Premier League: Vardy scores as Arsenal slump to defeat against Leicester

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Vardy has scored more goals against Arsenal than he has any other Premier League team

Arsenal played Leicester at the Emirates in today’s late fixture. In the end, it was Leicester who emerged victorious as Arsenal failed to capitalize on their earlier chances.

Arsenal were at an advantage before the match had even kicked off. Leicester’s talisman striker Jamie Vardy was only named on the bench due to fitness concerns. They failed to make the advantage count, though, as Vardy came on as a substitute to haunt them. Out of all the clubs Vardy has faced in the Premier League, he’s netted the most goals against Arsenal. In total, he’s scored 11 times in just 12 games against them after his goal tonight.

In terms of Arsenal team news, Thomas Partey received his first Premier League start tonight. He played well midweek against Rapid Wein but failed to get involved in the match today and had very few touches compared to others. Thomas Partey had faced Leicester prior to the match, appearing as a sub against them in the 2016/17 Champions League season – a match which Leicester would go on to lose.

The first opportunity of the match didn’t take long to come by. James Maddison attempted a lob from distance just 1 minute in as Leno swept up from outside his box before reaching Maddison’s feet. Unfortunately for him though, his shot narrowly missed the target. It would have been one of the goals of the season if it had gone in.

In the 3rd minute, Arsenal had the ball in the net and celebrations began. They wouldn’t last long as VAR then disallowed the goal. They adjudged that an offside Arsenal player had touched the ball on the way into the net, deeming the goal void.

10 minutes in and David Luiz produced a brilliant through ball in behind the Leicester defence which Hector Bellerin ran onto. Johnny Evans did well though, the Northern Irishman closed down the space quickly and produced a superb block to alleviate the goalkeeper’s worries.

A series of half chances for Arsenal followed until the 28th minute. Another exceptional crossfield ball by David Luiz went over the head of the Leicester defender before landing at the feet of Kieran Tierney. Tierney then took the ball inside the box before whipping a cross across the six-yard box. Alexandre Lacazette was there but it skimmed off him as he failed to connect properly, and went wide of the net.

32 minutes in and there was a bad challenge from Christian Fuchs on Alexandre Lacazette. Just a booking though, nothing more severe. Although, it could have easily been a red on another day. Fuchs can count himself lucky.

Other than that, Arsenal had a couple more half chances in a first half which they largely dominated. Leicester failed to get going as Arsenal controlled the vast majority of possession and squandered Leicester attacking moves. Brendan Rodgers would not have been happy with his team’s first half display.

David Luiz was forced off with injury just 3 minutes into the second half and replaced by Shkodran Mustafi. This would have disappointed Arsenal fans as he was the unlikely creative outlet for Arsenal during the first half.

Maddison once again attempted an extravagant shot in the 53rd minute. This time, he shot from within his own half. Leno was comfortable though as he gathered easily. Just moments later, Maddison had another opportunity from just outside the box, his shot was blocked and went out for a corner. He took the resulting corner, but it was cleared on the first attempt by Arsenal before Lacazette gave away a free kick from outside the box. Maddison was the taker again but his shot sailed over the bar. After a quiet first half, Maddison was getting more and more involved in the second.

The moment many Leicester fans would have been waiting for occurred in the 59th minute as Jamie Vardy came on to replace Dennis Praet. Leicester would have to increase their creative output if Vardy was to have any chance of scoring though. They relied on half chances up to his substitution and failed to get a shot on target.

Hector Bellerin, who was already on a yellow card, mistimed his challenge on James Justin completely in the 60th minute. Like Fuchs, he could count himself lucky to still be on the pitch.

Arsenal made their second change of the game in the 64th minute as Nicolas Pepe replaced Bukayo Saka. Saka picked up a knock earlier in the half so that was likely a factor in his substitution.

67 minutes in and Arsenal fashioned their first opportunity of the second half. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang drove to the byline before crossing to Bellerin who connected on the volley but his shot was straight at Kasper Schmeichel. A wasted opportunity.

Leicester made their 2nd substitution of the night as Harvey Barnes was taken off for new signing Cengiz Under in the 74th minute. Barnes had failed to make impact on the match so it was only a matter of time before he was subbed, really.

Although Arsenal had controlled much of the match, Leicester broke on 79 minutes and completely exposed the Arsenal backline. Two subs were involved as Under crossed into the path of who else but Jamie Vardy, who scored his 11th goal against Arsenal. It wasn’t the hardest finish of his career as he headed into an open net, but he’ll take it nonetheless.

Just after the goal, Tierney came off as he was replaced by Eddie Nketiah. Tierney was arguably Arsenal’s best player, but his dangerous crosses failed to lead to a goal. Arsenal had to chase the game after the goal so that’s likely one of the reasons as to why Tierney was taken off for a striker.

Leicester’s 3rd and final substitution came in the 84th minute as James Maddison was replaced by Marc Albrighton, who played a key role in their Premier League winning campaign.

There was 5 minutes of extra time but Arsenal failed to take advantage as Leicester held onto the win.

Arsenal XI: Leno; Bellerin, Luiz (Mustafi 48′), Gabriel, Tierney (Nketiah 80′); Ceballos, Xhaka, Partey, Saka (Pepe 64′), Lacazette, Aubameyang

Leicester XI: Schmeichel; Fofana, Evans, Fuchs, Castagne; Mendy, Praet (Vardy 59′), Justin, Tielemans, Barnes (Under 74′), Maddison (Albrighton 84′)

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