The Gunners trap the Foxes
Written By: Robert Halter
Arsenal had won their last eight home Premier league matches with table toppers Leicester City and lost none of the previous eighteen league meetings. On two minutes, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain chose to cross instead of shooting, to try and find Alexis Sanchez in space before Danny Simpson hacked the ball away and from the resulting corner by Oxlade-Chamberlain, the ball was headed wide of the left post from Sanchez. But on the counter attack, Kasper Schmeichel came out of his area to deny Aaron Ramsey from a Mesut Ozil assist, which set free Marc Albrighton, whose cross to the far post was met with a header by Jamie Vardy, which required Petr Cech, to make a close range save in the fifteenth minute. But on twenty one minutes from a right wing cross by Oxlade-Chamberlain, expert defending by the Foxes captain, Wes Morgan, cut out the advancing Olivier Giroud. Five minutes later, Morgan made another decisive block to prevent an effort from Sanchez, and from the Oxlade-Chamberlain corner, a header by Giroud went high and wide. In the thirty seventh minute through an Ozil corner, a header by Giroud was averted from the intervention of Morgan. Two minutes later from an assist by Danny Drinkwater, a bending strike by Kante was curling towards the top right corner before Cech produced an acrobatic tip over. But it was Leicester that got the breakthrough on forty five minutes, as referee Martin Atkinson allowed the game to play on after Kante was caught by Laurent Koscielny, and as Vardy ran through, he was stamped on his in step by Nacho Monreal and Vardy tucked the spot kick away by rolling the ball in the opposite direction to Cech. Before the re-start, Calum Chambers replaced Koscielny. A minute into the second half, as Ozil won the ball back off Albrighton, a shot by Ramsey was dragged wide of the left post. On fifty three minutes, from a cross by Monreal, a back pedalling Giroud, put over another header. But having been booked for a foul on Sanchez, a second yellow and a red for Simpson was given, after he pulled the hand of Giroud which resulted in Riyad Mahrez being sacrificed for Marcin Wasilweski, and Sanchez was then put off by Wasilweski when driving an effort wide of the target from an Oxlade-Chamberlain delivery on the hour mark. The Foxes then brought on Demarai Gray for Shinji Okazaki while Arsenal took off Francis Coquelin for Theo Walcott. In the sixty fifth minute, as Kante put the ball into the path of Vardy, his low strike rolled into Cech’s reach. Finally the Gunners got back on level terms from a ball on the right by Hector Bellerin and a cushioned header back by Giroud which was driven past Schmeichel from Walcott in the seventieth minute. Arsenal mounted more pressure as from Sanchez’s right wing cross, a scissors kick by Giroud struck Robert Huth before Ramsey steered the ball wide. Another Arsenal opportunity went missing as Sanchez put his strike high and wide from Ozil’s ball through, on seventy six minutes. But there was still gas in the tank for the Foxes, as Vardy prowled in the box to find Kante, who curled the ball wide, two minutes later. Further Arsenal chances went a rye as Sanchez miscued in the area from Walcott’s pass and then Ramsey bent the ball wide from an assist by Ozil. In a final switch Leicester brought on Andy King for Albrighton while Danny Welbeck returned for Arsenal in favour of Oxlade-Chamberlain. Then the unmarked Gunners captain, Per Mertesacker steered his header wide from Ozil’s cross. But near the end Schmeichel made a heroic save to stop Giroud’s strike off Monreal’s cross and then Ramsey sent the ball wide from a Sanchez delivery before Christian Fuchs put off Walcott through Giroud’s ball over. Another tip over by Schmeichel kept out Sanchez’s effort from a ball across by Chambers. But the Foxes resistance was broken when Wasilweski fouled Monreal and from Ozil’s free kick, Welbeck headed the ball in for a famous last gasp victory to put Arsenal two points behind league leaders, Leicester City.