Arsenal 1:0 Leicester City
Arsenal made it ten home league wins in a row against Leicester, with a bit of outrageous fortune at the Emirates on Wednesday night…
Craig Shakepeare made a couple of changes for a fixture that hasn’t yielded a point for City since 1994-95, with Huth in for Morgan and Ulloa replacing Okazaki up front.
And they got off to a decent start against a hesitant looking Arsenal, carving out the first chance of the game in the 7th minute. Albrighton pounced on a wayward ball from Sanchez and nudged a ball inside for Vardy, but his shot found the side-netting.
Arsenal’s first real chance arrived on the quarter hour when Schmeichel had to be sharp to tip a well-struck Coquelin strike round the post.
The game settled into a pattern of City sitting back and Arsenal unable to do much with their possession, but the the visitors should have gone ahead in the 22nd minute.
A Fuchs long-throw sat up nicely for Mahrez but his thumping volley from 8 yards was too close to Cech who reacted very well to tip it over the bar
Arsenal were struggling to make a dent in City’s backline, until Walcott burst into life in the 27th minute and jinked his way past a couple of challenges before prodding a chance to the near post which Schmeichel blocked.
From the resulting corner Fuchs produced an agile hooked clearance to deny Monreal a tap in.
City were now pinned in their own half, but Arsenal’s final ball was still letting them down and the crowd’s frustration grew.
There was a near miss for each side before the break. Mahrez beat Gabriel, but fired his shot wide, while Sanchez out ran Simpson along the 18 yard line, before launching a dipping shot against the crossbar.
The second half brought an early chance for Ndidi from a Fuchs throw, but he couldn’t get enough on his header to trouble Cech.
At the other end Huth produced a fine saving tackle to deny Sanchez a great chance from a Bellerin through ball.
A Xhaka shot then deflected off Huth, but Schmeichel managed to adjust in time to save.
City continued to frustrate their hosts, Koscielny got his head to a corner but sent it straight at Schmeichel.
Then both managers opted to change things. Shakespeare brought Okazaki on for Ulloa, while Arsene Wenger introduced Welbeck, and then Giroud and Ramsey.
City had a good chance in the 76th minute when Okazaki teed up Vardy inside the area, but he was off balance and sent a tame shot at Cech.
A minute later City went close again, Okazaki closing in on goal down the right before Gabriel managed to get in the way and block him five yards out.
Arsenal began to up the pressure, desperately seeking a winner, but City appeared to be fairly comfortable at the back… until the 86th minute.
There didn’t appear to be much danger from a Monreal shot that was heading well wide, before it glanced off Huth’s chest and span into the bottom right hand corner.
It was cruel luck for City, who pressed forward in search of a late equaliser.
Tempers became frayed in time added on as Sanchez stood directly in front of Fuchs as he attempted a long throw. Referee Mike Jones didn’t force him back the two yards and Fuchs eventually bounced the ball off Sanchez’s shoulder. He went down clutching his face, but thankfully Jones booked the Chilean, rather than Fuchs who was already on a yellow. He also awarded a fre-kick, which led to a scramble in the Arsenal area which was eventually cleared.
That was City’s last chance, and for the tenth time in a row they came home from Arsenal pointless.
Craig Shakespeare summed up: “We had to show a lot of different attributes today, defend, put our bodies on the line, which I think we did for 85 minutes, but lady luck wasn’t with us, losing to a deflected shot. To not come away with a point, having put in that type of resilient performance, was disappointing.”
Arsenal: Cech, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal, Bellerín, Coquelin (Ramsey 75), Xhaka, Gibbs (Welbeck 68), Walcott (Giroud 75), Özil, Sánchez. Subs Not Used: Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi, Martinez, Elneny
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Benalouane, (Gray), Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez, Drinkwater, Ndidi, Albrighton, Vardy, Ulloa (Okazaki 70). Subs Not Used: Chilwell, Musa, King, Amartey, Zieler.
Referee: M Jones. Attendance: 59,829.
PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.
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