Arsenal vs Leicester City - 4 Things that we learnt from the game
Arsenal continued their fine form and picked up their 7th straight Premier League win as they dispatched former champions Leicester City, at home. The Gunners started the game slow and conceded the first goal thanks to some fine play on the wing by England international, Ben Chilwell.
However, at half-time, captain Mezut Ozil combined beautifully with Hector Bellerin and put Arsenal on the scoreboard with a smooth finish, gently caressing the ball past Kasper Schmeichel.
In the second half, Arsenal dominated the game, rarely losing the ball and playing some lovely attacking football. The North London outfit took a much deserved lead when substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tapped in Bellerin's low cross in the 63rd minute. The game was put to bed 3 minutes later when Aubameyang scored again, thanks to one of the moves of the season, spearheaded by Mezut Ozil.
The game finished 3-1, although it could've easily been more, had several decisions gone Leicester's way and had Lacazette found his goal-scoring form. All in all, the game made for a great watch from a neutral perspective and highlighted the abundance of quality in the Premier League.
Here are 4 key talking points from the game.
#1 Unai Emery Masterclass
Arsenal manager, Unai Emery once again showed his tactical and strategic knowledge of the game as he outclassed his counterpart Claude Puel. Firstly, it was pretty evident from the beginning that Leicester's left-back, Ben Chilwell would pose a threat to Arsenal's defence, making darting runs on the flank and easily outpacing Mkhitaryan, the man assigned to suppress him.
Mkhitaryan, not known for his defensive capabilities, found it hard to mark him and barely managed to keep the ball off Chilwell's feet. Emery spotted this mismatch and immediately switched Iwobi to the right. Once this change took place, Chilwell was more or less subdued for the rest of the game and could not find his way past the Nigerian as easily as he could the Armenian.
Secondly, Emery's substitutes, particularly Aubameyang and Guendouzi, had an immediate impact on the game. Aubameyang grabbed 2 quickfire goals to give Arsenal the lead and Guendouzi calmed things down in the midfield, winning tackles and making key passes.
#2 Holding Penalty Decision
There was a controversial moment early in the first half when Arsenal centre-back Rob Holding appeared to handle the ball in the penalty area from a Maddison cross and subsequent Maguire header. The handball was pretty blatant and Leicester should've been awarded a penalty.
To make matter worse for Puel's side, Holding was already on a yellow card. Had Chris Kavanagh decided to award the spot-kick, Holding would've definitely seen red and the Gunners would've been down to 10 men for the majority of the game.
It was evident that Claude Puel and Jamie Vardy were both irked by the decision and rightly so. Just another reason to introduce VAR to the Premier League.
#3 Ozil masterclass: Perhaps the biggest talking point of the game was former Germany international, Mezut Ozil's Man of the Match performance. After a disappointing 2017/18 season and an abysmal World Cup, Ozil's confidence couldn't possibly take more beating.
This season, however, under a new manager, Ozil has shown glimpses of his former self, scoring goals here and there for Arsenal. Yesterday, wearing the captain's armband, Ozil was a man renewed.
The German absolutely owned the midfield and came up with two key passes that both led to goals, with the assist to Aubameyang for the third, absolutely taking the cake. His equalizer was no less, as he perfectly slotted the ball into the left corner, leaving Schmeichel no chance.
#4 Leicester City not clinical enough:
In the first 30 minutes of the game, Leicester City played some sublime football and could've easily been 2 or 3 goals up, had they taken the chances presented to them. Kelechi Iheanacho got the first shot of the game with a curling left-foot effort that was easily stopped by Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno.
Harry Maguire too was presented with a golden opportunity, when Madisson sent in a beautifully crafted freekick to the far post. The big defender left completely unmarked, nodded the ball hard and low to Leno's left, but the German shot-stopper managed to get a hand to it and sent the ball for a corner.
There were quite a few other chances and half-chances that the away side should've capitalized on, because once they scored the opening goal, Arsenal looked like a different beast, and the Gunners eventually made the men in blue pay for the squandered chances.