Arsenal v Leicester preview: Premier League returns with Friday Night Football
Last Updated: 12/08/17 10:59am
The Premier League will kick-off on a Friday night for the first time when Arsenal and Leicester meet, live on the Sky Sports Premier League channel.
Arsene Wenger's men finished outside the top four in the Premier League for the first time since 1996 last season.
However, Wenger salvaged the season by winning the FA Cup at Wembley and he starts this campaign having signed a new two-year contract extension in the summer.
Installed as fifth favourites to win the Premier League, Arsenal will be looking to end a poor run of opening day results in recent years. The Gunners have won only one of their last seven opening day Premier League fixtures, losing three of the last four.
Meanwhile, Leicester, who start a campaign for the first time under Craig Shakespeare, are on a 21-game winless run against Arsenal in the Premier League (D7 L14), with their only win against the Gunners coming in their first ever Premier League encounter in November 1994.
Arsenal will be without Alexis Sanchez for Friday's season opener after the Chilean sustained an abdominal strain in training, while speculation over his future continues.
Aside from Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Per Mertesacker and Shkodran Mustafi are all doubts while Gabriel Paulista and Santi Cazorla are longer-term absentees.
Laurent Koscielny will also be unavailable through suspension, but new arrivals Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette are in line for their Premier League debuts.
However, an injury to Leicester summer signing Vicente Iborra will prevent him from making his maiden league appearance for the Foxes.
The Spanish midfielder, a £12.75m buy from Sevilla, sustained a groin problem in training this week and the club are waiting for the results of a scan to determine the length of his absence. His absence is a blow with Danny Drinkwater (thigh) also out.
Fellow new recruit Kelechi Iheanacho has recovered from the toe injury he suffered against Borussia Monchengladbach last week and is available to make his debut alongside Harry Maguire, with Robert Huth recovering from ankle surgery.
Ways to watch
This is the biggest Premier League season yet on Sky Sports - and there are more ways than ever to follow the action from The Emirates
You can watch the game live on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event, with our TV build-up kicking-off at 7pm where Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher will join host Kelly Cates pitch-side.
There are a whole range of options to complement and enhance your viewing experience with Sky Sports. You can watch the game on the move with Sky Go or follow our live match blog, where Sky Sports customers will be able to watch all the major incidents via our mobile clips service.
Arsenal have won each of their last 10 Premier League home encounters with Leicester City; their joint longest winning streak at home against a single opponent.
Jamie Vardy has scored Leicester City's last three goals against Arsenal in the Premier League, scoring the opening goal twice. However, he is yet to end up on the winning side.
Arsenal have collected more opening day red cards than any other Premier League side (6), with Laurent Koscielny getting two of the last three (2010-11 v Liverpool, 2013-14 v Aston Villa).
Arsenal haven't lost three consecutive opening day fixtures since 1960.
Leicester have won just one of their last eight Premier League games to start the season (4-2 over Sunderland in 2015, D4 L3).
Arsenal have never lost a Premier League game contested on a Friday (W6 D1) while Leicester have never won one on this weekday (D1 L2).
Alexandre Lacazette scored 91 goals in the French Ligue 1 over the last four seasons; more than any other player in the competition in that period.
Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez was the only player to reach double figures for both goals (24) and assists (10) in the Premier League last season.
Alexis Sanchez was involved in the build up sequence of 38 Premier League open-play goals last season; more than any other player in the competition.
This game will see the English top-flight season begin on a Friday for the first time in its 129 year history.
You're never too sure what you're going to get with Arsenal but they looked good against Chelsea in the Community Shield, despite being without Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
Kelechi Iheanacho has come to Leicester for a lot of money and, having predominantly come off the bench at Manchester City, it will be interesting to see if he can have an impact from the start for the Foxes. Whether he does or not, I expect Arsenal to win, but only just.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (15/2 with Sky Bet)
Arsenal are Sky Bet's 1/2 favourites to kick off the campaign with a win, with Leicester up against odds of 11/2 while the draw is priced at 7/2. Arsene Wenger's side head into the season as 9/1 joint fourth favourites while the Foxes are 250/1 for a repeat of their 2015/16 triumph. Alexandre Lacazette is considered the hosts' main goal threat at 11/4, marginally shorter than Olivier Giroud's price of 3/1, while Jamie Vardy heads the other side of the market at 17/2.