We haven’t been at our goalscoring best this season, but if our clash with Leicester City is anything to go by, then that is about to change. It was an open, end to end game, with Alexis Sanchez the standout player after netting a hatrick in our 5-2 victory.
We were warned before the game not to underestimate Leicester, then we were warned again, and then we were warned a few more times after that. The fans knew not to take Claudio Ranieri’s side lightly, the pundits knew it, the media knew it, but it didn’t seem like the players had taken the message in.
Leicester were looking dangerous right from the off, and Petr Cech was called into action almost immediately – with Jeffrey Schlupp and then Jamie Vardy looking to test the Czech shot-stopper.
Despite the obvious goal threat they posed, we insisted on bombing forward ourselves, and committed far too many men into the attack. Leicester predictably countered, and Vardy raced away from Per Mertesacker and curled an effort past Cech. 1-0.
Thankfully we hit straight back, a counter of our own beginning from a Leicester set-piece. Santi Cazorla played an excellent ball forward, with the pace of Theo Walcott proving too much for the Foxes’ defence. The England international burst towards goal, and put a really smart finish past Kasper Schmeichel. 1-1.
Mathieu Flamini was in for Francis Coquelin, and after his midweek heroics against Tottenham in Capital One Cup he was surely flying high. Two games in quick succession may be too much for the veteran midfielder though, and he had to be substituted early on with a hamstring injury – Mikel Arteta his replacement.
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Counter-attacking seemed to be theme of the game, and it was end to end stuff throughout – both teams playing at a phenomenal tempo. We put them under a sustained spell of pressure, and eventually something broke.
A superb move allowed Mesut Özil to play in Hector Bellerin (who had an excellent game) down the right, and the Spaniard raced into the box. He lashed a ball across the box, and Alexis Sanchez popped up at the back post to tap in his first of the season. 2-1.
The second half was just as fast paced, and we continued to apply pressure on a Leicester side that were refusing to change their open, attacking style.
It seems all Alexis needed was a goal to boost his confidence, and he looked really up for the game following his first half strike. He doubled his tally shortly into the second 45, latching onto a sublime chipped pass from Mesut Özil. The Chilean had a fairly simple task, heading past the keeper to make it 3-1.
We were really turning the screw on Leicester, but they were undefeated before today for a reason, and we couldn’t afford to let our guard drop. We threatened to score multiple times during a lovely spell, but couldn’t seem to find the finish. Leicester were throwing bodies in front of the ball, and doing everything they could to keep us out.
It took a moment of real quality to get the fourth, with Alexis Sanchez completing his hatrick. He produced a beautiful bit of skill to make himself some space, before smashing a ball from distance that had Schmeichel beaten all ends up. 4-1
Check out the goal below:
There was one last spell of defiance from Leicester, with Cech called into action to make a number of saves. He needed more from the defence though, and Vardy eventually snuck through to grab his second. 4-2.
There was just enough time for late substitute Olivier Giroud to put a calm and composed finish past the Leicester keeper, his first time effort gliding effortlessly into the bottom corner. 5-2.
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A really exciting game for the neutrals, and obviously a fantastic result for Arsenal – despite some nervy moments. Both teams played excellently, but this was more like the attacking Arsenal we know and love, and when we play like this there aren’t many teams that can stop us.