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.
Here’s a look at what happened
Before the Game:
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.
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.
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.