Leicester City 2:0 Arsenal
City’s Remembrance Day fixture saw a 2-0 win over Arsenal at the KPS on Saturday evening…
Brendan Rodgers made no changes to the side that won at Palace, while the pressure was beginning to build on Unai Emery.
After the usual immaculate poppy mosaic by the club, and the sounding of the Last Post, the game kicked off in constant and heavy rain.
City pressed forward in the opening stages, with Arsenal appearing to employ a strange 5-5 formation, with the front five swarming forward on the break.
In the 6th minute a good move involving Aubameyang and Özil set up Lacazette but he scuffed his shot into the side netting.
City had an attacking spell, but the final ball was wanting, and then Maddison was fouled 25 yards out. He swung a free kick across the face of goal but Guendouzi hauled Söyüncü down as he prepared to meet the ball at the far post. It was a clear and obvious penalty. If VAR can’t give something like that then what is it for?
Arsenal went close in the 14th minute, a sweeping move upfield saw Bellerin cut back for Aubameyang, who had his shot smothered by Ndidi, Lacazette sending a shot well wide from a great position.
While Arsenal looked dangerous going forward they looked nervy at the back, a Tielemans shot was blocked, Pérez lifted an effort over the bar, and then Barnes sent a shot straight at Leno.
Pérez then sent over a cross from the right that Vardy just failed to connect with at the far post.
The chances continued to come for both sides, Tielemans volleyed wide and Bellerin forced Schmeichel to tip a lopping effort over the bar. Maddison was then fouled on the edge of the area by Torreira and sent his curling free kick a whisker over the bar with Leno rooted to the spot.
A minute before the break Barnes attempted to head home a Chilwell cross but connected with his ear and it flew well wide.
Somehow we arrived at half time without a goal.
City should have gone 1-0 up in the 49th minute when Ricardo motored past Torreira down the right and cut the ball back for Ndidi on the penalty spot, but his rising shot rattled the crossbar.
The game continued in end-to-end fashion, with Luiz sending a long-range effort wide and Bellerin blazing a 25-yarder over the bar.
Arsenal had the ball in City’s net in the 55th minute when Aubameyang side-footed home an Özil cross, but he was offside. Proper old-fashioned offside, not VAR 3mm offside.
Brandan Rodgers made his first change on the hour, replacing Pérez with Gray.
Luiz then sent Aubameyang through but swift work from Ricardo robbed him of a chance.
There was a feeling that a goal must surely come in such an open game and it finally arrived in the 68th minute. It was the end product of a superb passing move by City: Gray sent a ball infield from the right, Barnes backheeled it to Tielemans who squared for Vardy to guide the ball past Leno.
As Arsenal pressed forward in search of an equaliser they left themselves open and Vardy,slipped in by Gray, unleashed a fierce shot which Leno did well to block with his knee.
Brendan Rodgers then brought Praet on for Barnes in the 73rd minute.
Two minutes later City put the game to bed. After Ndidi had battled his way through midfield Ricardo picked out Vardy in the area. He laid a ball off to Maddison who connected beautifully with a low shot through Bellerín’s legs, with Leno seeing it too late to react.
City then won a series of corners, delivered by Maddison, and one deflected inches wide off Guendouzi.
Arsenal looked a beaten side at this point and City did most of the attacking in the closing stages.
The final whistle saw City move up to second place and the talk now was not top six, or even top four. It was now ‘Are Leicester title contenders?’
Brendan Rodgers tried to play it down: “We’re not really thinking about the title, but if we can bring European football back here that would be great.”
Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Söyüncü, Chilwell, Ndidi, Pérez (Gray 60), Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes (Praet 74), Vardy.
Substitutes: Justin, Morgan, Albrighton, Ward, Choudhury.
Arsenal: Leno, Chambers, David Luiz, Holding (Pépé 77), Bellerín, Torreira (Willock 80), Guendouzi, Kolasinac, Özil, Lacazette, Aubameyang.
Substitutes: Tierney, Papastathopoulos, Martínez, Martinelli, Saka.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh. Attendance: 32,209.
PHOTOS: Simon Kimber
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