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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Shakespeare hoping Leicester can finally tame Arsenal

Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare was impressed by Arsenal in the Community Shield
Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare was impressed by Arsenal in the Community Shield

Craig Shakespeare hopes Leicester can end their Arsenal hoodoo on Friday night.

Leicester have yet to beat the Gunners in the Premier League era with their last league win coming in 1983, while it is a decade further back since the last time the Foxes won away at Arsenal.

The two clubs get the new season under way at the Emirates on Friday and Shakespeare, beginning his first full campaign as manager, is under no illusions of the size of the task facing his team.

"The Premier League is the most competitive league in the world and Arsenal are one of the best clubs in it, year after year they've shown their consistency," said Shakespeare.

"We haven't been able to beat them yet but there's always a first time and it would be nice to think it would be Friday night. The players are champing at the bit to get started.

"It will be difficult, with t he quality of their players, their fan base and the money that they can spend, but that's the Premier League."

Shakespeare believes Arsenal will be title challengers this season but ultimately thinks Manchester City will have too much for the rest of the league.

"Arsenal have always been dangerous. They're the FA Cup winners and Community Shield winners and they've got tremendous strength in depth so they'll always be up there," said Shakespeare.

"I watched them in the Community Shield (and they have made) good additions to the quality they already have there. They will be there or thereabouts again. If you look at the top six from last season, it will be hard to break into that.

"But I think my choice (for the title) is Man City. Pep (Guardiola) has had another year, he's bought wisely and I think offensively they will be very hard to stop."

Wantaway midfielder Riyad Mahrez is expected to start for Leicester, despite publicly expressing his desire to leave the club at the end of last season.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is a known admirer of the 26-year-old and hinted in June at the possibility of making a bid for the player, who has already been the subject of at least one offer from Italian side Roma this summer.

Kelechi Iheanacho is fit and could make his Leicester debut along with Harry Maguire, but fellow summer signing Vicente Iborra (groin) is injured. Danny Drinkwater (thigh) and Robert Huth (ankle) are also out.

Press Association

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