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Leicester 3-1 Arsenal : Another Loss On The Road; Still Zero 2018 Away Points

When this season is looked back upon in years to come, it will be immediately obvious as to where things went wrong. With 1 game remaining, Arsenal have still not registered an away point in the league in 2018 – it’s May and not so much as a draw.The latest in the slew of poor results on-the-road came at the King Power Stadium on Wednesday night where Claude Puel’s men finished up 3-1 winners with young defender Konstantinos Mavropanas seeing red within a quarter of an hour for Arsenal.The game was in sharp contrast to the Burnley win at the Emirates last weekend. In that game, Arsenal played exactly as they should be playing, showcasing everything Arsene Wenger has stood for during his time in charge - fast-paced, attacking football with a clinical edge. The game against the Foxes couldn’t have been much different.The manager chose to play a very strong team; a 4-3-3 formation with many of the big names on the team sheet starting such as Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Petr Cech and Aaron Ramsey.Even with this strong line-up, it wasn’t to be. As is common knowledge to every opposition, Arsenal have been shocking away from home this campaign. Goals have been the biggest issue – only 1.1 on average in away matches – but the circumstances of the early stages of the fixture did not help Arsenal’s plight in this case.The goal that put the Gunners on the backfoot came early. It came about initially from a corner that resulted in some threatening crosses into the away penalty area. It was Fousseni Diabate who assisted, nodding the ball down to Kelechi Iheanacho, who made no mistake. The young forward has had a stop-start season, but this was an intuitive strikers goal. One goal down, and there was worse to come…Young Greek defender Mavropanos got off to a perhaps unexpected start in an Arsenal shirt when he began the game against Manchester United the weekend before last. While that game was lost, he came out of it positively, especially considering what a difficult place to get a debut Old Trafford can be.He completed another solid game against Burnley and helped keep a clean sheet, but his 3rd game in an Arsenal shirt is one he will want to forget very quickly.Iheanacho charged down Mavropanos’s attempted clearance, which lead to him dragging down the first goal scorer. The referee had a clear view of the incident, and did not deliberate long before giving him his marching orders. It was a fairly clear red, and it meant Arsenal were going to be playing not just with a goal deficit but also only 10 men for the remaining 75 minutes.That did not slow the intensity of the match, however, which seen both teams playing effectively freed from the shackles of pressure that had held them throughout the season. For the Gunners, 6th place is secured, good or bad, so they played with nothing to lose. Leicester did the same, so it made for an interesting watch, despite the lack of reward on offer.Shkrodan Mustafi was introduced in place of Danny Welbeck to fill the vacancy in the defence, and Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang both had efforts on goal to bring their side back into things.For the home side, Iheanacho was playing with confidence, and Mahrez forced a fine save from Cech. Half-time arrived and it looked like there were goals yet to come.At the opening of the second half Wenger’s side showed more promise. It wasn’t long before the scores were levelled through Aubameyang.The Gabonese forward continued his excellent goal scoring form since making the move to England – now 9 goals in 12 matches – after he pronged a shot a Eldin Jakupovic, who parried it back into his path to make for an easy finish.Now, at 1-1, perhaps there was the chance of snatching a winner; or even just holding onto a draw to finally get an elusive point. It wasn’t to be.With 75 minutes on the clock and the game still in the balance, Puel’s side made the breakthrough. Demarai Gray – who had just come on as a sub for Diabate – made his way by Ainsley Maitland-Niles, and in an effort to salvage the situation, Mkhitayan took him down. Penalty to Leicester City, and another fair call by the ref.Jamie Vardy – a man who 2 years ago nearly became an Arsenal player – was the man who stepped up and got the goal. The English striker has a soft spot for scoring against the Gunners – Wednesday’s goal was his 6th in 6 matches.There’s not many forwards in the league who are better at finishing then Vardy, and he made no mistake form the spot. Cech in the Arsenal goal was sent the wrong way and he registered his 18th goal of the season. 2-1.The final nail was put into the Arsenal coffin by Riyad Mahrez in the 90th minute, whose dizzying footwork turned Rob Holding inside out and finished well to make the scoreline look quite flattering for the Foxes.The full-time whistle went and the game ended 3-1. Another disappointing result for Arsenal, but one that was expected after the opening stages of the game.With only one game remaining in charge, Wenger still defends his men, saying after the game: “It’s a frustration [the result] because I believe we played a great game with 10 against 11 we have shown our quality in our game and spirit”.That final game comes on Sunday at the Kirklees Stadium against Huddersfield Town. The Terriers recorded a 1-1 draw against Chelsea last night to secure their Premier League status, and will be in buoyant form going into the final match of their league season. Can Wenger win his final match and earn some away league points in 2018? We’ll find out Sunday afternoon.