Arsenal took on Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium in the first of the midweek games, managing a 2-1 victory and 3 points. However, it wasn’t anywhere close to being easy as it was thought to be, with Leicester proving very tough opponents throughout the game.
The first half started brightly for Leicester, with Riyad Mahrez having a couple of decent opportunities that in hindsight manager Nigel Pearson would have wanted to be converted. However, it was not to be and Leicester paid the price as Arsenal went into top gear, with some pretty creativity in front of the box. However, Leicester stood firm and did not let anything through, until a set piece did them in. Theo Walcott had a wonderful chance as he went one on one with Schwarzer after an Ozil pass cut through the defence, but his chip hit straight at the keeper.
The goal didn’t take long in coming though as Arsenal won a corner and Wes Morgan failed to mark Laurent Koscielny as he easily slotted in Mesut Ozil’s delivery to open the scoring for the gunners. It was backs to the wall for Leicester from then on, with most of the chances being created by Arsenal. A second goal came not long after, as an Ozil shot from outside the box was parried by Schwarzer only for it to fall nicely for Walcott to smash it home. Arsenal tried to extend the scoring, but Leicester made sure that the game was not completely out of their hands. There was a scare for the Arsenal fans though as Alexis picked up a knock on his knee, but he carried on even though he wasn’t his usual self.
It was completely 2 different teams that came out for the second half, with Leicester providing the attacking thrust while Arsenal going into a shell and were very casual on the ball and in defence. Leicester pressed hard and were getting rich dividends down their left hand as Konchesky kept going past Bellerin, but the goal still remained elusive. It was finally down to Cambiasso to help out, as he kept the ball in play after a corner was cleared and the resulting cross was smashed in Kramaric for his first Premier League goal for Leicester.
It was all hands on the pump for Arsenal from then on, with the last half an hour proving to be a frantic exercise in trying to clear the ball far enough to ease the pressure on the defence. Aaron Ramsey came on for Walcott to provide cover, but had to be substituted after 10 minutes as he picked up a muscular problem. Flamini came in to provide some defensive cover, and Arsenal did all it could to try and keep the lead. Leicester did create quite a few chances, but were guilty of not converting them, with both James and Kramaric guilty of missing golden chances to level the scorelines. Pearson threw in Ulloa, in the hope that a second striker would help get the goal, but it was not to be as Arsenal held on to take a vital 3 points.
- Leicester have picked up only 9 points from a possible 60 since their win against Manchester United.
- Arsenal have lost only 1 home game in their last 30 Premier League matches.
Leicester City once again showed why everyone is surprised why the team is at rock bottom of the league. They were competitive throughout the game and went toe to toe with their erstwhile opponents, but could not convert any of the chances they did create. Arsenal will need to find their confidence and the rich vein of form that saw them win 2-0 against the defending champions if they want to stay in the top 4, with the competition heating up around them. Leicester City still have a lot of games to make things right, but they need to start being more efficient in front of goal if they are to have any hope of moving above the relegation zone.