Arsenal lost 0-1 at home to Leicester City as their over reliance on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang foreshadows a difficult Premier League season.
After a narrow loss to Manchester City last weekend, Arsenal would have looked to get back to winning ways at home versus Leicester City but that was not quite the case. Arsenal started the game very strongly. They had a goal disallowed, arguably wrongly, but failed to take any of the other chances created in the first half.
Leicester chose to play the game without a traditional number 9 and had both, Kelechi Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy on the bench. Harvey Barnes played as a striker in the first half and Leicester had a very quiet game – attempting only 1 shot in total and had none on target.
Defeat in north London. #ARSLEI
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 25, 2020
The match was a game of two halves. Arsenal dominated the first but had nothing to show for it. They had 11 attempts in the first half compared to the solitary one in second. Arsenal were never the same after David Luiz picked up an injury and the introduction of Vardy in the second half spelt all sorts of danger.
In the end, as Arsenal were pushing for a late winner, Leicester, who looked much more like a balanced team, found them out on the counter and won the game at the Emirates for the first time in 47 years. After all, the game could not have ended without a customary Vardy goal versus Arsenal, with the Englishman now making it 11 goals in 12 matches versus the Gunners.
Jamie Vardy scores against Arsenal for the 11th time in 12 games ⚡ pic.twitter.com/7E8RJkx17I
— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 25, 2020
Bernd Leno: 6
Leno did not have a busy game and only faced a total of 2 shots on target. Leno saved one of them and could not do much to stop Vardy from scoring the only goal of the game. Overall, the German commanded his box well and had an errorless game.
Hector Bellerin: 5/10
Bellerin had a poor game and was arguably lucky to have not been sent off. The Spaniard registered the only shot on target of the second half, which was saved well by Kasper Schmeichel. He failed to attempt any crosses and in a system that demands creativity from its full-backs, Bellerin was surely underwhelming.
David Luiz: 7/10
One of the main reasons behind a solid first half for the Gunners, David Luiz was on top of things. He was the main creative outlet in the first half, completing 8 out of 9 long passes and was reassuring at the back. His injury really cost Arsenal momentum, and the result justifies that.
Gabriel Magelhaes: 6/10
Gabriel continues to impress this season for the North London outfit and has been key in Arsenal’s transition to a style of playing out from the back. Against Leicester, he was again reassured at the back and kept chances limited for the Foxes. However, as the clock was ticking, Gabriel started making more errors which showed as he lost the ball 19 times – the highest by an Arsenal player.
Kieran Tierney: 7/10
Tierney had an excellent game for the Gunners. The Scottish left-back was given the license to bomb forward for the first time this season as Arsenal played a 4-3-3/3-4-3 hybrid. Tierney completed 2 key passes and 2 crosses out of the four attempted.
He set up a sitter for Alexandre Lacazette, which the Frenchman failed to score from. Easily one of the most threatening players on the pitch, his substitution for Eddie Nketiah was certainly questionable.
Laca should’ve been off the pitch at half time. To then sub Tierney; who’s easily one of our best players whilst Laca remains on the pitch flunking his chances left and right has me so mad. SO MAD
— 𝗖𝗢𝗨𝗥𝗧𝗡𝗘𝗬 ♡ (@courtbithell) October 25, 2020
Granit Xhaka: 6/10
Talking about the 4-3-3/3-4-3 hybrid, it was Granit Xhaka who enabled Arsenal to make that transition as he swapped between central midfield and left centre-back. Xhaka had a decent performance, completing 88 passes at an accuracy of 90% and he also had good defensive numbers, winning 5/9 ground duels.
The goal will be a tough one to take for Arteta.
Xhaka at centre back, a position he apparently isn’t comfortable with. Caught out by a great pass; Gabriel decides to leave the centre (Vardy), and tries to cover, he enters no man’s land. Bad decisions leave you ineffective. pic.twitter.com/j6X8HFmr4L
— The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) October 26, 2020
While Xhaka had a good game on the ball, it was the way he was employed by Arteta that brought out flaws in his game. His constant transition from left centre-back to central midfield to left-back is what created the problems.
Ultimately it was poor positioning from Xhaka that saw Ypuri Tielemans’s long ball find Cengiz Under on the right flank, with the Turk then setting up the goal for Vardy. This perhaps would not have happened if Tierney had stayed on the pitch. Food for thought, isn’t it?
Thomas Partey: 5/10
Partey made his Premier League debut at the Emirates against Leicester. Partey was good at progressing the ball with great efficiency but his impact was reduced well by Leicester’s compact set up. Arsenal fans would like Thomas to make more of an impact in the game, but it is his backseat role that makes him special.
Dani Ceballos: 5/10
One of Arsenal’s best players in recent times, Ceballos had a tough night for a change. While Ceballos attempted a fair amount of long passes and crosses and completed 75% of them, he lost the ball a massive 17 times. As the main creative outlet of the team, Ceballos was unable to pull the strings with adequate ability and failed to find that needed killer pass.
Bukayo Saka: 6/10
Saka had a good game versus the Foxes. Playing as a winger, the youngster got into good positions, had 2 shots on target but failed to find the back of the net. Saka is perhaps more effective in a midfield three, and there is evidence of him being overworked as he picked up an ankle injury during the game.
Alexandre Lacazette: 4/10
Alexandre Lazacette. Last night’s criminal, but also the Arsenal top scorer so far this season. The Frenchman did have a goal disallowed, but was unable to score another. His overall performance was decent, but given that all he had to do was get his head to a peach of a cross from Tierney, it is hard to cut him some slack.
A goal would have changed the complexion of the game, and this is not the first time a missed chance by Lacazette has cost them the game.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 5/10
Aubameyang has failed to live up to any expectations this season. The Gabonese forward has a solitary goal to his name so far, at home to newly promoted Fulham. His inability to find the back of the net has highlighted Arsenal’s frailties in front of goal.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has not scored in five league games for Arsenal – his worst run at the club 😣 pic.twitter.com/G2jEt0b8Tm
— Goal (@goal) October 25, 2020
His performance versus Leicester was as bad as it gets. Aubameyang was played on the right for large portions of the game and was invisible throughout. The only time Aubameyang made an impact was through a cross to Bellerin. Arteta’s stubbornness to stick him in a wider role is certainly questionable, especially with the acquisition of Willian, and soon to be fit Gabriel Martinelli’s return.
Shkodran Mustafi: 5/10
Came on as a substitute for the injured David Luiz and his first appearance for Arsenal since the FA Cup semi-final. He was rusty, and was caught out of position during the goal as well.
Nicolas Pepe: 5/10
Failed to make an impact on the game. Took no shots, completed no dribbles and did not successfully complete a cross either. A poor cameo from Pepe.
Eddie Nketiah: N/A
Came on for Tierney in a shocking substitution. The obvious replacement would have been for Lacazette, but for more fire power, someone from midfield.