MATCH REPORT: Arsenal 3-1 Leicester City

Arsenal have made it ten wins on the spin with a 3-1 victory at home to Leicester City for the Premier League, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang jumped off the bench to bag a brace and push his team back into the top four.

The North Londoners started on the back foot, with Leicester taking the lead through Héctor Bellerín’s own goal before Mesut Özil could claw back an equaliser just before half-time.

Aubameyang was then unleashed on the Foxes in the second period, crowning two wonderfully-crafted moves with a couple of goals to seal a 3-1 win.

In Arsenal’s return to Premier League action, Unai Emery opted against fielding the club’s record signing Aubameyang, as Alexandre Lacazette led the attack with Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan flanking.

Leicester’s Kelechi Iheanacho claimed the first two opportunities within the first five minutes of the game, calling Bernd Leno into action on his second attempt at goal with a curling effort.

With Arsenal struggling to settle, the Foxes had another go at Leno’s goal, as the German positioned himself well to deny Harry Maguire’s back-post header in the 19th minute.

Claude Puel’s men required a slice of luck to eventually break the deadlock on the half-hour mark, with Héctor Bellerín’s block from Ben Chilwell’s cross betraying Leno and trickling into the back of the net.

Arsenal replied moments later through Granit Xhaka’s free-kick, but Kasper Schmeichel kept his focus to tip the Swiss international’s effort over for a corner.

The Gunners continued to raise the bar towards the end of the first period, with Özil rewarding his team with a cool first-time finish from Bellerín’s cross to level the game on the brink of half-time.

Picking up where they left off, Mkhitaryan neared Arsenal’s second in the 50th minute with an acrobatic effort floating wide, as Emery’s side began to pile on the pressure.

Wilfred Ndidi threatened to pull the score back the other way with a header crashing against the bar on the hour mark, but, with Aubameyang already on the pitch, Arsenal were able to ease the mood a little when Özil placed Bellerín in a prime position to cut back, gifting the ex-Borussia Dortmund man with an assist for an easy finish.

The Gunners bettered their previous effort just three minutes later to go 3-1 up, as Özil latched onto Lacazette’s weighted pass into the box to feed Aubameyang for another casual tap-in in the 66th minute.

Lacazette scuppered his chance to get his name on the scoresheet in 78th minute, having gotten on the end of Özil’s cut-back with the goal at his mercy, but the Frenchman instead found a way to place the ball within Schmeichel’s grasp.

The ex-Olympique Lyonnaise striker added to his frustrating night with a shot over the bar from Iwobi’s pick-out in the 83rd minute, as the Gunners cruised through the latter stages of the affair.

Arsenal wouldn’t need a fourth, however, with the game at the Emirates Stadium concluding itself at 3-1.

By Patrick Ribeiro (@P_SRibeiro)

Player Ratings: Bernd Leno (8) – Héctor Bellerín (8), Shkodran Mustafi (7), Rob Holding (6), Stephan Lichtsteiner (5) – Lucas Torreira (7), Granit Xhaka (6) – Henrikh Mkhitaryan (5), Mesut Özil (9), Alex Iwobi (7) – Alexandre Lacazette (6)

Subs: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (7), Matteo Guendouzi (6), Aaron Ramsey (-)

MATCH REPORT: Leicester City 3-1 Arsenal

Ten-man Arsenal were defeated once more on the road, as a second-half Jamie Vardy penalty and a late Riyad Mahrez finish gave Leicester City all-three points in a 3-1 win for the Premier League.

The visitors were left with an uphill battle early on, as Kelechi Iheanacho opened the scoring in the 14th minute before nabbing a red card out of Konstantinos Mavropanos a minute later.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang then equalised for the Gunners early in the second period, but a Vardy’s strike from the spot and Mahrez’s cool finish late on prolonged Arsenal’s dismal away from come full-time.

The Gunners maintained a strong XI for the trip to the King Power Stadium, surprising only with the starts handed to Danny Welbeck, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Rob Holding.

Arsène Wenger’s men looked to carry on from their fine display at home to Burnley with a positive start versus the Foxes, as Alex Iwobi forced Eldin Jakupovic into action in the 7th minute with a curling effort pushed wide.
Leicester offered a fierce reply, initiated by Vardy’s strike in the 13th minute before Iheanacho was able to place the hosts ahead, as he drilled in Fousseni Diabate’s knock-down on the half-volley.
Matters complicated themselves further for Arsenal following the restart, with Iheanacho again in the thick of things when bettering Mavropanos to race through on goal, leaving the Greek defender resigned to bringing the ex-Manchester City attacker down and receiving a red-carded.
Leicester continued to knock on the visitors’ door, with Arsenal requiring Petr Čech to deny a couple of attempts from Harry Maguire and Iheanacho, as the game reached the half-hour mark.
In Arsenal’s best move of the half, Henrikh Mkhitaryan neared an equaliser in the 34th minute when seeing his strike from inside the box being pushed just wide of the target.
From the subsequent corner, his ex-Borussia Dortmund teammate, Aubameyang, also came close to biting back for the north Londoners with a toe-poke deflected away from goal, as the two sides departed the half to a 1-0 score line.
It was Arsenal again who started brightest in the second half via Sead Kolasinac’s wicked volley from inside the box, with the Bosnian hitting the face of the post before Leicester could clear their lines.
Good work from Vardy gifted Diabate the time and space to hurt Arsenal on the counter-attack in the 47th minute, but Shkodran Mustafi remained alert by covering Čech and stopping the Ligue 2 import’s strike on the line.
The visitors were soon handed their just reward for attacking with intent, as Maitland-Niles escaped his man down the byline to feed Aubameyang inside the box, who’d thump home the equaliser at the second time of asking.
Vardy stepped up to undo all of Arsenal’s good work in the 75th minute, however, as Mkhitaryan arrived late in his challenge on Demarai Gray inside the box to gift Leicester a penalty.
The English striker made no mistake up against Čech from the 12-yard-mark, propelling the Foxes back in front with his well-hit penalty.
Mahrez made it 3-1 in the 88th minute, utilising his composure to manoeuvre around Rob Holding and Čech before burying his finish, as Arsenal returned to north London with yet another away defeat.
By Patrick Ribeiro
(@P_SRibeiro)
Player Ratings: Petr Čech (7) – Ainsley Maitland-Niles (7), Rob Holding (5), Konstantinos Mavropanos (4), Sead Kolasinac (6) – Aaron Ramsey (6), Granit Xhaka (7) – Henrikh Mkhitaryan (7), Alex Iwobi (6), Danny Welbeck (4) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (7)
Subs: Shkodran Mustafi (5), Eddie Nketiah (-)

ARSENAL BID €41M FOR MAHREZ

Arsenal have made an offer worth €41 million for Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez, L’Equipe claims, as the winger prepares to force his way out of the club.

Sky Sports News, via their sources, earlier denied an offer of £30 million being made by Arsenal, thus far the only recognised offer for Mahrez to be reported in France of late.

However, L’Equipe have now placed Mahrez back on Arsenal’s radar in today’s edition of their publication, claiming that the Gunners have launched a fresh bid in the region of €41 million (£35.2 million) in hope of landing the 25-year-old.

Initial information suggests Leicester, most recently linked with a £23 million move for Santos forward Gabriel Barbosa, feel they have little time left in the transfer market to sign an eventual replacement, hence their refusal.

Mahrez, who’s so far rejected a new deal to keep him at the King Power Stadium, is believed to have been very accepting of those circumstances in a meeting with Leicester’s director of football, Jon Rudkin, but the winger’s mood is now rumoured to have changed.

L’Equipe believe Mahrez is willing to clash with the Foxes in order to join a team of Arsenal’s stature, whereas RMC Sport journalist Mohamed Bouhafsi has echoed reports on the Leicester man’s wishes to move to a bigger club.