Arsenal v Leicester City
Kick off: Tuesday February 10, 2015 – 19.45 PM BST
We were looking to bounce back after our disappointing result in the North London derby, and it was vital that we got back to winning ways.
We made sure Leicester City left the Emirates with nothing, but we did it the hard way and certainly aren’t back to our best just yet.
We didn’t start off fantastically, and we were giving Leicester far too much time and space on the ball. Riyad Mahrez was looking particularly dangerous, and he threatened to punish us several times in the opening stages of the game.
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The pacey forward twisted and turned to get away from Nacho Monreal, and saw his first shot deflected narrowly wide.
Minutes later he had an even better chance, with the Leicester man given a free run on goal after Hector Bellerin was caught way out of position. The Spaniard’s pace allowed him to recover and put pressure on Mahrez, but he still managed to squeeze the ball through David Ospina’s legs. Thankfully it shot just wide, and thousands of relief filled sighs could be heard around the Emirates.
We finally started to get ourselves going after that, and Theo Walcott had a chance put on a plate for him by Mesut Özil. The speedster got himself into a great position with his run, but his finish was poor. Mark Schwarzer stood tall, and Walcott fired the ball straight into his chest.
Özil was looking bright, and almost grabbed himself a goal. He showed quick feet to weave past a number of players as he drove into the box, but Schwarzer was able to turn his toe poked effort out for a corner.
Our record signing was on hand to take the corner, and put a wicked ball into the box. Laurent Koscielny got away from his marker, and smashed the ball into the bottom corner to make it 1-0.
Alexis Sanchez was the victim of a nasty Matthew Upson challenge, with the former Arsenal man coming in hard to make a block at the edge of the box. Anywhere else on the pitch a challenge with that kind of force would likely be a booking.
The Chilean never looked the same after taking the hit, and arguably should have been removed there and then.
Mahrez threatened to wipe out our lead with a curling effort, but it drifted narrowly over the bar.
Moments later we doubled our lead, and it looked like it should have been clear sailing from there.
Özil was once again the orchestrator, although less intentionally this time. He was given space by Leicester, and chose to shoot from distance.
His venomous shot stung the palms of Schwarzer, who arguably should have done more than just knock it down into the box. Walcott was on hand to pick up the pieces, and he drove a powerful shot across goal giving the shot-stopper no chance. 2-0.
Leicester applied some late pressure, but we held on to end the half with a 2-0 lead.
It was a controversial start to the second half, with Danny Simpson handballing in the area. The ball was admittedly struck from close by, but his hand did appear to move towards the ball.
It wasn’t given, and you have to wonder if Mike Jones was thinking back to the game between Leicester and Liverpool where he awarded Brendan Rodgers’ side two penalties that never should have been for non existent handballs.
Andrej Kramaric was beginning to look threatening, and the first real warning sign came when he cut inside and shot goalwards. It was straight at Ospina thankfully, who made a simple save.
Per Mertesacker made a goal-line clearance to keep Leicester out, heading the ball over the bar. The resulting corner was disastrous however, and some poor defending gifted the visitors a chance.
Esteban Cambiasso looked not only to handle the ball, but to obstruct Francis Coquelin as well. Nothing was given, and the ball was allowed to ricochet around the box momentarily before falling to Kramaric.
Leicester’s record signing drilled it low towards goal, and Ospina could do nothing as it crept in at the post. It had been coming, and we deserved to concede the way we were playing. 2-1.
We were under pressure for the rest of the game, and we looked uninspired and like we didn’t want to be there.
Santi Cazorla saw a fantastic effort saved by Schwarzer, while Mahrez saw another curled effort sail wide down the other end.
Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey were brought on for Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott, with the former Barcelona star not looking his best by a long shot.
The Welshman didn’t last long however, as he was soon withdrawn with an injury; Mathieu Flamini his replacement.
Kramaric should have leveled things up for his side, but opted to go for the chip. Ospina read it well, and stood tall to claim it.
We soaked up some late pressure as Leicester went in search of that all important goal, and five minutes of injury time were plucked from nowhere.
Mike Jones clearly needs an education on the handball rule, as he inexplicably gave Giroud a yellow card when Schwarzer booted the ball into his back.
It was an extremely disappointing game all in all, but the important thing is that we got the win.
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