Arsenal come back to beat Leicester – player ratings and match review

Arsenal travel to the King Power for an early Sunday morning Kick-off in the sunshine.

Arsenal start the day in 11th place, while Leicester are 3rd so the ambitions from both are particularly different right now.

Arsenal have only won 1 in 5, which is worrying form which needs to be turned around urgently.

Leicester haven’t lost in 11 however, so the forms are very contrasting.

Arsenal won at Leicester earlier on in the season in the cup, however in the league they haven’t won for 6 years, a worrying stat.

Leicester this season have been notoriously better away from home, so the game would suite Arsenal more – as the same applies.

Leicester showed this earlier on when they beat the Gunners at the Emirates 1-0.

The foxes were knocked out of Europa to Slavia Prague midweek, while Arsenal scraped through vs Benfica.

Vardy is one to watch out for in this fixture as always, as he often scores against Arsenal – being his most scored past team.

A tough game for both teams where Arsenal can’t afford another loss as they aim to gain a respectable finish to the season.

Team News:

Leicester have been a major threat this season but are getting dealt an unfortunate blow with injuries.

Maddison is the latest to have a spell on the side-line for injury riddled foxes, as Iheanacho comes in for him.

In form Barnes returns to the XI after midweek which includes Vardy as always.

Arsenal make 6 changes from midweek – Lacazette for Aubameyang, a new CB partnership with Mari in for Gabriel – who’s not in the matchday squad.

Pepe returns to the team and Willian’s cameo off the bench has earned him a rare start.

Cedric comes in for Bellerin, while Saka drops out for rotation.

Ceballos out for Elneny is another change after just over 48 hours of coming back from Greece.

Smith Rowe retune to a central role, as Ødegaard goes to the bench.

6 minutes in, Leicester press well, Tielemans darts down the right-hand side, no one presses him, so he drills the ball in brilliantly.

Mari or Elneny must close him down, so poor. No one went near him which left him for a free angle for goal.

Very disappointing start.

A few minutes after, Pepe takes a touch into the penalty area and gets clipped. Penalty to Arsenal.

Controversy however as Ndidi also tripped Pepe outside the area first, so the decision was a free kick.

Like the reverse fixture, Leicester are only too happy to allow Arsenal possession, to then hit on the counter.

Having dominated Leicester after the goal, Arsenal had started to get a rhythm to their play.

Tierney had also been very lively, getting in behind on a few occasions.

Particularly Willian played a great ball inside, where the Brazilian had been very lively.

Willian hit just wide after some great play while Pepe had a chance blocked.

The Ivorian had been the star man so far, causing teenager Thomas all sorts of issues – as he kept fouling him.

Leicester had a few chances of their own, shooting from range a bit but nothing particularly clear cut.

After getting another free kick from another Thomas foul on Pepe, Willian whipped a great ball in which Luiz had head home.

A brilliant header and ball, well deserved!

Smith Rowe made way for Ødegaard, which is worrying for Arsenal as the Englishman went down after the goal.

A few minutes before the break, Pepe hit a strike which was blocked, but was blocked illegally by Ndidi’s high arm.

A clear penalty after the review of the monitor.

Lacazette stepped up and slammed home. Well-deserved for the gunners who have been far better.

Willian & Pepe have been the standouts, so big credit to them to step up when needed most.

Thomas on a yellow is something to bear in mind, as a red is very probable if something isn’t addressed at half time to help the youngster.

A very good performance so far, bar the very sloppy goal given.

Long may it continue.

Albrighton replaces Thomas at the break, which is a wise decision. Pereira goes to that position.

Barnes went off on a stretcher with a knee injury, which is very worrying.

Speedy recovery to the youngster who has been scintillating in his breakout season – where he would be right up there to make the National team.

The injury woes continue for the foxes.

Under replaces the winger.

A minute later Arsenal transitioned with Xhaka to Pepe, who drove at the defence.

He played it into Ødegaard, who slid through greatly to Willian, who kept it alive for a tap in for Pepe.

A dream start for the 2nd half for the gunners.

A 4th goal would really wrap this game up, as Leicester attempt to find a way back into the game.

Mari managed to match Vardy for pace and blocked Albrighton’s shot – a great recovery after the early error.

Arsenal have looked fully in control, with the press particularly impressive & ball retention.

A truly impressive performance which is very pleasing to see, which has enabled Saka to get a full rest.

The whistle blows after some good defending, as Arsenal get a very well deserved 3 points.

There are so many positives to take from this game, where most players have been brilliant against a very competitive side.

Coming back from behind yet again is impressive and shows the mentality at the club has improved significantly.

Man of the Match:

Pretty much everyone was brilliant, but I think the fairest reflective MOTMs are Pepe, Willian, Xhaka, Luiz, Lacazette.

Pepe was brilliant from start to finish, driving at Thomas in the first half and getting a lot of free kicks.

His constant movement was tough to monitor, his intercepting high up was an area I really noticed today.

The linkup with Cedric (who was great) was crucial as well, which allowed Pepe to leave the fullback isolated.

His linkup with others and decision making was very good and a general top performance.

Willian has got a lot of scrutiny since joining – with lot of a it being fair.

However, it was great seeing the Brazilian perform brilliantly today after Arteta was questioned for starting him.

His ball retention was way improved, his all-round play was so much better, and the 2 assists showcased that.

Long may it continue.

Xhaka had another top game – in transition, defensively, using his experience… it was a great showing from the Swiss.

A very underrated player, where his availability is admirable.

David Luiz was great defensively and scored a great goal.

He seemed very assured, against some very potent attackers. Him & Mari both looked good.

Having come back into the team, Alexandre Lacazette had a point to prove.

The Frenchman dispatched the penalty emphatically, linked up play well, allowing Willian & Pepe to get in behind.

A really good performance.

My MOTM of choice? Nicolas Pepe. For me it’s between Pepe or Willian, Xhaka and it’s so hard to pick between.

Willian was given the award and deservedly so, but I’ll pick the Ivorian, who troubled Leicester majorly.

His movement was particularly unpredictable and it’s no coincidence one of his best games is alongside a linkup play RB – Cedric.

Making Arteta’s team selection even harder.

Player ratings:

Leno – 6.5

Cedric – 7

Luiz – 8

Mari – 7.5

Tierney – 7

Xhaka – 8.5

Elneny – 6.5

Willian – 9

Smith Rowe – 7

Pepe – 9

Lacazette – 8

Subs:

Partey – 7

Ødegaard – 7.5

Aubameyang – 6

What next for Arsenal?

Arsenal have a much-needed week off to rest up.

Before the international break, they go to Turf Moor where they face Burnley.

The game can be found on BT Sports at 12:30am on Saturday, where Arsenal look to get 3 wins on the bounce.

Score prediction: 0-2 Arsenal

Thanks for reading as usual, all support is always appreciated.