Last season’s top two could only manage to cancel each other out as they faced off at the King Power Stadium this past Saturday. Leicester City and Arsenal played out a goalless draw, but there was some intriguing action on the pitch, as the defending champions nearly snatched it away from the Gunners at the last minute.
After suffering defeat in their opening games of the season, a loss in this match would be brutal for either Leicester City or Arsenal. Neither will be happy with just a point in the end, but it will be enough to satisfy both teams as they hope to emulate their feats of last season.
Here are five talking points from an entertaining game that unfortunately didn’t feature any goals.
1. Theo Walcott just cannot finish
27-year-old Theo Walcott is now entering his eleventh season at Arsenal, but has failed to cement his place at the club even now. The winger was touted as a striker by manager Arsene Wenger last season, but that experiment failed and subsequent injury ruled him out for the majority of the campaign.
Walcott got off to a good start against Liverpool, looking like a potent threat on the right-wing. But he missed a penalty that could’ve changed the complexion of a game the Gunners went on to lose.
Against Leicester City, he again dutifully fulfilled his actions on the right-wing, but failed to come up with the finished product. He had one good chance in either half, but he could only produce tame shots that were easily dealt with by Kasper Schmeichel. The Englishman really needs to improve his finishing if he wants to pose an attacking threat.
2. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain needs more minutes
The Ox was in good touch in the game against Leicester City, cutting past defenders and looking confident on the ball. He has often been criticized for anonymous performances in big games and a poor attitude, however the 23-year-old proved against Leicester, just why he is rated highly by many in England.
However the budding attacker needs more playing time, and that is something that Arsenal may or not be willing to offer him. For all the transfer demands by the fans, the Gunners have a well-stocked midfield. Oxlade-Chamberlain has to compete with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla for time on the pitch.
Wenger needs to make more use of the Ox if he wants to get the best out of the Englishman.
3. Kasper Schmeichel is the Danish Neuer
German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is widely considered to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world today. On Saturday though, Leicester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel made a strong case for a position in the top bracket alongside Neuer.
The Danish keeper made a number of key saves throughout the game, displaying the confidence in the box, clear thinking and shot-stopping skills that mark out the best of the best.
Schmeichel’s performances outside the box were equally admirable, as he often charged downfield to deal with a back pass. He even headed away a ball from Walcott just outside the penalty area in the second half, just as a dangerous situation was about to develop. Top Class.
4. Xhaka makes up for shaky start to Arsenal career
Granit Xhaka has been the only major addition to the Arsenal squad this summer. The Swiss midfielder joined from Borussia Monchengladbach for £30 million, but got off to a poor start in his first appearance for the club in their opener against Liverpool.
Xhaka attempted six tackles but they were all unsuccessful, as he earned a yellow card in a temperamental substitute appearance for the Gunners. However, the Swiss has made up for it in the game against Leicester City. Xhaka was solid throughout, as he won one tackle, made two interceptions and nine ball recoveries from the opposition.
5. Mark Clattenburg is not making himself very popular
Veteran English referee Mark Clattenburg refused to give a penalty when Ahmed Musa went down in the box in the latter stages of the game. Later replays showed that it looked to be a clear foul, as Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin clipped him on the heels before the Nigerian striker fell.
This is another controversial decision that has brought the wrath of the fans on Clattenburg’s head, after a similar decision that went against Crystal Palace one year ago.