Arsenal 3:1 Leicester City
After a great first half showing City were well beaten by Arsenal at The Emirates on Tuesday night…
Claude Puel, two days away from completing a year in charge of City, made one change to his side, with Evans in for the suspended Morgan. He also switched to a 3-5-2, Vardy and Iheanacho operating down the channels.
His side started the game on top and carried that on until just before the break.
In the 2nd minute Iheanacho sent a shot over the bar, when a square ball to Vardy might have been a better option. Four minutes later City threatened again, but Leno managed to palm away Iheanacho’s curling effort. Then a clever ball forward from Iheanacho almost sent Vardy in but Leno came racing off his line to clear.
In the 15th minute Xhaka fouled Maddison 25 yards out, but his free-kick sailed over the bar. Another foul, as Arsenal struggled to contain City, saw Holding go into the book for holding Iheanacho back.
Two minutes later Holding was very fortunate not to get a red card when he clearly handled the ball in the area. Referee Chris Kavanagh waved play on and Puel fumed in his technical area.
Maddisson then launched a free-kick into the area and Maguire’s header was tipped away by Leno.
In a rare Arsenal attack Lacazette sent a well-struck effort narrowly over, but City soon hit back, with Vardy inches away from getting his head to a Ricardo cross.
City’s pressure paid off in the 31st minute when they took the lead their play had deserved. Ndidi sent Chilwell down the left and he cut into the area before what looked like a cross deflected off Bellerin and deceived Leno. Sadly for Chilwell it had to go down as an own goal.
Arsenal had a chance for an instant reply a minute later but Schmeichel tipped Xhaka’s free-kick over the bar at full stretch.
Xhaka sent another free-kick wide as Arsenal began to get a grip on the game towards the break. Iwobi almost got onto the end of a long ball forward, but Schmeichel raced off his line to gather.
Just when City looked to have weathered this late spell of pressure, the Gunners equalised in the 45th minute. Özil, who had done virtually nothing to this point, suddenly burst into life, feeding Bellerín down the right and continuing his run into the area, guiding the return pass in via the left hand post with a sublime touch.
If ever there was a game of two halves this was it, as City spent most of the second half chasing shadows. Five minutes in, a sloppy Mendy backpass set Lacazette up with a shot that Amartey did well to block. Mkhitaryan’s acrobatic connection with the rebound flew wide.
Despite the one way traffic towards Schmeichel’s goal City went close in the 58th minute, when a Maddison corner was headed against the bar by Ndidi, but five minutes later City went behind. Özil played Bellerin in on the right and his cross provided Aubameyang with a tap in. He had been on the field for two minutes, with Albrighton replacing Iheanacho at the same time.
City, unrecognisable from the first half, were being run ragged now and Ricardo and Albrighton both picked up yellow cards before Arsenal struck again in the 66th minute.
Özil played a clever dummy, Lacazette set him up with a pass, and the German set up Aubameyang, for a second tap in in three minutes.
Puel brought Ghezzal on for Ricardo, and then Okazaki for Maddison, but it was just rearranging the deckchairs by this stage, with the game gone.
Schmeichel managed to block Lacazette from point blank range to keep the score down, but Arsenal cruised to their tenth consecutive victory with second half possession stats of 81%.
The sorry evening seemed to be summed up when City played the last six minutes without Vardy, who had jogged off down the tunnel.
As good as Arsenal were, City had once again failed to play well for a whole game.
It is 45 years since City won at Arsenal, and on the second half showing it could be another 45 before they do so again.
Arsenal: Leno, Bellerín, Mustafi, Holding, Lichtsteiner (Aubameyang 61), Torreira, Xhaka, Mkhitaryan (Guendouzi 61), Özil (Ramsey 80). Iwobi, Lacazette.
Substitutes: Welbeck, Martínez, Medley, Smith-Rowe.
Leicester: Schmeichel: Amartey, Maguire, Evans, Ricardo (Ghezzal 69), Mendy, Ndidi, Chilwell, Maddison (Okazaki 75), Iheanacho (Albrighton 61), Vardy (withdrawn 87).
Substitutes: Söyüncü, Ward, Iborra, Fuchs.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh. Attendance: 59,886.
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