By Walter Broeckx
A match with nothing at stake apart from Tony being in Leicester. Wenger picked a team that would give whoever the new manager will be to have a look at some youngsters in the squad.
Starting Xl: Cech, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Mavropanos, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Ramsey, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Welbeck, Aubameyang
On the beach: Ospina, Osei-Tutu, Mertesacker, Mustafi, Willock, Nelson, Nketiah
Arsenal with the better of the play in the opening 10-12 minutes. A good save on a shot from Iwobi. Leicester counter and Cech has to save a shot from Vardy. The followed another terrible defending moment. A corner could have been cleared easily but somehow we opted to start passing in a crowded penalty area. That lead to us losing the ball and Iheanacho scored after some ping pong football. 1-0 for Leicester after 16 minutes. That was a terrible give away from us. What were they thinking? Passing the ball around in our own crowded goal area???? All our decent start giving away in a real stupid way.
Worse to come. Mavrapanos lost the ball and brought down the Leicester striker as the last man and he got a red card. A costly mistake from the youngster. Of course the letter of the law is applied as it is Arsenal involved. I’ve seen them not giving when I was at the Emirates a few weeks ago when Welbeck was brought down by the last man. Cech with an excellent save after the free kick. Mustafi prepares himself and Welbeck is the victim of the red card as he goes off to bring on another central defender. Apart from Per no more experience on the bench now. Cech with another good stop on a shot from distance. Leicester dictating play now with the man more. Mhkitaryan with a pass to Aubamayang but the ball went to the wrong side of the striker and he couldn’t capitalise on the chance. Arsenal still 1-0 down after 30 minutes.
A good attack starting with a long ball to Aubamayang ends up with a shot from Mkhytarian that is saved by the keeper. The resulting corner ends with a shot from Aubamayang that is diverted for another corner. Two good chances within one minute. The ref stopping a throw in from Arsenal only to give it back…. strange refereeing…. Arsenal losing the ball and conceding a free kick but Cech with a good low save. Another foul on an Arsenal player goes unpunished… the Leicester player played the ball…. with his hand and then took Mustafi out. Another good save from Cech on a Leicester counter. Arsenal trying to attack when possible but then we open ourselves to the Leicester counters. A Leicester player goes down in his own penalty area and looks in serious trouble with his knee just before the end of the first half. Arsenal play the ball out and stop their attack. Arsenal go in at half time 1-0 down. Come on guys let’s get something from this game for Tony.
Arsenal with a long combination from left to right and back to the left and Kolasinac with the shot that is stopped by the goalpost. Oh well…. when it isn’t your year, it isn’t your year. Leiecester with an attack and the shot goes past Cech but Mustafi clears in front of the goal line. Cech had slowed the ball down with his left hand, so a good save. Leicester players throwing or kicking the ball away when play is stopped but the letter of the law doesn’t apply to this of course. The ball goes to Maitland Niles on the right flank who goes past his man and cuts it back to Aubamayang whose first shot is saved on the goal line by the keeper but Aubamayang puts the rebound over the goal line. GOAL! 1-1 after 53 minutes. He really has a great scoring record since his arrival.
Aubamayang races clear again in the next minute but Iwobi can’t get on the end of his cross. Maitland Niles again with a good run on his flank but the cross is cleared in front of Aubamayang and then Iwobi shoots wild and high over the goal. Still 1-1 after 60 minutes.
My stream going down then to see Mkhytarian being kicked down just outside the penalty area but well… the ref didn’t see it. Oh well… Maitland Niles being pushed in the air and again no foul for the ref. Mkhitaryan found with a long ball from Kolasinac but the angle was too difficult and he shoots half a meter over the Leicester goal. Arsenal giving the ball away in a dangerous position but luckily Ramsey comes to the rescue and intercepts the attack. Ramsey with another great interception launches a counter after Leicester free kick but a misunderstanding between Aaron and Mkhitaryan wastes the opportunity. Arsenal with a few counters but Leicester goes down in the Arsenal penalty area and of course the ref gives a penalty. Again a very soft decision against Arsenal. But this is what we have come to expect from this ref already. Vardy scores 2-1 after 75 minutes. Everything goes against Arsenal with the ref. Fouls on Arsenal players are missed the slightest contact with Leicester players is punished. One of those penalties you only see given against us.
Wow a foul is given when Iwobi is clearly brought down and even a yellow card. Pigs fly in Leicester in the 78th minute. Kolasinac with a header but straight at the keeper. After 83 minutes Iwobi goes off and Nketiah comes on. I think it is making up time as the ref gives Mahrez a deserved yellow card for kicking the ball away in anger after a handball. Leicester taking a throw in of a ball that went over the sideline some 6 meters out some 20 meters further with the ref doing nothing about it.
Arsenal with tired legs and trying to go forward and then run in to the counter knife. Mahrez escapes on the flank and rounds the last defender and scores. 3-1 after 90 minutes.
We played for 75 minutes against 12 man and had a chance to get a point. The 12th man (and I don’t mean the Leicester supporters) decided we were not allowed anything. The penalty killed us. The ref has put in a good CV for Riley.
This has been the pattern away from home in 2018 : we make stupid mistakes at the back and the refs do their utmost best to stop us when we might be on our way back to get something from the match. The first thing is something we should improve on. The second thing….only God and Mike know….
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