On a hugely important Super Sunday, Arsenal’s late 2-1 victory over Leicester City at the Emirates moved them to within two points of the league leaders and very much back in the hunt for the Premier League title.
It certainly wasn’t plain sailing for the Gunners – although they started off the better, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain having a couple of good early chances. Both sides had opportunities throughout the first half as Leicester’s counter-attacking style troubled the Arsenal backline on more than one occasion, while Gunners striker Olivier Giroud had a goal ruled out for offside.
However, it was Leicester who drew first blood at the end of the first half, with Nacho Monreal controversially fouling Jamie Vardy in the box, much to the consternation of the players. Vardy clinically dispatched the penalty and gave the opposition the half-time lead. The sending off of Foxes defender Danny Simpson in the 54th minute proved pivotal however, with Arsenal given the upper hand with the man advantage.
Despite Leicester’s resolute defending, Theo Walcott came off the bench and equalised in the 77th minute thanks to Olivier Giroud’s assist via a deft cushioned header. Leicester continued to hold on and looked certain to take away a point, until another substitute popped up in the last minute of stoppage time. Danny Welbeck, back in the side after 10 months out, secured all three points in the 95th minute, much to the delight of Arsene Wenger and the majority of the 60,000 crowd.
Wenger was all smiles after the match, and why not! A comeback win against the league leaders, Danny Welbeck”s brilliant return to the side and tactical switches that paid off, all mean Mr.Wenger will enjoy this evening with a team that look to be heading back to top form.
One or two issues still need to be ironed out though, Arsenal’s three shots on target will need to be improved upon in the coming weeks, especially going into an important run that sees games against Man United and Spurs among others.
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Three wins and a draw in the last four games since the defeat to Chelsea will no doubt inspire confidence throughout the side and bookmakers agree, with the Gunners now outright 6/4 favourites to win the title with Paddy Power.
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There will be plenty of drama over the next few months, but with a run-in of fixtures that look far more favourable compared to some of their rivals – Leicester not included unfortunately – and returning players from injury, it could well be the Gunners year, with this result a potential catalyst for a title run.