- Leicester v Arsenal (I think!) The form guide
- Leicester City v Arsenal: the (revised) question of the referee
By Bulldog Drummond
Back in the 1930s there was a rather amusing set of results between Leicester and Arsenal. Between 11 September 1926 and 21 April 1930 the clubs played each other eight times and Arsenal failed to win any of these. The last of the games was an insane 6-6 draw in which Bastin got two and David Halliday got four.
That game seemed to spur Arsenal on (if you will forgive the expression) as in the next nine games Arsenal won seven, drew one and lost one. But that was not the most extraordinary thing, for starting with the game on 21 April 1930, across the ten Arsenal / Leicester league games continuing on to 15 December 1934, there were 59 goals. That is just under six goals a game. These included a 6-6 draw, an Arsenal away win 2-7, an Arsenal home win 8-2 and finally on 15 December 1934 an Arsenal 8-0 victory.
More of the same would go down well today – and as the BBC points out “Leicester could lose five consecutive league games against Arsenal for the first time in 91 years”. It would also mean three consecutive away wins against Leicester for the first time in 98 years.
Arsenal will be helped by the fact that Leicester have an atrocious home record – here is their record for this season at their own ground compared with Arsenal’s and the worst club in the league at home – Southampton.
|19||Leicester City home||11||3||3||5||15||13||2||12|
It is also noted that Leicester have the worst second-half record in the league, leaking 23 second half goals so far, and they have not once kept a clean sheet since football resumed after the mid-season break.
Much of the problem is down to Jamie Vardy who has scored one goal this season. Last season he got 15 goals, as he did the season before that. And indeed in 2015/16 he got 24.
However part of his decline may owe a little to Untold Arsenal for since we ran the story Leicester heading for all-time record number of penalties – which was statistically undeniable, their number of penalties has almost completely dried up.
The most penalties a club normally scores in a season is ten, but with Leicester, in 2020/21 they scored nine before Christmas which led us to suggest they were going to get double the normal number of penalties – and create that all-time record. Except that, immediately after our article (which also helpfully points out exactly how Leicester were convincing the refs to give them so many penalties) the penalties absolutely stopped. And have never re-started. It has been a major issue in their subsequent decline.
In a separate piece, the Mirror also has a comment from Mikel Arteta on Saka’s lack of protection from the referees, saying “he has also been targeted for some tough treatment with just four yellow cards shown to opponents from 40 fouls on him.
The first one who has to protect Bukayo is himself. There are many ways to do that on a football pitch – within the rules – and he needs to learn and improve that.
“He reacted in a way but that line is extremely thin and that cannot take him out of his game and lose the focus. But he can help that, as well, to have more focus, more determination, more belief for the next action. So it’s something he needs to do.”
“The word I would use is normality,” Arteta added on Saka’s treatment. “He’s used to it since he was 10, 11, 12 years old because that’s the game that he plays. I don’t see it like he’s concerned at all. It’s a challenge he’s going to face with every opponent he faces – he wants to win that challenge. That’s it.” He could have added “the referees won’t help him; that’s it” but of course he is far too good a diplomat for that. And we all know what PGMO is like.
As for the team The Mirror offers
White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko;
Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli;
The Hard Tackle gives the same players as starting but with different positions
White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko;
Odegaard, Jorginho, Xhaka;
Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli
90 min announce that Leicester have been doing better than Arsenal in the past month, which is probably true, but it is a bit arbitrary to do it on dates rather than last six games. As for the team, they agree with the Hard Tackle.
And in fact that seem to be the consensus of everyone.
So, after what has not been one of our finest moments in actually getting the location of the game wrong in an earlier post, we have caught up with reality to some degree. It is an away match, and we, like the media at large, expect an Arsenal win.
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