Arsenal 2:1 Leicester City
A spirited second half performance was not enough to prevent a 2-1 defeat for City at the Emirates on Tuesday night…
Nigel Pearson made three changes to his starting XI with Huth and Upson making their debuts alongside Morgan in a three-man central defence, and Kramarić making his first full league appearance; Wasilewski, Ulloa and Nugent making way.
City adopted an up and at ’em approach from the start in a fixture they hadn’t won since the days of Jimmy Bloomfield.
Mahrez saw his shot deflected wide, and then James’ half-volley was blocked by Bellerin. Mahrez then went agonisingly close when his shot went through Ospina’s legs but just wide of the far post.
Arsenal then began to gain some ground and Walcott should have put the Gunners ahead when he broke clear on goal but Schwarzer pulled off a fine block.
Schwarzer then produced another save to deny Ozil but Arsenal took a 27th minute lead from the corner. From Ozil’s flag-kick Koscielny left Morgan standing as he raced to the near post for a neat finish.
Although City continued to press forward they wen tin at the break 2-0 down. Ozil’s 25-yard effort was parried by Schwarzer, but only into the path of Walcott, who fired the ball home.
Just before the hour Upson had to limp out of the action, replaced by Wasilewski, and City struck back a couple of minutes later.
After some great battling from Cambiasso on the right, the ball was worked out to Kramarić 18 yards out, who arrowed home his first goal for City.
City were the better side at this stage, but Mahrez sent a curling effort narrowly off target and then Kramarić elected to try and lob Ospina when clean through but delivered the ball straight into the keeper’s grasp.
With Ulloa and Nugent on for Morgan and Schlupp City desperately sought an equaliser, but they were contained by Arsenal’s defence and ended up with nothing to show for their considerable efforts.
The gap to safety extended to 5 points with a tough looking schedule coming up. Hopefully the FA Cup will offer some cheer on Sunday.
Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Rosicky, Walcott (Ramsey 73 (Flamini 85)), Cazorla, Ozil, Sanchez (Giroud 67). Subs Not Used: Szczesny, Gibbs, Gabriel, Welbeck.
Leicester: Schwarzer, Simpson, Huth, Morgan (Ulloa 80), Upson (Wasilewski 59), Konchesky, Mahrez, Cambiasso, James, Schlupp (Nugent 85), Kramarić. Subs Not Used: Drinkwater, King, Albrighton, Hamer.
Referee: M Jones. Attendance: 60,032.
Photo: Paul Coulson.