Arsenal 0-1 Leicester: Jamie Vardy haunts the Gunners yet AGAIN as Brendan Rodgers’ side bag much-needed victory over lacklustre hosts
- Leicester Travelled down to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday evening
- Arsenal started brightly and had a Alexandre Lacazette flick ruled-out for offside after just three minutes
- The Gunners’ performance then went flat and Jamie Vardy was introduced with 30 minutes left to play
- The striker has 11 goals in 12 games against the Gunners now after scoring the winner in a rapid counter-attack
This was an opportunity for Arsenal. This was a chance to make a statement, to win a game of football and push themselves in to the top four of the Premier League and up on to the shoulders of defending champions Liverpool.
It is a position Arsenal have not occupied for too long so you would think there would have been a hunger about Mikel Arteta’s players, a desire to take a significant stride forwards.
But no, there wasn’t enough of that here at the Emirates. There was not nearly enough.
Jamie Vardy bagged the winner to continue his habit of haunting Arsenal on Sunday, as Leicester beat the Gunners 1-0
The striker came on with 30 minutes to play and popped up at the crucial moment to score a diving header past Bernd Leno
The Gunners carved out plenty of first-half chances but their talented attack seemed to lose belief as Leicester held them off
This was an Arsenal performance that spoke not of potential – of which there is a vast amount in this squad – but instead pointed to remaining, deep-seated limitations.
Arteta has improved his team and changed the culture of the club but on occasions you sense that he knows they will still let him down.
Here they were the better team for the first half but their star forwards didn’t show when Arsenal needed them to. Alexandre Lacazette didn’t want to put his head among flying boots when set up two yards from goal.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, meanwhile, has not scored a league goal or indeed contributed a performance of note since signing his new contract.
It is not good enough and ultimately they were upstaged and undone by a forward who will never leave very much on the field.
ARSENAL V LEICESTER MATCH FACTS AND RATINGS
Leno 6; Bellerin 6.5, Luiz 6.5 (Mustafi 49mins 6), Gabriel 6, Tierney 7; Ceballos 6, Xhaka 6, Partey 7; Saka 6 (Pepe 65mins 6), Lacazette 5.5, Aubameyang 5. Not used: Runarsson, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Willock, Nketiah.
MIKEL ARTETA: 5.5
LEICESTER CITY: ( 3-4-2-1)
Schmeichel 6.5; Fofana 7, Evans 7.5, Fuchs 7; Castagne 6.5, Tielemans 6, Mendy 6.5, Justin 6.5; Praet 6 (Vardy 59mins 7), Barnes 6 (Under 74mins 6), Maddison 6 (Albrighton 85mins 6). Not used: Ward, Morgan, Iheanacho, Choudhury.
GOALS: Vardy 80
BOOKED: Fuchs, Tielemans, Fofana, Evans
BRENDAN RODGERS: 8
REFEREE: Craig Pawson 6
MAN OF THE MATCH: Jonny Evans
Jamie Vardy did not start this game as Brendan Rodgers tried to protect him ahead of a rigorous schedule.
But the Leicester manager said Vardy would contribute against a club he once almost signed for and nearly always scores against, and that turned out to be the case. Vardy came on with half an hour left and scored the winning goal twenty minutes later.
Arsenal did have the ball in the net in only the fourth minute of the game and it was a strange affair. A corner from the left side was swung to the near post and headed in to the goal by Lacazette only for offside to be called.
Two Arsenal players – Granit Xhaka and Aubameyang – were standing in offside positions close to goal but neither touched the ball, meaning it must have been their proximity to goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel that counted against them.
Certainly the goal could have been given. Equally James Maddison had lifted an effort just wide from 35 yards a couple of minutes earlier after a poor clearance from Bernd Leno. So maybe both teams were relieved not to be behind as they settled in to the early rhythm of the game.
Thomas Partey made his first Premier League start and home debut and had a solid game in a strong Arsenal midfield
James Maddison started for the first time this season, putting in a good shift for the Foxes before being hauled-off
Ultimately it was Arsenal who grew in to the game the quicker. Leicester were relatively happy to sit deep but lacked the pace through the middle to be effective on the counter.
So with Arsenal pressing, Leicester had to defend well and by and large they did. Jonny Evans made up ground superbly on Hector Bellerin to block after a superb deep pass from David Luiz while Christian Fuchs was just as diligent.
Still Arsenal could and should have scored, though. Left-back Kieran Tierney was a menace with his delivery from that side and one such cross would have been headed in by Lazacette from just two yards had the Frenchman been brave enough to attack the ball properly. Instead, his rather lame effort only skimmed off his forehead.
That was the big chance of the first half and Arsenal’s control of play was due in no small part to the technical proficiency and game understanding of new signing Thomas Partey.
The Ghanaian used the ball beautifully at times, passing both long and short to good effect.
Alexandre Lacazette thought he had scored in the third minute from a Dani Ceballos corner, before it was quickly ruled-out
For Leicester the question was how long it would be before Vardy was given a run. As it turned out, he came on after an hour.
Arsenal had also made a change by then, an enforced one, after Luiz tweaked a muscle. Vardy may have been a little disappointed not to have a chance to run at the Brazilian who had enjoyed a good night with the ball but is not always comfortable on the turn.
Leicester, without a win in this part of north London since 1973, had certainly grown in to the game in the second half.
Arsenal all of a sudden seemed to lack a little focus and Arteta was certainly not getting enough out of his forward players. Perhaps with this in mind, Nicolas Pepe was sent on in the 65th minute to doubtless try and lift things a little.
It was Aubameyang who finally delivered some overdue threat. A run down the left produced a deep cross and Bellerin’s nicely controlled side footed volley was saved well by Schmeichel.
The victory could be a turning point for the Foxes who had lost their past two matches without scoring a goal in the league
At last there was some life in the game. Hitherto in the second half there had been too little energy and ambition, especially from a home team that will have to play better than this if they are to seriously threaten the top four places.
Then, with ten minutes to go, Leicester finally got them. A lovely long pass from Youri Tielemans found one substitute, Cengiz Under, streaking through down the left and another, Vardy, inside him.
A simple square pass was all that was required and when it arrived Vardy stopped to head the ball in to the empty net.
He could have scored another in added time but was denied by Leno. It didn’t matter. When the lights went out, it was Leicester – and not Arsenal – sitting in the Champions League places.
And that’s that, Jamie Vardy the hero yet again for Leicester.
Arsenal started strongly and dominated most of the first-half, having a Lacazette header ruled-out. But their chances weren’t quite good enough, and their pace trailed-off as half-time approached.
A flat second-half saw Arsenal run out of ideas, and the inevitable happened after Vardy entered.
Just not good enough from a talented Arsenal front-line tonight when the midfield and defence put in a solid display.
What a huge away win for Leicester.
Arsenal have won a corner. Leno is up and Pepe standing over it… but it doesn’t beat the first man and nobody gets onto the follow-up.
Vardy bursts through on another counter and gets one-on-one with the German keeper, trying to chip in the second.
Leno blocks the shot with his head, could easily have been sealed there.
Still hope for the hosts…
Arsenal are pushing for an equaliser but are being easily repelled by Leicester right now. A leveller looks unlikely, the Gunners just haven’t had that finishing touch today.
Albrighton is on now as Maddison exits after making good progress on his comeback from injury. Can the Foxes hold out now?
That. Man. Again. He’s come on to stun Arsenal, and it’s a trademark Leicester counter-attack.
Tielemans plays a glorious ball over the top for Under as Arsenal panic, with the Turk firing a cross over to Vardy to score with a diving header.
It’s come from nowhere in a flat second-half with barely any quality. That’s what the Foxes can do and Arsenal haven’t been wary enough. Vardy’s introduction was a visible boost.
Cengiz Under on for Harvey Barnes with 15 minutes of this flat second-half remaining.
Leicester’s keeper with strong hands to stop a powerful volley from Hector Bellerin on the edge, connecting with captain Aubameyang’s cross from the byline after a terrific run.
The Spaniard just needed to go either side of the keeper, he’s missed a few of Arsenal’s best chances today.
Here comes Aresnal’s record signing, with Nicholas Pepe replacing Bukayo Saka after the young winger looked to be hurt by a late challenge from Fofana.
Pepe’s has shown only flashes of what’s hoped of his at Arsenal. They need one of those magic moments now.
Here we go, Vardy – who has 10 goals in 11 against Arsenal – replaces Praet for the final 30 minutes.
Lacazette fouls Evans in the air and goes into the book. The striker’s frustrations are showing now, as he drops deeper for the ball.
Meanwhile, Jamie Vardy is getting ready….
Mendy wins a free-kick from a clumsy tackle by Lacazette, as James Maddisson stands over the ball from 35-yards.
The Englishman is obviously still a little rusty, as the ball soars over Leno’s goal.
Fofana is carded after the defender nicked Saka. Poor challenge and the young winger looks to be hurt by that, limping around in the aftermath.
David Luiz has gone down early in this half and looks unlikely to get up. Mustafi has been getting ready to warm-up and is about to head onto the field.
The Brazilian had a very solid game in the first-half with some classy passing. Could be a blow to the Gunners.
Mustafi’s first appearance this season.
Here we go for the second-half.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hasn’t scored in four league games, now would be a good time from the striker.
Or will Jamie Vardy come on to haunt Arsenal again?
The players go in at the break after a frustrating half for both sides, with Arsenal failing to capitalise on a long period of dominance, while Leicester struggled for much possession and created only a handful of half-chances.
The game went a little flat as half-time approached with Leicester keeping Arsenal out easier. Improvement needed from both sides in the second 45.
A little less pressure from Arsenal now and it’s allowed Leicester to break into the Gunners half. The Foxes are just a bit careless in possession and looses on key passes.
Arsenal will feel very frustrated with themselves, looking set to go in at the break without a goal.
That really has to be a goal. Lacazette is on the end of another Tierney cross in after brilliant work from the Scottish wing-back by the corner flag.
The Frenchman aims to flick the ball in but doesn’t get enough connecting and it’s a poor effort.
Arsenal have to be wary of becoming complacent in their dominance and allowing Leicester to break and bag a goal from nowhere.
Arsenal slow-build another dangerous move with Leicester camped in their own half, as the ball makes it out to Kieran Tierney to whip in another dangerous ball.
Lacazette is just muscled out and can only head the ball high and over.
Bukayo Saka finds space to shoot in the box but its from a tight angle and Schmeichel stops. Moments later Aubameyang has a great chance with a header but can’t direct it low enough.
Arsenal goal is surely on its way. Very, very little from the visitors so far
It’s Gunners domination right now, Leicester can’t get their foot on the ball. Confidence in this team.
Saka profits from some clumsy Foxes defending to get a shot in to win yet another corner for the hosts. It’s sent in but Aubameyang can’t connect with an overhead-kick.
David Luiz pings a glorious ball over the top for Hector Bellerin who shows his old pace in breaking through into the box.
The Spaniard’s first touch is perfect but he fumbles the golden chance from there, and it’s cleared for a corner.
Arsenal solid so far
Lacazette earns a free-kick on the edge and it’s Xhaka and the Frenchman standing over it… but it’s straight into the wall from the Swiss midfielder.
Arsenal have the ball in the net after Lacazette flicked in Dani Ceballos’ corner, but the flag goes up instantly and VAR confirms the off-side.
Glorious ball in from Ceballos.
Not an ideal start for the Gunners, as Leno rushes well out of his area to make a poor clearance which falls to James Maddison.
The midfield attempts to lob the German from range, but goes just wide of the empty net.
Off we go, after all the players and officials taking the knee, for this evening’s clash.
Arsenal in their traditional red and white, Leicester all in blue.
Here come the players out of the Emirates tunnel under the floodlights, as Rodgers and Arteta take their place in the dugouts.
Moments away now
Just 10 minutes before kick-off at the Emirates.
This game could give a vital indication of how serious these clubs are about Europe this season.
No Mesut Ozil tonight anywhere near the Arsenal line-up, with the German left out of the Gunners’ Premier League squad by Mikel Arteta.
Ozil has hit back at the Gunners boss but opposite number Rodgers believes the young manager has made the right call.
Gooners only got a brief look at Thomas Partey in his seven-minute debut against Manchester City before 90 minutes in the Europa League midweek, tonight is the real test.
The summer signing makes his first start in the Premier League and club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expecting big things from the Ghanaian.
James Maddison has been dogged by injuries for the last months and his absence was a huge blow as Leicester plummeted out of the top-four last season.
However, starting tonight the Englishman hopes he can quickly find his best and push Leicester back towards Europe….
James Maddison will start tonight for the first time this season in a huge boost for the Foxes.
The creative midfielder hasn’t played 90 minutes in the top-flight since June after hip surgery in the summer and a calf niggle more recently.
Meanwhile for Arsenal, summer signing Thomas Partey is in the line-up for the first time in a league match after a seven minute appearance last time out in the 1-0 defeat to Manchester City.
Hello and welcome to Sportsmail’s coverage of Leicester City’s trip down to London to face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Both teams have their eyes on Europe this season and are looking to bounce-back from losses in their last Premier League fixtures. We’re expecting a tight affair.
Stay tuned here for all the build-up and live updates throughout the match.
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