Arsenal lost their third match in a row in demoralizing fashion as Leicester City beat the Gunners 3-0.
Leicester came to play, and they dominated possession in the opening minutes of the game. Arsenal had a few sporadic chances—Alexandre Lacazette shot wide on a counterattack and Alex Iwobi did the opposite, shooting directly at Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel—but Bernd Leno consistently had more to do than Schmeichel.
Considering Arsenal’s recent results, it’s hard to pin the blame on any one moment of this match, but Ainsley Maitland-Niles’s double-yellow sending off certainly didn’t help the Gunners. His first yellow card was for a challenge on Ben Chilwell just eight minutes into the match, and the second was for stepping on James Maddison’s toes with 36 minutes gone. It was a clumsy bit of play for someone already on a yellow, and it left Arsenal with only ten on the pitch and an hour still to play.
After that, Leicester’s first goal seemed inevitable. The Gunners managed to keep them off the scoresheet for the rest of the half, but with an hour gone, Youri Tielemans made a run, got onto the end of a Maddison cross, and headed the ball home. Arsenal’s back line was slow to react, and the play froze Leno in his tracks.
Iwobi’s shot at Schmeichel, as it turned out, would be Arsenal’s only shot on target, and the game unraveled further from there. The Gunners could perhaps have gotten a penalty after Lucas Torreira went down in Leicester’s box with twenty minutes to go, but one goal wouldn’t have been enough today. Leno was actually having a decent day at that point—he would stop nine shots on target over the course of the match.
Leicester’s remaining two goals both came in the final five minutes of the match, both from Jamie Vardy. In the 86th minute, Schmeichel hit a missile of a goal kick that made it almost all the way to Arsenal’s box. Vardy collected it, drawing Leno off of the goal line, and bounced his chip shot off the bar before scoring on the rebound.
The third was a bit more straightforward, with Ricardo Pereira outmaneuvering an exhausted Arsenal defense in stoppage time and Vardy slotting home in front of a wide open net.
We’ve been saying this for three matches now, but Arsenal need to forget this one and get themselves sorted out, and quickly—they play Valencia in the Europa League semifinals this Thursday, and if the Gunners don’t change something soon, it could get ugly.