Leicester vs Arsenal: As It Happened

Published 08/21/2016, 3:08 AM EDT


The top two teams from the 2015/16 season both got off to a bad start to the new season. Leicester were surprised by a resilient Hull City while Arsenal’s defensive collapse against Liverpool saw them lose their first home match 3-4. The game teams played out a goalless draw, with neither team playing at their best. Arsenal’s lack of a proper striker in the absence of Giroud was exposed as they were blunt in attack and failed to show any real intent. Leicester on the other hand saw glimpses of the kind of magic Vardy and Mahrez brought out and the fans and Ranieri alike would be hoping they both hit top form again.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Here’s a look at what happened

Before the Game:

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Leicester captain Morgan: “We need to put things right early, look forward to the next game and get a result there. We’re at our home ground and we want to put on a good display.  Most importantly, we want to go back to winning ways and do what we do best, which is go out there, give 100 per cent and pick up some wins.”

Arsenal boss Wenger: “We prepared well the players we have in but I think you have to consider we have been a bit unlucky as well. We have lost Mertesacker and Gabriel in preparation, and Koscielny is not fit.  You have to sometimes accept that you cannot control absolutely everything, even if you try to be as intelligent as possible.”

The two top teas of last year got off to a shaky start in the first week of the Premier League this year and both were determined to not lose this one.

New signing Ahmed Musa was on the bench for the Foxes, but Nampalys Mendy the man to replace Kante made the starting lineup for the first time this season. Demarai Gray dropped out of the squad from last week. Laurent Koscielny returned to the squad after a wonderful Euros to partner with youngster Rob Holding, while Ozil & Giroud made the bench. Hard Tackling midfielder Granit Xhaka made his first premier league start after coming on as a substitute in their home game defeat against Liverpool.

 

Teams:

Leicester City XI: Schmeichel, Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Mahrez, Drinkwater, Mendy (King), Albrighton (Musa), Okazaki (Ulloa), Vardy

Leicester subs: Hernandez, Amartey, Zieler, Gray

Arsenal XI: Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Holding, Monreal, Coquelin, Xhaka (Wilshere), Walcott, Cazorla (Ozil), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Giroud), Sanchez

Arsenal subs: Gibbs, Ospina, Chambers, Elneny.

 

First Half:

It was a very open first half with both teams battling it out in the midfield and a shot by Santi Cazorla from 25 yard outside was deflected for a corner early on in the game.

There were chants of Leicester fans singing ‘Jamie Vardy is a Blue’ in context to the transfer negotiations that did not go through before the Euros.

Alexis turns and picks out Bellerin on the right who slips past the back four but fails to pick out a waiting Theo Walcott. The opportunity came when defender Robert Huth slipped in the box and the ball came to Hector Bellerin. That was the first real chance of the game.

Arsenal show good passing football what they have been known for and it’s the Foxes who are doing the running in the park, closing down the Arsenal players well.

Spaniard Santi Cazorla crosses a flighted free kick which falls awkwardly for keeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Riyad Mahrez sends in a dangerous ball into the area that Vardy just misses before Cech comes out to claim the ball.

Some late drama into the first half. And also a major talking point of the game.

Mahrez passes a wonderful ball to Vardy on the counter but Cech comes rushing out and blocks the shot which falls to Drinkwater. Koscielny slides in and toes the ball away from the former Manchester United midfielder as he falls to the ground and the danger is cleared. Everyone thought it’s a penalty but the slow motion highlights showed Koscielny had an inch of the toe on the ball before there was any contact by Drinkwater, hence proving to be a great decision by Mark Clattenburg.

 

Second Half:

The second half started with Leicester going forward with intent and trying to get their first goal of the match.

Petr Cech teases Jamie Vardy with a drag back move in the box. That was some show for a not so entertaining first half.

Nampalys Mendy putting in a tackle to stop the ball to play through but got his right leg stuck in the ground which got him injured. He was on his feet for a while but could not continue. Welsh player Andy King comes on to replace him in central midfield.

Francis Coquelin was already on a yellow when he was tricked by Riyad Mahrez in a step over. The crowd shouted for a second yellow but Mark was not going to go easy.

It was all Leicester from the start of the second half and they were rewarded with a big chance when Vardy went one on one with Petr Cech but Koscielny recovered well with a slide to block his range. It was a clear cut opportunity for the home side but Vardy sent it flying over.

Star man Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere’s arrival was imminent to save the game and get their first win.

Francis Coquelin then flashes a ball past the Leicester defense which falls to Theo Walcott whose shot is blocked by sliding Wes Morgan.

Kasper Schmeichel comes out, way out, of his goal to head clear a loose ball which elicits cheers from the Leicester fans. Reminiscent of Manuel Neuer.

Close! Arsenal are knocking on the door now that Giroud is on, and indeed a cross into the area by the striker just evades everyone.

Seconds later, Koscielny sends a through-ball to Walcott, who races into the area but then sees his effort deflected out by Morgan!

Sanchez and Ozil now link up to allow the German to drive an effort towards the near post, but Schmeichel is there to make a save. The Gunners are going for a winner.

The Leicester fans cannot believe their eyes as another penalty shout isn’t given. This time, it was for Bellerin’s challenge on Musa in the box in which the full-back tripped his opponent up. Replays show it should have been given.

It was the same old story for Arsenal with good possession play football but no cutting edge to the game and on the other hand Leicester seems to be ran out of the luck they had in their previous campaign.

Final Word:

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

‘Enough Is Enough’ banner was pointed out to Arsene Wenger after the game. Is it so hard for a man of his statures to figure out the missing jigsaw in the puzzle? Leicester on the other hand need to find an effective replacement for N’Golo Kante as soon as possible to find their rhythm in the midfield.

The game was a highly contested one where both teams were playing high tempo and an open end to end match. It was filled with high octane drama with decisions not going in the favor of the Foxes and Mark Clattenburg proving once again why he is the best in the business. Both the fans left the stadium with frustration & anger as both sides were not satisfied with a point.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Laurent Koscielny, our Man of the Match, marks his return with a flawless defensive display even without proper match fitness and not to forget, he was paired up with a 20 year old Rob Holding who arrived from Bolton Wanderers this window.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Dhruv George

11620 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT