Toothless Arsenal punished late as Leicester complete smash and grab

Jamie Vardy marked his return from injury with a late match-winning goal as Leicester sunk an under par Arsenal 1-0 at The Emirates.

Arsenal’s defence was nearly breached within 90 seconds after Bernd Leno’s insufficient clearance fell straight to James Maddison.

The England midfielder tried his luck from fully 40 yards, but his effort flew narrowly wide, much to the relief of the hastily retreating German stopper.

Alexandre Lacazette then thought he’d opened the scoring with a deft near-post header following a corner.

The flag was raised for offside, however, with former Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka penalised for obstructing the eyeline of Kasper Schmeichel.

With Leicester operating without a recognised striker and playing with three centre-halves, the game slowly began to settle into a predictable pattern.

Chances came and went for Bukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but The Foxes defence stood firm as they aimed to soak up pressure and hit back on the counter.

In truth, lacking the pace and direct approach of the benched Vardy, Leicester looked toothless when afforded the rare opportunity to venture forward.

Arsenal’s shooting boots remained conspicuously absent with just three of their 11 shots finding the target as the half-time whistle blew on a bland half of football.

See how all the action unfolded via the TEAMtalk score centre.

The second half brought about little in the way of good news for Mikel Arteta’s side, with David Luiz succumbing to injury after barely a minute.

Shkodran Mustafi replaced the Brazilian, but the match settled into the familiar structure, with the introduction of Vardy seeming to be required to spark the contest into life.

The hour mark finally signalled the veteran’s introduction from the bench after recovering from a calf injury.

Hector Bellerin appeared lucky to escape a second yellow card after bringing James Justin down. And by coincedence, it was the Spaniard who came closest to breaking the deadlock moments later.

The right-back ghosted in late to meet Aubameyang’s lofted cutback. His first-time strike was firmly struck, but Schmeichel was perfectly positioned to punch the ball to safety.

As the game appeared destined for a stalemate, Leicester burst into life and took the lead through Vardy.

Youri Tielemans’ delightful through ball set Cengiz Under away before his perfectly weighted square ball allowed Vardy to head home from close range.

The hitman missed a glorious chance to seal the contest with a second in injury time, but the Foxes remained disciplined at the back as time ran out on Arsenal’s subdued efforts to salvage a point.


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