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Claudio Ranieri criticises referee after Leicester's defeat to Arsenal

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Claudio Ranieri was happy with Leicester's performance despite losing 2-1 to Arsenal

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri felt the decision to show Danny Simpson a red card cost his side at the Emirates Stadium as they lost 2-1 to Arsenal on Super Sunday.

Simpson was sent off in the 54th minute after being booked for the second time in the match for bringing down Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud. 

Leicester, leading 1-0 at that point thanks to Jamie Vardy's first-half penalty, failed to hold on to their advantage as Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck secured victory for Arsenal

Danny Simpson
Image: Danny Simpson is sent off by referee Martin Atkinson

Ranieri said: "It was a fantastic match, very fast, too many fouls, I don't know in a normal match if our two yellow cards were a sending off. Two normal fouls, but not for a yellow card. I think the referee was a bit more severe against us at that point. 

"They were two fouls, but not two yellow cards. But that is OK. It was a great match. I am sure 11v11, we win the match. So, it's OK. The match was full of fouls, so why send off a player? 

Jamie Vardy of Leicester City scores the opening goal from the penalty spot during the Barclays Premier League match against Arsenal
Image: Jamie Vardy had given Leicester a first-half lead by netting from the penalty spot

"We know that Arsenal is a fantastic team, they move the ball very quickly, so many fantastic players, full of skills. But we were concentrating very well and we started to counter-attack. We controlled the match very well."

Leicester remain top of the Premier League despite the defeat, two points clear of Arsenal with 12 matches remaining of the season. 

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Theo Walcott, Arsenal v Leicester
Image: Theo Walcott restored parity in the 70th minute

The loss was the Foxes' first in the league in 2016 and first since being beaten 1-0 by Liverpool at Anfield on Boxing Day.

But Ranieri refused to feel downbeat, despite Welbeck netting a 95th-minute winner on his return from 10 months out with a knee injury. 

"It was the last chance, they were smarter than us," he added. "But that is OK, that is football. I am happy because we show a good performance and this is only the third defeat in the Premier League for us. We are two points clear at the top. We have to fight and we must carry on. 

Danny Welbeck of Arsenal celebrates after scoring the winning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Leicester
Image: Danny Welbeck scored his first goal of the season

"I said well done [to the players]. It was a fantastic performance and that is what I want. We lost the match in the final second and, for me, it was not a sending off for Simpson. We must carry on. 

"We want to fight, match after match. The matches are very hard because there are so many teams that want to win the league, like Arsenal, or don't want to be relegated. Every match is a different match, is a tough match, and we must be concentrating match after match."

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