Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Arsenal 2-0 Leicester: Key Talking Points As Mikel Arteta’s Men Breeze Past The Foxes In North London

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, English Premier League 14 Mar 2022

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Watching the likes of Manchester United, West Ham and Wolves all pick up maximum points, Arsenal managed to follow suit as they breezed their way to what was a routine 2-0 victory against Leicester on Sunday afternoon.

Asked hardly any questions at the Emirates, the Gunners also skyrocketed their way back into the Champions League spots thanks to goals from Thomas Partey and Alexandre Lacazette on either side of the break.

Extending on what has become a real Premier League purple patch, Mikel Arteta’s side also piled more pressure onto a Leicester squad who find themselves enduring a public top-flight struggle this season.

In a showdown that was largely one-way traffic in north London, we have taken a look at the main talking points.

An easy afternoon for the Gunners

While many in the top-four chase might have expected Arsenal to pick up maximum points here, few would have thought just how easy it would have been for Mikel Arteta’s men to make it five Premier League wins on the bounce.

Pouncing on Leicester’s glaring struggles from set-pieces and watching Partey open the scoring after just 11 minutes thanks to a glanced header from Gabriel Martinelli’s corner, the Gunners largely didn’t have to get out of second gear.

With playmaker Martin Odegaard putting in a real Man of the Match display on Sunday afternoon and running the show from his number 10 role, Lacazette’s second-half penalty wrapped up a convincing home victory for the Champions League chasers.

Eventually leaving the Emirates with 21 attempts on Kasper Schmeichel’s goal, fans around the red half of north London would have also been glad to see England international Emile Smith-Rowe make his return with a 12-minute cameo in the final stages.

With Arteta pilling on the praise for his young squad following Sunday’s 2-0 win on home soil, Arsenal really couldn’t have wished for a more routine afternoon’s work in the capital.

The toothless Foxes

Managing to pick up a 2-0 first-leg victory against French outfit Rennes in their Europa Conference League opener on Thursday, it appeared that Brendan Rodgers’ side had managed to find somewhat of a March boost.

However, despite claiming back-to-back Premier League wins against relegation scrappers Burnley and Leeds earlier in the month, the one-time Liverpool boss saw his side come crashing back down to earth here.

Announcing earlier in the week that he was frustrated to once again be without attacking talisman Jamie Vardy on Sunday afternoon, Rodgers’ side failed to gain any real sustained foothold in proceedings.

With both Kelechi Iheanacho and second-half sub Patson Daka struggling to offer any real threat to either Ben White or Gabriel, fans around the King Power will know that their side face a huge task if they’re to clinch another European finish this season.

While Harvey Barnes’ glanced header might have forced Aaron Ramsdale into a smart save during the first-half, Leicester will know that they didn’t deserve to leave the Emirates with anything to show on Sunday.

Still battling it out in the bottom-half of the table, their 2-0 loss here means that the Foxes have recorded just a pair of Premier League wins since opening 2022.

Arsenal – The Champions League favourites?

While Arsenal might have opened the 2021/22 campaign in the midst of a Premier League nightmare, the Gunners have certainly gained plenty of plaudits for the way that they have rallied back.

Storming their way to a five-match top-flight winning run and with the mood around the Emirates at a real high, it is no secret that Pep Guardiola’s former right-hand man is desperate to guide his young squad to a Champions League return this year.

Already 14 points better off than they were at this stage last season, Sunday’s hosts should now be feeling like they’re sat in pole position to book their first top-four finish since 2016.

Breezing their way past the Foxes here, Arteta’s side end the weekend holding a one-point buffer over the chasing pack and with three games in hand over Manchester United, West Ham and Wolves.

Unable to book any kind of European finish last season in what many around north London billed as a woeful campaign at the Emirates, Arsenal will be desperate to keep up their recent momentum over the final stages.

Ahead of a hectic schedule, the Gunners will be next seen in midweek when they welcome fellow English heavyweights Liverpool to the capital on Wednesday night.

Match Report:

Arsenal: Ramsdale, Soares, White, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Xhaka, Martinelli, Odegaard, Saka, Lacazette

Subs: Pepe, Smith-Rowe, Nketiah

Leicester: Schmeichel, Pereira, Amartey, Soyuncu, Thomas, Mendy, Dewsbury-Hall, Barnes, Maddison, Albrighton, Iheanacho

Subs: Daka, Justin, Ndidi

Goals: Partey 11′, Lacazette pen 59′

Yellow Cards: Ihenacho, Soyuncu, Daka

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Anthony Taylor

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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