By Walter Broeckx
We normally publish the match report within an hour of the conclusion of the game. However last Sunday, Walter and a number of other utterly dedicated fans from Belgium left their homes at 2am local time to be at the match – the match you’ll recall, which courtesy of Sky was suddenly moved from Saturday at 3pm to Sunday at noon.
No compensation of course, just a change made and a situation left to the most dedicated of fans to work out what to do.
Despite that the fans from Belgium Arsenal made the trip, and Walter has now managed to make it back to Antwerp, grabbed some sleep and written his report. Here it is…
A very strong start from Arsenal.
Alexis gives the ball to the Ox who doubted for a split second between a shot on goal but as the angle went narrow he decided for a low cross that was put in corner by Simpson. The Ox with the corner and Alexis with a looping header that just went wide. Not even two minutes on the clock.
Drinkwater (he’s not that type of player, you know) with a nasty kick on the ankles of Alexis… no yellow ref? Alexis sure looked bemused… Simpson then with a kick on Alexis again nothing given. Kante with an arm away from his body stops the pass from the Ox in the penalty area… nothing given… Okazaki with a chance but he shoots over and was given offside.
Alexis with a handball in midfield in the same way as Kante a few minutes before and now the ref gives a foul for handball against Arsenal… two teams…two sets of rules Mr. Atkinson?
Ramsey is sent away but Smeichel is first on the ball way outside his penalty area, Leicester counter a cross to Vardy a low header and Cech with a super save. Still 0-0 after 15 minutes.
A few minutes with no real chances for either team till The Ox sends a low cross in from the flank and Alexis sees his shot blocked by two defenders. Giroud heads over off the head of Huth from the corner. Goal kick given. Simpson fouls Alexis without the ball and ref ignores it… Both defences dominating now. Simpson fouls Özil… Atkinson ignores it. 0-0 after half an hour.
Özil with a cross to Giroud who scores but the flag goes up for offside. A correct decision from the assistant. Coquelin makes his first foul and gets a yellow card of course. No talking to for Arsenal players…
Giroud being pulled by Huth after a corner but Atkinson sees nothing. Kante with a curling shot to the top corner but Cech with a fine save. Özil is clearly fouled by Morgan just outside the Leicester penalty area, but blind man Atkinson ignores the most obvious foul in favour of Arsenal.
Leicester starts a counter and Vardy manages to wrap his left leg around the leg of Monreal and goes down…. And of course this time Atkinson has seen a foul and gives a penalty. If the attacker sticks out his leg to make contact with the defender it is him who makes the foul.
Vardy accepts the gift from Atkinson. 0-1 in favour of Atkinson after 45 minutes. Koscielny got a card also, and so did Ramsey; not much wrong with the cards. Atkinson goes in the dressing room being booed by the Arsenal supporters for messing up once again.
Chambers came on at half time in the place of Koscielny. Within the first minute a blocked shot from Özil and a shot from Ramsey that went wide. Simpson with a foul on Alexis that is given by Atkinson… loud sarcastic cheering from the crowd. Simpson with another foul and again given and a yellow card on top.
Mahrez then dives for a penalty but I think Atkinson then has enough of it and ignores it. Should have given a card ref. Fuchs then gets a card for a late tackle on Giroud. This is now almost looking like a referee…a real one.
Cross from Monreal but Giroud heads over… Simpson then pulls Giroud back when he was beaten and to my surprise Atkinson gets out the second yellow card. Leicester has to continue with 10 for more than half an hour.
Kante stops Özil on a counter and also goes in the book. Leicester now in full time wasting mode and bringing on Wazilewski for diver Mahrez.
Coquelin not impressed by the speed of the latter going off the field. A low cross from The Ox but Alexis can’t get his shot on target. No use of a defensive midfielder any more now and Theo comes on for Coquelin. Chambers being impressive in the centre of the defence in the first 15 minutes. Still 0-1 behind after 60 minutes.
Cech with a dribble past Vardy and Arsenal now really pressing Leicester back around their own penalty area. A cross from Bellerin, Giroud heads it on to Theo who puts it past Smeichel. GOAL! 1-1 after 70 minutes.
Drinkwater then tries to break the legs of Ramsey with a fierce tackle that could have resulted in a broken leg but Atkinson back to his usual himself and no red card. Ramsey was furious, and every sensible man knows why. Cross from Alexis, Giroud’s shot is blocked by Huth’s arm and the follow up from Ramsey goes wide. Still 1-1 after 75 minutes.
Alexis with a bit of room in front of goal but his shot goes wide. Schmeichel wasting time, Atkinson waving around a bit but no card. Pointing at his clock… we will be here until the kick off for the Hull game if Atkinson adds all the time necessary to compensate for the time wasting.
Vardy goes on a counter and enters the penalty area… look out for a penalty says my match reporter… he is right…Chambers is wise and doesn’t get himself in trouble and just holds off Vardy. The shot from Kante in the end goes wide.
Alexis who hasn’t had his shooting boots on misses another chance for a good shot at goal. Ramsey with a shot but it curls wide. With 8 minutes to go Welbeck enters the field in the place of The Ox. A first match in 10 months after being kicked off the field against Liverpool. Özil and Ramsey now in midfield and the rest are all in attack. Özil with a cross and the guided header of Mertesacker goes just wide… 5 minutes to go in normal time.
Giroud with a header to Welbeck who just can’t get his foot around the ball enough and the shot ends up harmlessly in the arms of Schmeichel.
Giroud then with a shot and a super save from Schmeichel and not a minute later a header but again Schmeichel can stop it. Ramsey then with a shot but wide… time ticking away now… Giroud with a cross but now Theo cannot connect properly followed by more time wasting…
Four minutes extra time… you got to be joking… the Huth heads in corner but Atkinson gives a goal kick… Giroud tries to play in Theo but a Leicester leg first to the ball. Alexis with a curling shot but Schmeichel just like Cech with a fine save.
Corner to Arsenal headed away and then Wasilewski with an arm in the face of Monreal on the right hand side of the field. Free kick to Arsenal.
Özil behind the ball with an inviting cross and….. Welbeck with the glancing header…. GOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLL to Arsenal!!!!!! 2-1 to the Arsenal in the final seconds of the match.
Danny Welbeck after having been out for 10 months with a winner in the last seconds of the match… fairy tale stuff… The eruption of noise inside the Emirates is something I have never witnessed before. Simply amazing…
Arsenal win 2-1 against Leicester and go within two points of the league leaders.
Highs and lows from the anniversary files
- 16 February 2011: Arsenal 2 Barcelona 1 – a match which raised the hopes of a return to form for Arshavin who scored. Van Persie got the other.
- 16 February 2013: Arsenal 0 Blackburn 1. FA Cup Round 5. Blackburn had one shot; the referee was Mike Dean and his performance was considered somewhat “unbalanced” by some commentators.
- The media, the dinosaurs and the English antidote to skilful football. (Contains adult content that may be distressing to lovers of football)
- Arsenal v Leicester – Sunday 14 February – The Match Officials: this could be a problem.
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Coming soon on Untold: John Radford on his early years in football.