GUN POWDER REVIEW: SLICE OF LUCK SEE GUNNERS BAG 3 POINTS VS LEICESTER
Last night Arsenal didnt look anywhere near their Best. The whole stuff about the new 3-4-3 formation is probably still being mastererd and when you factor in that energy sapping and emotionally draining FA cup semi finals last Sunday, you may not need to look very far to understand the reason why we looked so flat for the most part last night at the Emirates.
But on the upside, you can say Arsenal’s annual charge for the top four is finally underway, although for 86 minutes of this tedious affair, played out in the lifeless atmosphere of a sparsely populated Emirates Stadium, it certainly didn’t feel that way.
Arsene Wenger had already abandoned his new back-three system at that point and bright ideas were in short supply by the time Nacho Monreal smashed a hopeful cross-shot into a crowded penalty area.
Robert Huth, otherwise outstanding at the back for Leicester, lowered his chest into the flight path and deflected an own goal inside the post. Arsenal got lucky, Huth got angry and Wenger roared with delight as his team climbed above Everton into sixth place.
Arsenal (3-4-3): Cech 6.5; Gabriel 5, Koscielny 6.5, Monreal 6; Bellerin 7, Coquelin 5 (Ramsey 75min), Xhaka 5, Gibbs 5 (Welbeck 68, 5); Walcott 5 (Giroud 75, 5), Sanchez 5.5, Ozil 5.
Subs: Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi, Martinez, Elneny.
Goal: Huth og 86
Yellow cards: Xhaka, Sanchez
Leicester (4-4-2): Schmeichel 6; Simpson 6, Benalouane 6 (Gray 90), Huth 6.5, Fuchs 6; Mahrez 5, Drinkwater 6, Ndidi 6.5, Albrighton 6; Ulloa 6 (Okazaki 69, 5), Vardy 5.
Subs: Chilwell, Musa, King, Amartey, Zieler
Yellow cards: Benalouane, Fuchs, Simpson, Huth
They are within four points of Manchester City in fourth, with a North London derby at Tottenham next on the agenda.
‘We have one advantage and that is the advantage of clarity,’ said Wenger who has never failed to finish in the top four in 20 years at the club. ‘We have to win our games.’
Four minutes of normal time remained when Huth unwittingly opened the scoring and triggered a chaotic finish.
Alexis Sanchez was shown a yellow card for jumping in front of Christian Fuchs as he tried to deliver one of his long throw-ins into the penalty box.
After two aborted attempts, Fuchs lost his patience and hurled the ball at Sanchez, striking him on the shoulder. After a pregnant pause, the Chilean hit the deck and began rolling around clutching his face
Not his finest moment the chilean but again it was probably symptomatic of his frustration about how the evening was going.
The frantic closing sequence was in complete contrast to the rest of the evening with the home team devoid of any creative spark.
‘We lacked change of pace and penetration, you could see we had heavy legs,’ said Wenger. ‘Maybe we lacked speed. In the end, the win rewards the team who took the initiative.
‘We are happy. We knew three points would be difficult. We played 120 minutes on Sunday afternoon and Leicester didn’t play at all. We knew we had a little handicap on that front.
Leicester may have been well rested and confident after five wins from their previous seven games but they came to defend and counter-attack.
Craig Shakespeare’s plan started well and it might have been different had Jamie Vardy not slammed the first chance of the night into the side-netting.
Petr Cech kept Leicester at bay with one terrific reflex save in the first half, forcing over a sweet volley by Riyad Mahrez.
So it was far from pretty, very scrappy infact and if you paid money at the viewing centre to watch that well i feel bad for you. But 3 points at this stage of the season is the Holy grail for us, and is what counts more than anything else. Its on to Tottenham next on sunday and what a game that promises to be. One fighting for the Title and the other Top 4 both need maximum points ..it will be bloody. catch you then