A lot of the build up to this potentially pivotal match in the race for the Premier League title has been about whether the pressure will be on Arsenal who are currently five points behind the league leaders and today’s opponents Leicester City, with both Arsene Wenger and Claudio Ranieri trying to play the mind games and insist that it is the other team that will be feeling the pressure.
At the same time, however, the managers have been trying to feel each other out tactically and I think that Wenger has been deliberately throwing a few red herrings in his rival’s path. So the Frenchman has been calmly talking about the Arsenal approach being our usual style of dominating possession and pushing forward for a goal, while also suggesting that it will be Gabriel instead of Mertesacker next to Koscielny in defence because we will be playing a high line and worried about the pace of Vardy, Mahrez and all.
I have a sneaking feeling that Wenger has done this to get the Foxes ready to play a certain way, while he has actually set up Arsenal to play the patient game and actually concede a bit of possession. And I think he will bring the big German back in.
The BFG may be slow but he is still a great defender and rarely misses a tackle. And with his experience and cool head he seems to bring the best out of Koscielny. So if I am right, Wenger’s plan is to unsettle and confuse Leicester and make them play out of their comfort zone.
It is a risky tactic and the creative and attacking players of Arsenal will need to be on their toes to make the most of fewer chances, but then again it is a risky tactic to play into the hands of Leicester as Man City found out last week.