Football

Shakespeare plots perfect ending to Arsenal script

Craig Shakespeare hopes Leicester can end their Arsenal hoodoo tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

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 underway at the Emirates tomorrow morning 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 the 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.

He said: "Arsenal 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.

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.

Arsenal will be without the injured Alexis Sanchez, while defender Laurent Koscielny is suspended. Mesut Oezil and Aaron Ramsey are doubtful. - PA SPORT

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