Leicester City 0-0 Arsenal: Champions frustrated in King Power stalemate
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 30/08/16 2:38pm
Leicester City and Arsenal played out a goalless draw at the King Power on Saturday evening as both sides' search for a first Premier League win of the season continues.
The champions thought they should have been awarded two penalties in the game, firstly when Danny Drinkwater was upended by Laurent Koscielny just before the break.
Then in the dying seconds, substitute Ahmed Musa was also bundled over by Hector Bellerin, but again referee Mark Clattenburg waved play on.
Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri made four changes from the team that surprisingly lost 2-1 at newly promoted Hull City in their opening fixture of the season last Saturday, including handing a debut to midfielder Nampalys Mendy.
The visitors, meanwhile, also made a raft of alterations having lost 4-3 at home to Liverpool on Super Sunday, with Koscielny back to partner Rob Holding at the heart of their defence.
Arsene Wenger opted to hand his big-money summer purchase from Borussia Monchengladbach, Granit Xhaka, his first Premier League start, while Santi Cazorla was handed a run-out following injuries to both Aaron Ramsey and Alex Iwobi last weekend.
However, the Frenchman decided that Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud were only fit enough to take their places on the substitutes bench after their recent exertions for Germany and France respectively at Euro 2016.
It was the Gunners, though, who enjoyed the better chances in the first period, without ever really threatening to make that crucial first breakthrough, while as expected Leicester tried to hit their opponents on the counter-attack.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - another handed a start by Wenger after impressing as a substitute against Liverpool - had Arsenal's first good opening of the contest after 25 minutes, only for his shot from the left-hand edge of the box to curl narrowly past Kasper Schmeichel's far post.
Just past the half-hour mark the Denmark international was called upon to make a smart save to keep out Cazorla's devilish free kick from the left-hand touchline as the Gunners looked to make their territorial advantage count.
However, it was Leicester who felt they should have gone in ahead at the break after one of many debatable decisions by Mr Clattenburg, taking charge of his first encounter of the campaign.
Riyad Mahrez slid Jamie Vardy down the right-hand channel of the box and after Petr Cech raced out to bravely block the striker, the ball broke kindly for Drinkwater, who appeared to be felled by Koscielny.
But the man in the middle correctly decided that Arsenal's captain had just got the faintest of touches on the ball.
There was more controversy after half-time when Clattenburg allowed Francis Coquelin to stay on the pitch, despite the Arsenal midfielder tripping Mahrez on the edge of the box when already on a yellow.
By that point, Leicester had already lost their £13m summer buy from Nice, Mendy, to a knee injury that appeared to disrupt their rhythm.
Arsenal - despite introducing the likes of Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Giroud for the final quarter of an hour - also struggled to create many clear-cut openings after half-time, although Theo Walcott will be disappointed not to have scored when sent through on goal with nine minutes to go.
However, Leicester captain Wes Morgan made a brilliant goal-saving tackle to preserve the hosts' clean sheet, before one final contentious moment with two minutes to go.
Musa, who had given a glimpse of his blistering pace in a pre-season friendly against Barcelona, showed Bellerin a clean pair of heels on the left-hand touchline, before driving towards the box, only to be bundled over by the Spaniard.
The man that mattered most, though, again ruled in Arsenal's favour, while Cech's late stop from Mahrez in what was Leicester' first shot on target in the game meant the Foxes have now gone 20 Premier League matches without a win against the Gunners.
Leicester: Schmeichel (7), Simpson (6), Huth (6), Morgan (7), Fuchs (6), Mahrez (7), Drinkwater (7), Mendy (7), Albrighton (6), Okazaki (6), Vardy (7)
Used subs: Musa (7), King (6), Ulloa (6)
Arsenal: Cech (7), Bellerin (7), Koscielny (9), Holding (7), Monreal (6), Coquelin (6), Xhaka (7), Walcott (6), Cazorla (7), Oxlade-Chamberlain (7), Sanchez (5)
Used subs: Wilshere (6), Ozil (7), Giroud (6)
Man of the match: Laurent Koscielny