Summer is officially over as the Premier League returns tomorrow night.
There’s no better place to kick off the new season than at the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal host Leicester City in front of the Sky cameras.
Both teams have had a quiet transfer window so which team has spent wisely and will get their campaign off to a flyer?
Arsenal have to make do without Laurent Koscielny as he serves a match ban. Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsay and Aleix Sanchez are also out with fitness issues.
That opens the door for summer signings, Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac to make their Premier League bows.
Leicester are missing Danny Drinkwater and new signing, Vicente Iborra to muscle problems. Robert Huth won’t feature in defence after having ankle surgery during the off season.
Huth’s absence paves the way for Harry Maguire to make his competitive debut with the Foxes.
Ex Manchester City forward, Kelechi Iheanacho is expected to play a small role as he continues to get up to match fitness. Winger, Riyad Mahrez is definitely set to start despite interest from AS Roma.
Interesting season in store?
This season is set to be interesting for both Arsenal and Leicester.
The Gunners missed out on Champions League football for the first time under Arsene Wenger in May. It means that they need wins under their belts before the Thursday – Sunday routine kicks in when Europa League football gets underway.
Leicester have no pressure on them after struggling domestically last season as champions. With some strong signings, could Leicester again take advantage of having no European football and mount a title challenge?
Gunners on fire
This fixture has belonged to the Gunners, who have avoided defeat in all but their very first Premier League meeting, back in October 1993 at Filbert Street.
Arsenal’s longest winning home streak against an opponent is against the Foxes, having not lost their last ten home games against them.
Given that this match falls on a Friday, the omens are good in North London because the Gooners are yet to lose on a Friday since the Premier League was formed in 1992.
Tight opening day history
Arsenal have a poor opening day record, having won just one of their last seven opening fixtures of a new league season. They are however yet to lose three consecutive opening day matches for 57 years.
Leicester too have a terrible top flight record when comes to opening weekend away fixtures. Their only two away victories on the first weekend came at Aston Villa in 1927 and 1933. As for their Friday record, you have to go back to 1975 against Derby County for their last Friday victory.
This match certainly looks like it will be Arsenal’s to lose but both sides leave a lot to be desired as far as opening weekend records go.
Lacazette might of scored plenty of goals for Lyon last season but the English ball game takes time to settle into.
A draw is probably the best bet but I am backing Leicester to finally spring an away victory at Arsenal as the Premier League marks 25 years of existence.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-2 Leicester
Result: Arsenal 4-3 Leicester