Arsenal Set Sights on Three Points in Premier League Curtain Raiser
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Arsenal Set Sights on Three Points in Premier League Curtain Raiser

The traditional 3pm on Saturday kick-offs are not quite an endangered species, but they are getting rarer and the Premier League will break new ground with the season getting underway on Friday evening.

Arsenal and Leicester City were pulled out by the fixture computer to open up the 2017/18 campaign and it is a game of real intrigue.

Arsenal are strongly fancied to claim an opening-weekend three points, 188BET have chalked the Gunners up at 1.53 – with Leicester at 5.80 and the draw at 4.60.

It’s been a strange summer for Arsenal, as they have strengthened their squad with the captures of Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac – but they’ve had to contend with rumours about the future of star man Alexis Sanchez.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has maintained that Alexis will not be sold this summer, despite being in the final year of his contract, but the waters were muddied when it was confirmed that the Chilean would not be available to face the Foxes on account of an abdominal injury.

“He had a little abdominal strain that he caught on Sunday morning in training, before he came to Wembley,” Wenger told the club’s official website. “He had a scan two days ago and he’s out for a while – we don’t know if it is two weeks or one more week, but he will not be available.”

The absence of Alexis, a scorer of 24 goals and creator of 10 last term, is a huge blow to Arsenal, but it will keep the circus that is surrounding the Chilean in the shadows for the opening weekend.

Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City both have designs of getting their hands on Alexis before the transfer window slams shut at the end of the month. Wenger may be determined to keep hold of his attacking fulcrum, but the season opener against Leicester hands him a chance to assess what life would be like without the Chilean.

The goalscoring mantle for Arsenal certainly falls on the shoulders of Lacazette. Arriving from Lyon with a reputation matched by his hefty price tag, the France international has looked good rather than spectacular in pre-season. What he has done is convert a couple of chances and that will be key if Arsenal are to mount a title challenge.

Arsenal fans will be desperate for their new striker to hit the ground running, and he is 4.00 with 188BET to open the scoring.

It’s a big season for Leicester and it will tell us where they are, after the highs of 2015/16 and the lows of 2016/17.

Craig Shakespeare will hope Jamie Vardy can rediscover his goalscoring edge. The England international is 10.0 to bag the first goal at the Emirates.

Riyad Mahrez’s future is a subject of much debate. Will he be a Leicester player come the end of the transfer window? With AS Roma circling, it’s far from secure so Foxes fans may have to revel in his brilliance while they still can.

188BET are offering a special bonus, in that they will refund all losing bets on the Win-Draw-Win market if Mahrez scores in the game.

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