Five key talking points ahead of Arsenal and Leicester City's title clash

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Sunday's clash between league leaders Leicester City and Arsenal is sure to prove a pivotal moment in deciding where the Premier League title will lie come the end of the season.

The Foxes' breathtaking form has seen them forge a five-point gap at the top and establish the best away record in the Premier League, losing just once all season.

Arsenal's form at home has also been very impressive, with the north Londoners having won seven of their 12 matches and conceding only seven goals in the process.


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Heading into Sunday's encounter, we look at five factors that could be crucial in determining who will emerge victorious at the Emirates Stadium.

Midfield Maestros 

The form of Leicester's Riyad Mahrez this season has been nothing short of spectacular. With 14 Premier League goals and ten assists to his name, the diminutive midfielder's amazing rise has been a key component of the Foxes' consistency this season.

Having scored and assisted a goal during last weekend's humbling of Manchester City at the Etihad, the Algerian heads into the clash in a rich vein of form.

Arsenal, however, have a key midfield man of their own - Mesut Ozil.

Having finally silenced his critics, the German has been sensational for the Gunners and cemented his place as one of Europe's most creative midfielders.

With 16 Premier League assists to his name already - a figure only four short of Thierry Henry's record - Ozil has been his side's creative force so far and will hope to continue such exploits against Claudio Ranieri's men.

It's likely the game will swing in favour of the team whose midfield creator plays better.  

Olivier Giroud 

Giroud's importance and success at Arsenal has been a heavily debated topic over the past few seasons.

With the striker's every move under constant scrutiny from the media and fans alike, many have cried out for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to ditch Giroud and make a move for the likes of Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain or Real Madrid's Karim Benzema.

This term for Arsenal, however, has been one of the Frenchman's best. With 12 goals and three assists to his name in only 21 league appearances, Giroud has managed to find a level of consistency for the Gunners that seems to have evaded him in years gone by.

His link-up play and all-round game has also been much improved in recent months. With many of Arsenal's goals coming from midfield, Giroud's role in the team and his ability to hold up the ball has been more important than ever.

If the France international can continue his fine form on Sunday, Arsenal will stand a fantastic chance of taking all three points from their title-chasing rivals.

Leicester's Defence

The Foxes' ability to score goals this season against any opponent has never been in doubt; their ability to defend, on the other hand, especially against the league's better opponents, has.

Leicester fans need look no further than their last clash with Arsenal for a prime example of this. In what was the first of their two losses this season, Leicester managed to score twice yet conceded five in the process.

Ranieri's side have shown recent signs of improvement, however. After conceding only once in their latest outing away at City, the division's joint highest scoring team with 47 goals have now only conceded twice in their last five games, the only other goal coming against the recently rejuvenated Aston Villa.

If Leicester can maintain this defensive solidity against Arsenal, they will be confident in the knowledge that with free scoring Mahrez and Jamie Vardy up front, they stand an excellent chance of grabbing a goal or two at the Emirates.

Alexis Sanchez

After a fantastic debut season in English football, Sanchez's second season hasn't gone exactly to plan.

Despite there having been no drop in performances, actually getting onto the pitch this season has often been the issue for the injury-plagued Chilean.

Having made 52 appearances for the Gunners last term, Sanchez was an ever-present and vital part of the team's free-flowing and breathtaking attacking movement in the final third.

This season, however, with a little over a third of the season remaining, Sanchez has been limited to only 22 appearances due to a string of minor injuries.

With Sanchez now back from injury and in the starting line-up, Arsenal fans can be confident that their man is well on his way to being back to his very best and could repeat some of his hat-trick heroics against Leicester last time around.

Pressure on Leicester 

With their monumental rise having been the story of the season so far, the debate still rages as to whether or not Leicester can maintain their form and do the unthinkable.

Despite Ranieri repeatedly insistting there is no pressure on either him or his players, both are now sure to be feeling the weight of expectation as the end of the season looms.

Leicester fans will be hoping their team can produce a near replica of their performance against City last Saturday, with Arsenal likely to boss possession and try to dominate the game in the same way the Citizens attempted to.

With Leicester's ability on the break, however, they'll be heading into the encounter with a healthy sense of optimism that they can take yet another Premier League scalp.

With the tide of public support swaying more and more in the underdogs' favour, the supposed 'pressure' lying on their shoulders might just be what they need to push them over the line and complete the fairytale story of the century.

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