29 mins: Bewildering miss! Castagna misjudges a crossfield pass to Tierney, who is thus free to send in a cross to Lacazette. It’s at head height, but Lacazette, put off perhaps by Fuchs, who lifts his foot in an attempt to get something on it, makes terrible contact and from five yards fails to convert!
28 mins: Tierney sends in an excellent cross, which dips onto the head of Lacazette at the far post, but maybe just an inch or two high. The ball loops off his head, up into the air and down into Schmeichel’s gloves.
25 mins: Another ball over the defence to Bellerin, who volleys in a low cross but Lacazette hasn’t anticipated it, and it’s cleared for a corner.
24 mins: A quarter of the way through the game, and Arsenal have certainly looked the more threatening side. I’m remain to be convinced by Barnes as a solo centre-forward.
21 mins: An excellent pass from Xhaka releases Lacazette on the left, who holds it up and passes infield to Saka, whose shot from an acute angle is stopped by Schmeichel. The flag goes up, but Lacazette was onside and any goal would have stood.
18 mins: Leicester break and Barnes crosses from the right, but it goes just behind Justin and his is the only blue shirt in the penalty area.
15 mins: Arsenal have really thrown themselves into this game, and have shown plenty of attacking endeavour. They win another corner, but it’s not a good one and it bounces out of play on the far side of goal.
13 mins: Now Arsenal cross from the right, and Gabriel attempts an overhead that becomes a clearance, sending the ball out to the left. Arsenal cross again, and Gabriel gets up, dusts himself down and tries another overhead, which is only marginally better than the first.
11 mins: Chance for Arsenal! Bellerin is played through by David Luiz. He brings it under control and he need only square the ball to give Lacazette a tap-in, but Evans slides in to block!
9 mins: It’s a deeply rubbish free kick, hit slowly into the knee of someone in the wall.
9 mins: Lacazette is tripped, 23 yards from goal or so, and Xhaka will fancy his chances of influencing play again.
7 mins: I’m not sure anyone touched the ball after Lacazette flicked it on, so it must have been disallowed for Xhaka influencing play by standing in front of the goalkeeper.
4 mins: Goal! Bit it’s disallowed! Arsenal win a corner, flick it on at the near post, and it goes in at the far! There were three Arsenal players offside when it was flicked goalwards, and at least one of them in Schmeichel’s path, so the question was what the goal would get disallowed for rather than whether it would get disallowed at all.
2 mins: Shot! Leono hits a limp clearance straight to Madison, who tries to lift the ball into the empty net from 40 yards or so, but it floats just wide.
The players come out! While we wait for kick-off, here’s Brendan Rodgers on Jamie Vardy:
He’s trained the last couple of days and looked good, so that’s means he’ll be a possibility from the bench. With so many games ahead we didn’t want to take a risk, but I’m sure he’ll play a part.
And here’s Mikel Arteta on Leicester:
I think they are a very complete side, and tricky to deal with, because they are really good on the ball in positional play, but they are really good in transition as well. They can go high press, they can defend really deep as they did against City. I think they’ve come a long way, they’ve improved a lot as a team and it will be really tough tonight.
I’m very much looking forward to this game, but while I waited for Sky’s expensive pay-per-view service to kick in I discovered that Groundhog Day is on Dave and I have a bit of a thing about it, and now I’m going to miss the end. I’m so annoyed I’m going to refuse to make the obvious joke about Leicester’s trips to Arsenal.
Three changes for Arsenal, who bring in David Luiz, Alexandre Lacazette and, for a first league start since moving to the club, Thomas Partey. Two changes for Leicester, who bring in Christian Fuchs and James Maddison and leave out Ayoze Perez and Kelechi Iheanacho. The big news, though, is that Jamie Vardy is back in the squad but not in the starting line-up, restricted as he is to the bench.
The team sheets have been handed in, and the key names tonight are these ones:
Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney, Ceballos, Xhaka, Thomas, Saka, Lacazette, Aubameyang. Subs: Runarsson, Maitland-Niles, Pepe, Mustafi, Elneny, Willock, Nketiah.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Fofana, Evans, Fuchs, Castagne, Tielemans, Mendy, Justin, Praet, Maddison, Barnes. Subs: Morgan, Vardy, Albrighton, Ward, Iheanacho, Under, Choudhury.
Referee: Craig Pawson.
Leicester haven’t won at Arsenal in any competition since 1973, and most recently lost to them in the Carabao Cup a month (and two days) ago. That strikes me as statistically unlikely. I mean, that is a seriously rubbish record, a history so dismal there is no sensible explanation except witchcraft. Arsenal haven’t lost a home league game in October in 32 matches since 2002, which also smells suspiciously like witchcraft. So though the teams start the game tied on nine points, the Gunners have history and some kind of magical protection charm in their favour.
In addition, the Foxes have lost their last two league matches, at home to West Ham and Aston Villa, which isn’t encouraging, though they did win their last away game at Manchester City, which is. At stake today is a place in the top four, which will be enjoyed by whoever wins the game, if indeed anyone does. Welcome!
Kick-off: 7.15pm GMT