Vardy hits winner as Leicester outfox Arsenal
Gunners slump to 1-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium as manager Mikel Arteta bemoans disallowed goal
25 October, 2020 — By Steve Barnett
LEICESTER CITY 1 (Vardy 80)
JAMIE Vardy came off the bench to haunt Arsenal once more as Leicester City outfoxed the Gunners to clinch a 1-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium.
Vardy scored his 11th goal in 12 meetings against the north Londoners as the Foxes recorded their first away win at Arsenal since 1973.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta said he was “really disappointed” by the defeat, listing an early Alexandre Lacazette header that was ruled out for offside amongst his frustrations.
“We had it in our hands in the first-half and I don’t know how the hell the goal was disallowed,” he said. “They caught us with space at the back and in that moment we lost the game.
“It is difficult to create spaces with 10-men behind the ball, but we should have finished the game better. When it comes to those moments you can’t give away chances at the back.”
Arteta added: “We were winning every ball, and created a few chances. They defended deeper in the second-half, waiting for the mistake and in one moment they did it.”
That disallowed goal came in the opening four minutes when Dani Ceballos’ corner was flicked on by Lacazette and went in off the far post. But the celebrations were cut short by the offside flag, with Granit Xhaka deemed to be obstructing the goalkeepers view while standing in an offside position.
Before the match all eyes were on Thomas Partey as he made his first Premier League start following his £45m move from Atletico Madrid. And while Partey looked composed and assured in the middle of the park, it was two of his new teammates that caught the eye.
David Luiz and Kieran Tierney seemed to be starring in their own crossing competition, spraying pin-point passes all over the pitch in the opening 45 minutes.
Tierney set-up a golden opportunity for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang midway through the first-half when he escaped the clutches of Timothy Castagne before whipping in a dangerous cross, but the Gunners captain was unable to supply the finish as his rising header sailed off target.
Tierney was dominating down the left, and it was another of his crosses that presented Lacazette with the best chance of the first-half.
But, six-yards out and with the goal at this mercy, the French forward somehow failed to connect with the ball, allowing the thankful Christian Fuchs to put it behind for a corner.
Luiz was also a key figure driving Arsenal forward, so it was a blow to the home side when, just four minutes into the second-half, he was forced off with what appeared to be a thigh strain, and replaced by fit-again Shkodran Mustafi.
As the game wore on the pin-point passing was replaced by more hopeful punts downfield as Arsenal lost their way.
The only real notable chance Arteta’s side created in the second-half came on 68 minutes when, out of nowhere, Aubameyang’s ball from the left found Hector Bellerin. The right-back hit a sweet first time shot, but it was straight at Kasper Schmeichel who palmed it away.
Leicester had a clear game plan. Keep 10-men behind the ball, and, when Arsenal run out of ideas, bring on Vardy, fit-again following a calf strain, to score the winner.
Ten minutes from time they executed it. The former England international headed home fellow substitute Cengiz Under’s cross to fire the Foxes up to fourth in the Premier League, three points clear of the Gunners, who remain 10th.
Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Luiz (Mustafi, 49), Gabriel, Tierney (Nketiah, 81), Xhaka, Partey, Ceballos, Saka (Pepe, 65), Lacazette, Aubameyang
Substitutes not used: Runarsson, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Willock
Leicester City: Schmeichel, Fofana, Evans, Fuchs, Castagne, Mendy, Praet (Vardy, 60), Justin, Tielemans, Barnes (Under, 75), Maddison (Albrighton, 85)
Substitutes not used: Ward, Morgan, Choudhury, Iheanacho