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Leicester 0-1 Arsenal: Gunners Remain at the Summit

Leicester City 0-1 Arsenal: Gabriel Martinelli goal gives Gunners win - BBC  Sport

Martinelli with the solitary goal

Match Report – Match Highlights – Post-Match Press Conference

Final Result: Leicester 0-1 Arsenal (Martinelli 46′)

Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko (Tomiyasu 93′); Jorginho, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard (Partey 84′), Martinelli; Trossard (Nketiah 70′)

Arsenal made a great gesture of giving the captain’s armband to Oleksandr Zinchenko in commemoration of the one year anniversary of the Russia – Ukraine conflict. The game itself was expected to be a tight affair, and the only change Mikel Arteta made to the team I previewed was bringing on Leandro Trossard for Eddie Nketiah. The Gunners had the lion’s share of possession and dominated proceedings early on without any clear cut chances created.

However, the Gunners took the lead from an amazing finish from Leandro Trossard, that was ruled out after a VAR check. Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard had worked up a series of short corners that didn’t have the desired effect, so Saka decided to go old school and swung the ball into the danger area, but the Leicester goalie, Danny Ward, punched the ball cleared and after a turnover of play, Granit Xhaka found Trossard on the edge of the area and evaded his marker before blasting the ball to the top corner with Ward rooted to the spot. Arsenal’s joy was short lived, as the VAR checks showed that Benjamin White had impeded the goalie in the buildup. Seemed pretty weak to me, but hey, I’ve seen worse.

The officiating in the Premier League has been shambolic in recent campaigns, and clearly there has been a lot of inconsistency even with the VAR system. It was on show yet again when Harry Souttar ‘slipped’ and clearly scythed down Saka in the Leicester box, but nothing was done. I don’t want to believe that the VAR officials actually checked the incident, because it would have been worse if they checked it and decided nothing was wrong with what the Leicester towering center back did.

With the game delicately poised at 0-0, Leicester thought they had gotten the lead when a poor Zinchenko header was fed straight to Tete, whose through ball found Seniorman Kelechi Iheanacho in behind the defense. The Nigerian forward showed great composure to chip the ball past Aaron Ramsdale in the Arsenal goal but he didn’t time his initial run early and the goal was ruled off for offside. 

Right after the restart, Arsenal commenced the game like a house on fire and got their reward with a lovely goal from Gabriel Martinelli. After some intricate passing play, the ball found its way to Trossard on the right that carefully threaded the ball through Timothy Castagne’s legs to Martinelli’s path. The Brazilian winger bore down on goal, with pressure from Leicester’s Wilfred Ndidi but he picked his spot and placed the ball to Ward’s far post. Martinelli couldn’t celebrate the goal properly as his knee was stamped on by Ndidi inadvertently.

Arsenal thought they had doubled their money when Martinelli latched onto Odegaard’s pass in behind the Leicester defense, and unselfishly teed up Saka to side foot the ball to an empty net but Martinelli was rightfully offside and that chance went begging. Arsenal continued their onslaught with Saka feeding the captain of the day, Zinchenko, but his goal-bound shot was saved by Ward. Zinchenko has been a revelation this season, and his contributions to Arsenal’s attacking play have been immense.

Leicester made a couple of changes to move the wind to their sails but the game became a scrappy affair, marred by a lot of fouls and stopped plays. Jorginho in particular, was on the end of some nasty challenges but he held his own. There was a very nasty situation when Youri Tielemans and Xhaka went for the ball in the air. The Swiss midfielder received a whack in the head for his troubles, but the Belgian cultured midfielder linked with a move to Arsenal this summer landed on his ankle, and couldn’t continue the game, leaving Leicester to battle on with 10 men.

The ref’s whistle was like music to the ears of everyone involved with Arsenal, as Arteta’s men weathered the storm of poor form that hit them a couple of weeks ago, and the ship is steady at the top of the table. The win put Arsenal five points past Manchester City, but Pep Guardiola’s men went to Bournemouth and battered them with aplomb to cut the gap back to two. 

The Gunners are still in the summit and they are loving it.


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Leicester Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

Video: Gabriel gives Arsenal the early lead at Leicester - Just Arsenal News

Arsenal visit the King Power Stadium today to take on a Leicester side that has blown hot and cold this season. In Brendan Rodger’s sides last five Premier League games, they have lost to Nottingham Forest, drew with Brighton, defeated Aston Villa, earned a comfortable victory over Spurs before having their asses handed to them at Old Trafford. 

Arsenal’s pulsating win over Aston Villa coupled with Manchester City’s surprise draw at the City Ground has seen Mikel Arteta’s men go two points clear of their title rivals and that gap can increase to five points before Manchester City kicks the ball at the Vitality Stadium this evening. The Cityzens have been somewhat rocky in their away matches this season, and one can only hope that inconsistent form continues today. 

Leicester’s start to the season was really wretched, winning one of their first 10 matches in the Premier League and fans called for Rodgers’ head on a spike with a series of losses that saw the Foxes languish in the relegation zone. An upturn in form just before the World Cup break saw Leicester gain some form that saw the team pick some victories but consistency has been an issue for the midlands outfit. 

Like Arsenal, the club invested in January, signing Victor Kristensen and Harry Souttar in defense, while Brazilian winger, Tete, added some flair to their dwindling attacking play. 

To team news, Arsenal is still sweating over the fitness of Thomas Partey, with Mikel Arteta hopeful that he will play a part today.

“He’s a really important player for us, who we missed in the last few games. Hopefully he can be available.”

In his absence, Jorginho has done very well to hold the fort and his progressive passes have been very key in Arsenal’s build up play. This brilliant tactical column by Arseblog’s Lewis Ambrose throws some more light on Jorginho’s influence from central midfield. 

The manager also confirmed that Gabriel Jesus is itching for a return, but most importantly, he’s going to respect the time frame given by the medical staff. Yes, the goals have somewhat dried up for Eddie Nketiah, but he has been very important in providing the support to the team, pressing high up the pitch and getting involved in the buildup play. With goals arriving from other sources this season, Arsenal hasn’t been over-reliant on one player to come up with the goods week in, week out. 

Leicester’s record against Arsenal is quite bad, with Arsenal winning their last four Premier League games against the club. Arsenal can make it three consecutive away league wins against the Foxes for just the second time in their history. Leicester’s home form has been terrible as well, with the Foxes winning just three of their 11 games at home this season. Only Southampton has a worse home record than Leicester. 

Leicester vs Arsenal Predicted Lineups

Aston Villa: Ward; Castagne, Souttar, Faes, Kristiansen; Mendy, Tielemans; Tete, Dewsbury-Hall, Barnes; Iheanacho

Arsenal: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Jorginho, Xhaka, Odegaard; Martinelli, Nketiah, Saka.

Injury / Suspension Updates

Leicester: James Justin (Achilles), Jonny Evans (thigh), Ryan Bertrand (knee), Sammy Braybrooke (knee), James Maddison (knee)

Arsenal: Mohamed Elneny (knee), Thomas Partey (muscle), Gabriel Jesus (knee)

Form Guide

Leicester Form

  • Last Five Games:  L D W W L
  • Last Result: Man Utd 3-0 Leicester (Rashford 25′, 56′ Sancho 61′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: James Maddison (9)

Arsenal Form

  • Last Five Games: L L D L W
  • Last Result: Aston Villa 2-4 Arsenal (Watkins 5′, Coutinho 31′ | Saka 16′, Zinchenko 61′, Martinez OG’ 93′, Martinelli 98′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Bukayo Saka (10)

Gooner Daily predicts a 2 – 1 victory.

Kick Off – 4.00pm (GMT +1) at Emirates Stadium.

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Don’t You Just Love the English Premier League?

After a long hiatus, the Premier League graced our screens with a highly anticipated clash between Arsenal and Leicester City. Both clubs endured disastrous campaigns last season by their fair standards with the Gunners failing to qualify for the Champions League while Leicester’s defense of their triumphant EPL title was torrid to say the least.

All eyes were on Arsenal and their new club record signing, Alexandre Lacazette, and it took just 90 seconds for him to make his mark on his new club, adjusting his neck muscles to head home a lovely swung effort from Mohamed Elneny. His celebration was ice cold as well and we were very excited for the new signing scoring such an early but like we do every season, we just had to ‘Arsenal’ it. Captain of the night, Petr Cech, was caught in No Man’s Land as a Macguire header to the danger area from the back post was flicked home by Shinji Okazaki. Things went from bad to worse when Mark Albrighton’s cross was finished aplomb by Jamie Vardy.

What followed was a series of shocking football from the home team with the crowd voicing their frustrations on their side. Right at the stroke of half time, Sead Kolasinac found Danny Welbeck clean on goal and despite his best attempts to miscue the ball, it still crept into the net, leveling the contest at half time. Going into the break at a stalemate wasn’t bad and we were hoping for an improved performance from the side but when Vardy reacted quicker to Riyad Mahrez’s corner, Arsenal was down again, conceding yet another cheap goal that would have been averted.

We needed a response and we got it when the manager brought on Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey for Welbeck and Elneny. The visitors chose a defensive approach, bringing on Daniel Amartey to protect the rearguard but the incessant Arsenal pressure  paid off when Granit Xhaka, who was having a nightmare by the way, dinked one over to Ramsey that blasted the ball in at close range to make it 3-3.

We waited patiently and prayed earnestly to see if the Gunners would get a fourth and they obliged with that gorgeous bearded French bloke, Giroud, nodding what proved to be the winner and his 99th goal for the club. Say what you want about Giroud but he has been a massive player for the club since he joined the team from SC Montpellier in 2012.

Another Premier League season beginning with a roller coaster ride, as Arsenal took its fans through different emotions, starting with sheer delight and elation when Lacazette scored to a feeling of frustration when Leicester got their equalizer. Frustration switched to despair when the visitors extended their lead but that swiftly changed to relief as Welbeck leveled the tie. In the second half, we plunged from our relieved state to depression when they scored a third, and the curses on the time took center stage. I’m pretty sure I saw a few “#WengerOut’ responses but those fans nerved were calmed with Ramsey’s equalizer with the mindset that a draw would not have been a bad result while hoping for a win.

All it took was a Giroud late late goal to send us back to delirium and we danced long into the night celebrating three hard earned points!

Don’t you just love the Premier League?


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