Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Leicester City 0-2 Arsenal: Ramsdale outstanding as Gunners resurgence continues

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 30 Oct 2021

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Arsenal’s impressive resurgence continued with a hard-fought 2-0 Premier League win at Leicester City on Saturday.

Mikel Arteta appeared to be on borrowed time after the 5-0 battering by Manchester City at the end of August, but Arsenal have now not lost in nine games since, and this latest victory moved them up to fifth.

Leicester looked a shadow of the team that had won their previous four matches during the early exchanges, trailing to goals from Gabriel Magalhaes and Emile Smith Rowe inside 18 minutes.

Arsenal had to withstand constant pressure in the second half, though, with goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale having more touches than any of his team-mates but producing a standout performance that meant Leicester could not turn it around.

The visitors enjoyed a lightning start and deservedly led in the fifth minute as Gabriel managed to guide Bukayo Saka’s corner into the top-left corner with the back of his head.

They got a second soon after, Smith Rowe arriving to calmly slot home from the centre of the box when Alexandre Lacazette was crowded out.

Leicester somehow failed to pull one back on the stroke of half-time as Ramsdale tipped James Maddison’s free-kick on to the crossbar and then got enough on Jonny Evans’ follow-up to allow Nuno Tavares to clear off the line.

The introduction of Harvey Barnes and Ademola Lookman helped Leicester after the break but still they failed to find a way past Ramsdale.

Luke Thomas prodded agonisingly wide, Lookman tested Ramsdale from close range, and the keeper made another crucial stop to thwart Barnes when one-on-one soon after. The Leicester winger then sent a glancing header just wide as the hosts ultimately fell short.

What does it mean? Gunners are flying

At the start of September, Arteta appeared to be on the way out. The thrashing by City was bad, but more than that, Arsenal were showing few signs of improvement under the former Etihad Stadium assistant – if anything, they seemed to be going backwards.

But look at Arsenal now. Nine matches unbeaten across all competitions, and there is a lot to like about the Gunners again.

Sure, they were made to work hard here in the end, but the contrast between this Arsenal side and the Manchester United team that conceded four here earlier this month is significant in that Arteta has his team organised, structured and effective.

Ramsdale rules the roost

Arsenal were excellent and clinical in the first half, though it would be fair to say they had to rely on Ramsdale at times after going 2-0 up. The maligned pre-season signing from Sheffield United has been exceptional recently and this was another fine display, his eight saves going some way to explaining why Leicester did not score despite registering 2.0 expected goals.

Vardy ineffective at both ends

While he would likely point the finger at the service to him, Jamie Vardy was rarely a real threat to the Arsenal goal. On a couple of occasions, he spent too long on the ball, while he only had the one attempt – a header that went well wide. He also lost Gabriel for the Arsenal opener.

Key Opta Facts

– Arsenal have won seven of their past nine games in all competitions – drawing the other two. The Gunners are now on their longest unbeaten run since February 2020 (10).
– Excluding sides who were relegated at the end of last season, no Premier League team have lost more home games in the top flight than Leicester since the beginning of 2020-21 (11), the same number as Wolves, Burnley and Everton.
– Only Liverpool (five) have scored more Premier League goals via corners than Arsenal (four) this season, which is already more than the Gunners managed throughout the entire 2020-21 top-flight campaign (three).
– Gabriel’s opener for Arsenal was the 18th set-piece goal Leicester have conceded in the Premier League since the start of last season – excluding penalties, only Crystal Palace (20) have shipped more.
– Of the goalkeepers to have faced more than two shots on target this season, only Edouard Mendy (89.7) is enjoying a higher save percentage than Ramsdale (85.7), who has saved 24 of the 28 shots on target he has faced.

What’s next?

Arsenal host Watford a week on Sunday, when Leicester go to Leeds United. Before that, though, the Foxes welcome Spartak Moscow to the King Power Stadium in the Europa League on Thursday.

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SoccerNews

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