Leicester City 1-3 Arsenal - Match Review and 5 key takeaways
Arsenal faced Leicester City at the King Power Stadium 3 days after their narrow victory against Benfica in Athens. Fans were doubting Arteta's lineup as he had made 6 changes from the side who won in Greece. Upon seeing the lineup, some experienced the flashback of the defeat we took at the hands of Southampton in the FA Cup back in January. Arteta put himself in the firing line by starting the likes of Willian and Elneny - it was up to them to perform well and change the perception of fans. First Half: Leicester 1-2 Arsenal:Arsenal kicked things off with yet another slow start which has started to become a theme this season. Xhaka and Willian made a mistake during the build-up, gifting Leicester City the opener after just 6 minutes, with Youri Tielemans getting himself on the scoresheet.Unlike recent games, Arsenal ignored the mistakes we made and kept on fighting in the game, with Pepe and Willian being at the heart of it. They drove the ball forward nicely and drew fouls from the Leicester players.From one of these fouls came the equalizer, as Luiz scored from a great header after a lovely set-piece training routine move. Unfortunately, before the restart, Emile Smith Rowe went down with a muscular injury that forced him to come off for Martin Odegaard. Just before the halftime break, Pepe kicked the ball against Ndidi's arm which VAR had a look at and decided to give a penalty, which Lacazette cooly slotted home.Second Half: Leicester 1-3 Arsenal:Arsenal went into the second half ahead with a 1 goal cushion. We cruised through the second half after grabbing a third - a wonderful counterattack goal that ended with Pepe having a simple tap in which was assisted by Willian. This resulted in a 2 goal cushion which we sat on for the remainder of the game. As a result, we secured our second away win against a so-called 'big 6' club this season. 5 things I noticed:1. The players finally proved Arteta right: Previously, Arteta had been slandered for 'throwing away the FA cup' when he selected a rotated line-up against Southampton - a game we lost 1-0 due to a Gabriel own goal. Arteta was later proven to be right to rotate as we beat them in the league after a few days, with Southampton having 4 first-team players injured before that game and 1 during the match because they didn't rotate their squad. Similarly, against Leicester, Arteta made 6 changes from Europa League game compared to Brendon's 4. However, this time the players turned up and proved Mikel right.2. Willian is a confidence player: When Willian made an appearance against Benfica with 30 minutes to go, he put in a good shift, arguably changing the game with his assist for Tierney's goal just 4 minutes after he came on. This clearly gave Willian a confidence boost. Knowing fully well that he has the ability to change the fans' perspective of him, he once again showcased his quality against Leicester, assisting 2 goals and getting a 91.1% pass completion rate. 3. Cedric vs Bellerin: In my opinion, Bellerin hasn't deserved the recent abuse he has received. Despite his poor performances, he's still the current club's longest-serving player and deserves respect. However, Cedric's performance against Leicester can't be looked over - he was so much more agile than Bellerin has been in recent weeks. Hector has got a lot to do in order to regain his place in this Arsenal team.poll Inserted4. Nicolas Pepe has arrived: Pepe had one of his best games in an Arsenal shirt creating 2 goal-scoring actions (the most in the game alongside Willian) and drawing in 5 fouls (the most in the game). Hopefully, Pepe can finally knock on now and keep these performances up and improve with his decision making. For example, there was a moment in the second half towards the end where Pepe could have passed to Odegaard that might have led to a shot on goal but instead, he tried taking it round the center-back and ended up losing the ball. Advert Inserted5. Granit Xhaka deserves respect: Xhaka has yet again been influential in all we do, consistently playing 2,554 minutes in all competitions for Arsenal with only Bernd Leno playing more. Despite his error in the build-up to Leicester's goal, Xhaka had a very good game, securing a 90% pass completion rate. Please feel free to share your opinions below! Drop me a follow on Twitter: @_SpencerGeorge :)Thanks for reading, Spencer.
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