Arsenal have moved back into the top 4 of the Premier League after a nervous 2-1 victory. Arsenal, who never reached the performance level of their last home performance, won despite an utterly dreadful refereeing performance by Mike Jones and two injuries suffered by their more important players, Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sánchez.
Arsenal made three changes to the lineup, with Tomas Rosicky coming in for Aaron Ramsey, Alexis coming in for Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott replacing Danny Welbeck. Leicester lined up with a back three, with Mahrez given a free role. Their wing backs, especially Paul Konchesky, were very dangerous, with Konchesky creating a chance for Mahrez, who's shot went through the legs of David Ospina, but trickled wide of the Arsenal goal. A deflected effort from Mahrez also caused heart palpitations.
Mesut Özil came onto the ball, though, and Arsenal began to look dangerous. The German threaded a superb ball through for Theo Walcott, but a combination of Matty Upson and Mark Schwarez denied him. Özil then played a neat one-two with Alexis, cut onto his left foot and stabbed an effort towards goal, with Schwarzer parrying behind goal. From the ensuing corner, Özil's delivery found a free Laurent Koscielny, who sidefooted to give Arsenal a 1-0 lead.
Minutes later, there was more concern for Arsenal. After winning the ball back, Alexis was taken out by Upson, and looked to sustain a knee injury. He never totally looked completely fit afterwards, and laboured 30 minutes before being replaced in the 67th minute.
Arsenal went into halftime with a 2-0 lead: Özil's shot from range was saved by Mark Schwarer, but in David Ospina fashion, the parry was in front of goal, going straight to Theo Walcott, who finished with aplomb. Shortly after, Theo Walcott went through, but tried to cross to Özil instead of going for goal, with his cutback easily defended.
Leicester were never out of sight, though, and started the second half brightly. When they scored, it had been coming: Francis Coquelin couldn't clear, and Andrej Kramaric beat Ospina at his near post. Kramaric could've equalised shortly after: sent through after an Arsenal counter, he evaded Coquelin's senseless challenge but attempted to chip Ospina, but completely fluffed his lines.
Arsenal were on the ropes, and matters were made worse when the substitute Aaron Ramsey was forced off with injury. Matheiu Flamini come on as a sub, and tried a 25 yard potshot.
Mike Jones didn't help matters, failing to call a blatant foul on Özil, and then calling Olivier Giroud for a handball and then booking him for blocking a punt from Schwarzer for an unknown reason; the block hit Giroud on the back and he was outside of the penalty box.
(pdb edit) Back before the game started, I thought this song would be appropriate if Arsenal won:
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But after watching it unfold, this song seemed more apropos:
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