We must be perfect to beat Arsenal – Ranieri

Claudio Ranieri: Wants Leicester to revel in their title challenge

Claudio Ranieri: Wants Leicester to revel in their title challenge

Claudio Ranieri has told Leicester they must play a “perfect match” if they are to beat Arsenal, who he’s tipping to challenge for the title.

The Foxes have come from behind in their last four Premier League games to maintain their unbeaten start to the season – the only unblemished record remaining in the top flight.

The last two matches have seen Leicester go two goals down, but they overturned the deficit to beat Aston Villa and managed to salvage a draw against Stoke.

Ranieri’s side lead Arsenal in the table by two points going into Saturday’s match and the Italian believes Leicester can ill afford to give a goal head-start to Arsene Wenger’s team, whom insists are ready to mount a serious title tilt this season.

“Coming back from behind might be exciting, but it is not good. I would prefer to get in front and try to stay there,” said Ranieri.

“We start well in every match and suddenly we make a mistake. When the opponent scores a fantastic goal, you can say well done, but not when we help them to score a goal.

“It’s not easy to score goals when you go behind in matches. I’ve told the players how important concentration is.

“We must concentrate and be more careful because I think to beat Arsenal we must play the perfect match, and also have some very good luck.

“We are ready but Arsenal are a smart and fast team. They are fantastic, good quality and move the ball very well and very quickly. They will fight for the title, they are ready.

“Arsene Wenger can put Alexis Sanchez in goal and Petr Cech up front and Arsenal will still have a great team.

“I don’t think they have any weaknesses, but even if they did, I wouldn’t tell you.”

Ranieri made 10 changes in midweek in the Capital One Cup, but still saw his team produce the fast-flowing attacking football they have produced in the league to beat West Ham after extra-time.

The 63-year-old admitted the players who came in on Tuesday night have given him food for thought ahead of Arsenal’s visit to the King Power Stadium.

He said: “I am very pleased, we were fantastic. We changed 10 players, but they played at the same level. They’re a great group and they work very hard. I’m very happy.

“Those who played put me under pressure, but that is good. They will recover and have a positive recovery, then tomorrow I’ll check everybody and then I’ll choose the 11.”

Long-term absentee Matty James aside, the only player expected to be unavailable to Ranieri is Nathan Dyer. The on-loan Swansea winger has missed the last two games with a knee injury.