Leicester 3-0 Arsenal
Leicester City added to Arsenal’s woes with a 3-0 win at the Kingpower Stadium today, Jamie Vardy scoring a brace in the process.
It’s a result which has seriously damaged Unai Emery’s hopes of guiding his team to a top-four place in his first season in charge, and in all honesty, the Gunners shot themselves in the foot! Arsenal had gone down to ten men after Ainsley Maitland-Niles had needlessly got himself sent off and then Leicester, who were already the better team, just blew them away.
It all looked so good for the Gunners after they beat Manchester United recently but with two games to go in the 2019 Premier League they are in disarray. Three defeats on the bounce have left them off the pace at a crucial time in the season. If they had beaten just one of Crystal Palace, Wolves or Leicester they would still be in with a good chance.
But Leicester dispatched the Gunners in style, and under the guidance of Brendan Rodgers, they could be a team to watch next season. Outside the top two, the next four teams in the league are losing games with alarming regularity and, on this showing, I wouldn’t bet too much against Leicester finishing above Arsenal next year.
The other big Premier League 2019 news of the day was that Manchester City went back to the top of the league with a win at Burnley, while Chelsea drew at Manchester United to go two points clear of Arsenal in fourth place.
Highlights of the game
The Foxes looked lively throughout the first half and Arsenal were lucky to go into the break level, but their prospects were drastically reduced on the half hour.
Maitland-Niles had already earned a soft yellow card before he rashly chopped down James Maddison, and he quite rightly received his marching orders to give the Gunners a much tougher task in the second half. And they simply weren’t up to it.
The Foxes broke through on the hour when man-of-the-match James Maddison crossed for Youri Tielmans to plant his header beyond Bernd Leno and into the corner of the net.
The final margin could have been much bigger had it not been for the Arsenal keeper, who pulled off a string of great saves, the best being a one-handed stop from Wilfred Ndidi’s well-directed header.
Jamie Vardy has enjoyed an upturn in form since the arrival of Brendan Rodgers and he made it two with a typical ‘Vardy’ goal. He outpaced the sluggish Gunners defence to latch on to a long punt forward and lifted it over the advancing Leno and onto the crossbar. He was still the quickest to react nodding home the rebound to make the game safe.
And the arch Leicester poacher bagged another in the fifth minute of added time poking home Ricardo Pereira’s low cross.
The Kingpower faithful celebrated, but the travelling Gunners fans must have thought themselves a little lucky they hadn’t come off even worse.
Jamie Vardy celebrates with James Maddison after scoring Leicester City’s first goal against Arsenal
After shipping six goals in the last two games Emery’s team has now made it nine from three and that is no defensive form for a Champions League hopeful.
Leicester is still just about in the race for Europa League football according to the latest Premier League 2019 betting odds, they are three points behind seventh-placed Wolves with a better goal difference, and it all augers well for next season. Since Rodgers’ arrival at the Kingpower, only the pacesetters Manchester City and Liverpool have won more points than the Foxes.
Youri Tielemans’ goal was his third in nine games, in which time he has also made four assists, while Jamie Vardy has nine goals since the arrival of the new chief.
If the Gunners are to do better next season, they need to learn how to win on the road; they have won just six of 18 away games…pitiful!
Emery has one eye on the Europa League as another, and now more likely, a route into the Champions League and Valencia visit the Emirates in the semi-final first leg on Thursday, and then the Gunners have a home game against strugglers Brighton next weekend which should see them get back to winning ways.
The Foxes can still have a lot of say in matters at the top end of the table, with a trip to title hopefuls Manchester City, who won at Burnley today and then a home game against Chelsea on the final day.
And of course, we’ll be there every step of the way at us.
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