Arsenal vs Leicester
Arsenal welcomed Leicester City to the Emirates on Wednesday evening as they looked to continue their impressive run of late.
The Gunners began the restarted campaign in pretty awful form, losing 2-1 vs relegation-battling Brighton and being torn apart by Manchester City.
However, Mikel Arteta’s men have since gone from strength to strength, notching four wins in a row across all competitions – during which they conceded just once.
As a result, Arsenal kicked off on Tuesday very much in the race for a European place.
A Champions League spot is perhaps a bit out of their reach, but clinching Europa League football will still likely be important for Arsenal, especially if their place in the competition comes at the expense of bitter rivals, Tottenham.
Arsenal began the day 7th in the PL, three points adrift of 6th and one point above Spurs.
As for Leicester, their recent blip ended last weekend with a 3-0 drubbing of Crystal Palace.
Arsenal made two changes from their win over Wolves with Cedric and Eddie Nketiah replaced by Alexandre Lacazette and Hector Bellerin.
Here’s tonight’s team to face Leicester!
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 7, 2020
Leicester, on the other hand, made just one change with Ryan Bennet in for the injured Ben Chilwell.
In the corner
— Leicester City (@LCFC) July 7, 2020
Unsurprisingly, given their recent upturn in performances, the home side started proceedings on the offensive.
Leicester would get a foothold in the tie as the game wore on, though, with Emiliano Martinez forced to make a few decent saves.
The Foxes would continue to press the Gunners with an intensity we haven’t seen from Brendan Rodgers’ side since the restart.
This led to Arsenal playing on the back foot and often being dispossessed.
However, very much against the run of play, Arsenal gained the lead with just over 20 minutes gone.
Two of Arsenal’s star men combined as Bukayo Saka wrong-footed Jonny Evans before whipping the ball across the box to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who had no problems finding the back of the net.
Dani Ceballos should also be praised for his part in the goal, with the Spaniard’s searching ball finding Saka.
GOAL FOR THE GUNNERS!
Ceballos plays a superb through ball for Saka to roll into the path of Aubameyang, who does what he does best!
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) July 7, 2020
Aubameyang’s goal completely changed the flow of the tie, with Arteta’s men pilling the pressure on Leicester for the remainder of the first 45.
Saka came close to doubling the Gunners’ lead just before the half-hour mark after some good link-up play between Arsenal’s front-three, but Kasper Schmeichel saved well. The Dane then produced another quality stop to deny Lacazette.
Kelechi Iheanacho did have the ball in the back of the net 35 minutes in, but the Nigerian was adjudged to have fouled an Arsenal defender in the build-up.
Bellerin then played a superb floated ball to Lacazette, but the Frenchman, who should have done a lot better, directed his effort straight at the Leicester keeper.
The half-time whistle blew with Arsenal probably somewhat aggrieved they didn’t have a bigger advantage.
Vardy strikes, again
Presumably, after some harsh words from Rodgers at the break, the away side looked to set the tone from the beginning of the second half.
Jamie Vardy would play a quality ball over the top to Iheanacho who hit his effort straight at Martinez with 55 minutes played.
Vardy then came close to equalising but Shkodran Mustafi put in a crucial block.
Lacazette then thought he had doubled Arsenal’s advantage just moments later. But his effort was rightly ruled out for offside.
The forward was subbed off just minutes later for Nketiah. A decision that would cost Arsenal.
Mere moments after coming on, the young forward was shown a straight red for a high foot on Justin.
RED CARD! Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah is sent off for a dangerous tackle after a VAR review
— Goal (@goal) July 7, 2020
Leicester, understandably, went on to dominate the tie after gaining the man advantage.
And, of course, it would be Jamie Vardy who eventually equalised for Leicester, connecting with a superb low ball from Demarai Gray to earn Leicester a much-needed point.
That was Vardy’s 10th goal against the Gunners, three more than he has scored against any other PL side.
Positives for Arsenal
Despite failing to hold out for all three points, Mikel Arteta and co. should still have plenty of positives to take away from the clash at the Emirates.
Before they went a man down, Arsenal’s backline had once again been solid, with Mustafi of all people yet again a standout star.
Kieran Tierney, after some horrible injury woes earlier in the campaign, has finally come into his own in an Arsenal shirt.
Further forward, Dani Ceballos, particularly in the first 45, was simply outstanding. The Spaniard’s wide range of passing was astonishing at times and his desire to put a foot in and chase down players was also on show.
And, of course, Saka, despite playing in an unfamiliar role, had another solid outing on Tuesday.
Yes, obviously the north London outfit would have preferred the three points, but defending their lead became all that bit harder with 10 men and the Gunners shouldn’t be too disappointed with the result when all was said and done.
This article was edited by Benjamin Newman.
Arsenal betting odds, next game:
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