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‘Guendouzi is having a shocker & Ozil must play’ – Nicholas lays into Arsenal ahead of Leicester test

18:18 GMT+4 08/11/2019
Matteo Guendouzi Arsenal 2019-20
The former Gunners star says Unai Emery’s side “cannot defend” and have a number of issues to solve heading into a crunch clash with the Foxes

Matteo Guendouzi is “having a shocker” at Arsenal, says Charlie Nicholas, while Unai Emery has been called upon to keep the divisive figure of Mesut Ozil in his starting XI.

The Gunners are in the process of piecing together their plans for a crucial Premier League clash with Leicester on Saturday.

The high-flying Foxes look like posing a serious threat to the top-four ambitions of the established elite, including Arsenal.

That makes it imperative that Emery’s side take a positive result away with them from the King Power Stadium.

Nicholas, though, fears for a team that “cannot defend” and believes there are a number of concerning issues to be addressed – with the furore surrounding Granit Xhaka being stripped of the captain’s armband doing the collective cause few favours.

The ex-Arsenal forward told Sky Sports: “Kieran Tierney needs to work on his final ball and this is important to get the service into the frontmen.

“Matteo Guendouzi is having a shocker and he is getting away with it due to Xhaka - he needs to be taken out of the team. I would rather Unai Emery go with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Lucas Torreira.

“Mesut Ozil played well so he should stay in the side ahead of Dani Ceballos, while bringing Nicolas Pepe in for the counter-attack. I am not feeling good about this one.”

Nicholas added, with Ceballos having been ruled out through injury: “This Leicester side are much better to watch than the title-winning side.

“They have pace, balance and are technically very good - you can get at them defensively in my mind but they are a decent force with pace and movement in the attacking half. Arsenal do not know how to handle that and cannot defend.

“Leicester have too much of this for my liking.

“Xhaka is finally not the captain and will not be involved. That is a long way off now so the new captain is not going to be inspirational by being the captain, but by scoring goals.”

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is set to take on skipper duty, so the Gabonese striker will be charged with the task of leading by example with his efforts in the final third of the field.

Arsenal, as things stand, are sat two places and six points adrift of third-placed Leicester heading into a potentially pivotal trip to the East Midlands.