Leicester 2-0 Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers' side move nine points clear of Gunners
Report and highlights as Leicester increase the pressure on Unai Emery at Arsenal
By Oliver Yew
Last Updated: 10/11/19 6:10am
Leicester laid down a significant marker in the race to finish in the Premier League's top four by beating Arsenal 2-0 to move nine points ahead of the sixth-placed Gunners.
Jamie Vardy broke the deadlock in the 68th minute with his ninth goal in as many games against the Gunners, finishing a slick Leicester move involving Youri Tielemans and Harvey Barnes.
James Maddison then secured Leicester's win seven minutes later with a fine strike into the bottom corner to send the Foxes second in the table, five points behind league leaders Liverpool, who play Manchester City, live on Sky Sports on Sunday.
The defeat increases the heat on under-fire Arsenal head coach Unai Emery, whose position at the Emirates Stadium has come under intense pressure in recent weeks.
The Gunners, who are down to sixth in the table - eight points behind fourth place - are now without a win in their last four Premier League matches and the speculation surrounding Emery's position is sure to continue heading into the international break.
How Leicester brushed aside the Gunners
Leicester thought they should have had an early penalty when Matteo Guendouzi grabbed at Caglar Soyuncu's shirt, but the referee waved away the Leicester appeals and there was no intervention from VAR.
The hosts were dominating the ball, but Arsenal showed they too were a threat in attack as Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette started a sweeping move which included Lucas Torreira, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Hector Bellerin before Lacazette curled wide from close range.
Leicester: Schmeichel (7), Pereira (8), Soyuncu (7), Evans (7), Chilwell (7), Ndidi (8), Tielemans (8), Barnes (7), Perez (7), Maddison (9), Vardy (8).
Subs: Gray (7), Praet (n/a).
Arsenal: Leno (6), Bellerin (6), Chambers (6), Luiz (6), Holding (5), Kolasinac (6), Guendouzi (6), Torreira (6), Ozil (6), Lacazette (6), Aubameyang (6).
Subs: Pepe (n/a), Willock (n/a).
Man of the match: James Maddison
Lacazette had another opportunity to break the deadlock in the 20th minute after Aubameyang's cross reached him at the far post. His initial shot was blocked by Ricardo Pereira but the France striker had another chance to test Kasper Schmeichel, but the weak effort was easily saved by the Dane.
Leicester finished the first half the stronger of the two sides as they looked to capitalise on some sloppy play from Arsenal. Rob Holding gifted possession to the hosts, who countered through Vardy, but his cross just evaded Barnes before Tielemans' shot was blocked by Bellerin.
Calum Chambers then got a crucial touch to take Ayoze Perez's cross away from Vardy before Maddison's free-kick flicked the top of the net.
The hosts came closest to opening the scoring four minutes into the second half after fine work from Pereira saw him cross for Wilfred Ndidi, but his 16-yard effort slammed off the crossbar.
Arsenal then thought they had opened the scoring after 55 minutes when Aubameyang converted Sead Kolasinac's cross, only for the striker to be correctly ruled offside.
Hector Bellerin made his first Premier League start since January after being named in Arsenal's line up to face Leicester.
The defender suffered a serious knee injury against Chelsea at the start of the year but returned after appearances in the Carabao Cup and Europa League this season.
Mesut Ozil also kept his place in Unai Emery's league team while Leicester are unchanged at the King Power Stadium.
But Leicester finally took control with 22 minutes left when Vardy - the top flight's leading scorer with 11 goals - continued his excellent record against the Gunners. A sweeping Leicester move ended with Tielemans swapping passes with Barnes before Vardy found the bottom corner from 12 yards.
Four minutes later Bernd Leno denied Vardy a second before Maddison wrapped up the points with 15 minutes remaining. Pereira fed Vardy, who teed up Maddison to drill in a fine low effort from the edge of the box to secure a crucial victory.
What the managers said…
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers: "This is a team that's very focused, very good defensively, and I felt we controlled large parts of the game. A great victory for us against players that can really hurt you. We were able to manage that threat and play some great football.
"The way it's been going for a period of time now, it's nice because the players know they have the qualities to win any game against any opposition. You're playing against a top team with really good players, so you have to be patient but we showed real quality to break through. A very, very important three points."
Arsenal head coach Unai Emery: "[The aim] now already is to win the next match at home to Southampton and be consistent in the 38 matches. And now we have some difference behind Leicester, behind Chelsea but keep moving to take confidence and take our performance we are going to do.
"Our challenge in the next matches is to recover the points for us and also to in the long term, in 38 matches, little by little get better for our target at the end. But we are going to think only for the next matches and the next three points.
"We need time and we need patience. We changed a lot of players and we have young players. We know we are in a way with a very demanding, very ambitious in our target but we know we need time and patience. We are going to achieve with young players, with experienced players. We have had a lot of circumstances they didn't help us to achieve the best performance, the best result. But with patience and being consistent we are going to do.
"The patience is the next match against Southampton. The most important thing is being calm, being ambitious and demanding our self to work and stand up in our mentality and in our work."
Adams: Not all Emery's fault
Man of the Match - James Maddison
Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp on Maddison's performance: "I like everything about Maddison. He's got a spark and you can see when he's talking there's something about him that not many players possess. He felt comfortable talking to us and he plays the game in the same way. He's not shy, he's full of confidence. It was a joy to watch.
Former Arsenal defender Tony Adams: "Maddison's getting there. Every year he is improving, he's getting more and more goals. He's creating goals, scoring goals - he's a fantastic talent."
⭐️Leicester's @Madders10 is tonight's man of the match— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) November 9, 2019
🥇Most chances created (3)
🥇Most open play crosses (5)
🥇Most passes into box for Leicester (7)
5⃣ goals in last 7⃣ apps
Named in Gareth Southgate's @England squad for November @EuroQualifiers 👏 pic.twitter.com/q57m2aXcX4
- Leicester have won three consecutive top-flight home games against Arsenal for the first time in their history.
- Arsenal had just one shot on target in this match, with that effort coming in the 20th minute from Lacazette.
- Rodgers' side's haul of 26 points from their 12 Premier League games this season is their most ever at this stage of a top-flight campaign, and one more than they had in their title winning season of 2015-16.
- The Gunners' record of 17 points and -1 goal difference is their worst start to a top-flight season after 12 games since 1982-83 (15 points). They also had 17 points in 2014-15, but had goal difference of +5.
After the international break, Arsenal host Southampton at the Emirates Stadium on November 23; Kick-off 3pm. Leicester are also in action on November 23. They travel to the Amex Stadium to face Brighton; Kick-off 3pm.