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Leicester 2-5 Arsenal: Was this the template for how to beat the Foxes?

Arsenal's Theo Walcott scores past Kasper Schmeichel of Leicester during Arsenal's 5-2 Premier League win at the King Power Stadium on September 26th, 2015

Premier League leaders Leicester have only been beaten twice in the competition all season, but one of them was a 5-2 thrashing at the hands of Arsenal at the King Power Stadium in September. What happened that day and can the Gunners do it again?

It was a highly enjoyable game between these two sides when they faced off in the autumn but few would have attributed it the significance that's since become apparent.

Leicester's 5-2 home loss to Arsenal remains the only Premier League game that the Foxes have lost in front of their own fans. The only other defeat was a 1-0 reverse at Liverpool.

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Arsene Wenger discusses the game in his post-match interview

Arsenal's attacking adventure exposed weaknesses that no other team has been able to touch upon. Back then, Claudio Ranieri was still waiting for his first clean sheet but that problem has been addressed emphatically. In fact, Leicester have only conceded three goals in their last eight games. Alexis Sanchez managed that in 48 minutes that day in September.

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Phil Thompson's take on Arsenal's 5-2 away win over Leicester

Sanchez stars

"It was Alexis Sanchez's day," Phil Thompson told Sky Sports. The first came from close range, the second was a header and the third was pick of the bunch - a long-range strike beyond Kasper Schmeichel.

"When he plays at this level, he is an amazing player and can do everything," said Ranieri. "The ball and him are both together."

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Thompson talked of Sanchez being "back to his best" after his exertions in winning the Copa America with Chile in the summer and it could be that the Arsenal man is returning to full fitness just in time to have a similar impact in the reverse fixture at the Emirates Stadium. The Leicester full-backs have changed, but memories of Sanchez's performance remain.

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Claudio Ranieri admits he was worried by Arsenal's strength on the counter-attack

Walcott role?

"Sanchez was absolutely magnificent, but so was Santi Cazorla and so was Theo Walcott," added Thompson. It was Walcott who scored the equaliser after Jamie Vardy had given Leicester an early lead, and his speed caused problems for the home side all afternoon.

"Walcott's the real story from that win," said ex-Leicester and Arsenal striker Alan Smith. "Theo has always wanted to play through the middle, and I think most of us have had doubts as to whether he could do it. But what he needs is a run in the side to be able to learn the intricacies of the position, the runs, the hold-up play. Theo is totally different from Olivier Giroud, so it's a nice contrast. Depending on the opposition, you can pick either."

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Theo Walcott says Arsenal played with patience and freedom at Leicester

So will Arsene Wenger be tempted to turn to the pace of Walcott over Giroud? There seems little chance of that given that the England international hasn't scored since before Christmas and only got a minute on the pitch at Bournemouth. But on the evidence of the previous meeting between these sides, the Gunners boss could be missing a trick.

Mahrez and Vardy

There's no denying who are the key performers for Leicester but they had very different days the last time these two teams met. The openness of the contest was made for Riyad Mahrez but he failed to make it pay. "Both teams were worried about pace, but Riyad Mahrez was actually very quiet today," said Thompson. He lost the ball on 26 occasions, more than anyone else.

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Jamie Vardy scored twice for Leicester but ended up on the losing side

Vardy had a rather better afternoon, scoring twice. The striker has since said that Laurent Koscielny is the toughest opponent he has faced this season, but he had some joy pulling on to Per Mertesacker - their top speeds were a full six kilometres-per-hour different on the day. Wenger must be tempted to stick with Gabriel on Sunday.

Clash of styles?

The biggest concern for Leicester supporters might not be one of personnel but rather the feeling that Arsenal's approach could prove problematic for their team. "Arsenal were the better team and they could've had more as shown by the amount of chances," said Thompson. "It was just great to watch it with both teams going for it."

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Going toe-to-toe with the Gunners is a gamble that did not pay off for Leicester and Ranieri appeared to acknowledge afterwards that his side were outfoxed. "It's difficult to play a team who use one or two touches," he said. "It's impossible, when you go to press they move the ball very quickly. The quality of the Arsenal players is a very high level."

Even N'Golo Kante, Leicester's dynamic midfielder, managed half as many interceptions as he's averaged all season. Ranieri's men couldn't get close. Arsenal had 27 shots with 12 on target - both season highs for any away team. Styles make fights and Leicester suited them. With Ranieri likely to field nine of the same line-up, could that be an issue on Sunday too?

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