Arsenal will beat swashbuckling Leicester, says our analyst Paul Parker
On Super Sunday, our analyst, the former Manchester United and England defender, tells AQIL HAZIQ MAHMUD that the Gunners will beat swashbuckling Leicester and also talks up dangerous Tottenham
1. Arsenal travelled to the King Power Stadium and blitzed Leicester 5-2 in September. Can they repeat the result at their own Emirates Stadium?
PAUL PARKER: This is the game where Arsenal will come good and show that the contest for the English Premier League title is still in their hands.
They know that if they don't win tonight, the team they face will have a very good chance of winning the league.
It might be one big game too far for Leicester, who have played a number of big matches in a short period of time.
Arsenal have received enough warning of Leicester's style of play. They will be mentally and tactically prepared, and ready for the onslaught of Jamie Vardy.
Everybody knows how Vardy will play, but nobody has managed to stop him because he adapts to every game. Arsenal will have to adapt even better to get anything from the game.
2. Who will be the player to watch in this game?
It will boil down to how Arsenal deal with Vardy's pace and desire.
Arsenal's centre back Per Mertersacker does not have enough pace; we saw that against Chelsea when Diego Costa raced clear before taking the easy way out by tumbling to the ground.
Vardy, on the other hand, will not fall over unless he is seriously hurt. If he gets too many opportunities, I don't think Arsenal will win. Vardy makes unselfish runs that create space for his teammates.
Arsenal's defence needs to improve for them to get a result.
3. What role has manager Claudio Ranieri played in Leicester's amazing season?
Ranieri inherited the good qualities of Nigel Pearson's side and made them a better version of the team that finished last season.
He has added some good players from overseas who have made a difference while, at the same time, maintaining a unity in the squad.
The Italian has been respectful of Pearson's work and recognised that he should not fix something that is not broken.
Some managers will change a team entirely for the sake of being seen as doing things their own way, but Ranieri only tuned up the engine, bought new spark plugs and kept them running.
4. What about the other big game tonight between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur?
I predict a Tottenham win. With Harry Kane's pace, I really believe Tottenham have too much for Man City.
I do not care if Vincent Kompany is back for City. The defender is still struggling for fitness and does not have too many games of competitive football under his belt this season.
It is not the best thing for someone his age to come right back into such a big game.
I know Sergio Aguero will more than likely score a goal, but City are all over the place at the back right now. It will be tough for them to keep a clean sheet.
They are also a mess in midfield; you never know if Yaya Toure will turn up or sulk, especially with all the talk of him leaving next season.
5. Who is the key man in this game?
Dele Alli is so dangerous from distance. He makes runs, creates opportunities and scores goals. With Eric Dier doing the defensive work, Alli is definitely an attacking threat.
The boy is technically as good as any other player in the league and has a wonderful opportunity to become a Premier League great.
The only question mark is his discipline; he has got to stop kicking out and showing petulance.
Dele Alli. PHOTO: REUTERS
6. Does the announcement of Pep Guardiola's appointment hurt or help City?
It is very poor management. What they have done does not work today, where the media is constantly talking about it.
It is not good for Manuel Pellegrini, especially when players might think to themselves, "the boss is leaving, so let's just go through the motions". It creates a negative vibe in the dressing room.
The City management who did this are making a huge mistake if they are actually looking to win the league this season. This may well kill their Premier League challenge mentally.
7. Back to Leicester's title bid. Do they have what it takes to handle the pressure of being labelled title favourites?
Every single year, there is always pressure on the team at the top. When I was with Manchester United and we were about to win the title for the first time in so many years, we did not know how to handle it.
If Leicester were to fall to second or third, it would be just as good a season for them. The players are enjoying it because they know this is the closest they will come to winning the league.
They have never felt this before regardless of where they have been. Some of them have won medals in the lower divisions, but this is different; it is great to be challenging for the main title in English football.
The players will not witness something like this again and I do not think nerves will affect them.
8. Will Leicester clinching the title be the biggest story in English football?
The media has grown 10-fold since the Premier League era began in 1992. If they win it, the whole of Europe will take notice because nobody knows where Leicester is. It does not have the glamour of London or Manchester.
I hope they do not do a Blackburn Rovers and go on a downward slope after winning it. Leicester will be doing their homework to avoid the pitfalls that smaller Premier League champions have fallen into the season after.
9. If Arsenal fail to win the title, will it spell the end for Arsene Wenger?
If Leicester win tonight and go on and clinch the title, it will not look good for Wenger. But it is not like Arsenal to sack their manager just like that. That is not how they work.
Wenger himself will decide when it is time for him to go. People are always saying he is going but, at the end of the day, the decision is solely up to him.
"They are more cautious at the moment. They play a lot in their final third and come out very quickly. Look at the number of direct balls from their half to the opponents’ half."
— Wenger on Leicester’s style of play
"There are many centre backs who are not pacey — John Terry is not pacey. You need at least one of the two. It’s about reading the game... Also about anticipation and per mertesacker is very strong at that."
— Wenger defending centre back Per Mertesacker