in midfield, another key conundrum will need to be sorted out.
Creativity has proven to be a big issue at the start of this season, especially in recent league outings. Three attempts on target against Guardiola’s men and only five against Sheffield United, producing shots on goal has been a massive problem thus far.
Dani Ceballos has proven to be the most creative player in middle, playing 1.2 key passes per game. However, the stats make for grim reading after that with Saka the next highest creator from midfield with just 0.7 per game. Furthermore, Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka haven’t exactly shone in this area, playing just 0.3 and 0.2 key passes respectively (via WhoScored).
However, no such problems exist up front, where Alexandre Lacazette has done his utmost to silence his critics with three goals in five league games, following last season’s disappointing tally of just 10 goals in the top division.
A wounded Leicester City is one of the most dangerous teams in the division, from their pace upfront to their quality in midfield, they have the tools to down the Gunners come Sunday.
However, with Arteta having improved the side’s defence quite brilliantly, swapping struggles at the back for struggles upfront is a welcome change in north London, who have been criticised for their poor defence in recent years.