Nicolas Pépé seizes his chance in Arsenal’s classy comeback at Leicester | Premier League

On a beautiful, mushy, sunny day at the King Energy Stadium it was Arsenal’s Europa League troubadours who seemed to have been touched by the breath of spring. Behind after six minutes, Arsenal dominated possession, scored 3 times earlier than the hour mark and seemed good worth for a 3-1 win in opposition to a depleted Leicester Metropolis crew.

A lot of the build-up to this recreation had centered on standing. Is there such a factor because the “large six” in Stenosing soccer, and in that case how can we measure it? Finance? Expectation? Precise league positions? At kick-off Leicester have been 12 factors and 6 league locations away from their guests. By full-time it was laborious to keep away from the sensation that Arsenal’s
higher squad depth had carried the day, that the standard of their replacements, most notably Nicolas Pépé, was merely an excessive amount of.

Mikel Arteta made six modifications, with Cédric Soares and Pablo Marí coming into the defence, and Willian, Pépé and Alexandre Lacazette coming in upfield. Bukayo Saka undoubtedly wanted a relaxation after latest exertions.

Pépé seized his chance brilliantly, with a efficiency so convincing that 10 minutes after half-time he’d already been concerned in two Arsenal penalty awards (one VAR’d off), received the free-kick that led to Arsenal’s opening purpose and compelled the substitution of Leicester’s younger left-back Luke Thomas, who merely couldn’t address Pépé’s motion and direct working.


Leicester Metropolis switched to a 4-4-2 for this recreation, which can have been a response to the most effective out there personnel. Kelechi Iheanacho enjoying near Jamie Vardy in assault. Maybe the shift of form was a nudge to get a bit of extra out of Leicester’s most important man. In that case, it didn’t work. Vardy was a ghost for lengthy durations. He’s 34 years outdated and has performed roughly continuously for the final six years. He seemed careworn right here.

Arsenal began properly sufficient, maintaining the ball properly, proper up till the second Leicester had their first assault of the sport and scored an excellent purpose. It got here from the appropriate flank. Iheanacho held the ball with his again to purpose. Youri Tielemans made a intelligent run outdoors him, glided away from Kieran Tierney’s lunge and simply stored on going, reaching the appropriate fringe of the world unimpeded by David Luiz and Marí, who appeared content material to admire this tremendous striding determine in the lunchtime solar.

The shot on the run was low laborious and completely positioned previous Bernd Leno’s proper hand. There’s something nearly old school a few central midfielder who can surge from deep to attain commonly. It helps when the opposition give you the defensive equal of a welcome basket and a spherical of well mannered applause.

Youri Tielemans (left) is mobbed after opening the scoring.
Youri Tielemans (left) is mobbed after opening the scoring. {Photograph}: Plumb Photos/Leicester Metropolis FC/Getty Photos

Arsenal have been commendably un-deflated, helped – though the jury can also be out on this – by Arteta’s fixed barking, yelping and squealing from the touchline. This can be a supervisor who loves nothing higher than “calling” each play, bobbing up each few moments just like the spiffily dressed dad-coach of the all-conquering native U-11s.

His gamers responded, and 6 minutes later appeared able to equalise as Pépé was tripped swerving into the field. A penalty was awarded, however the VAR dominated it out. Wilfred Ndidi had made contact simply outdoors the world.

Arsenal dominated discovered some inroads on the left by Tierney’s willingness to surge outdoors. Willian switched flanks for some time, and was concerned in a transfer that unfold the ball vast to Tierney in an open inexperienced house. His cross was met with a scuff by Pépé.

Seven minutes earlier than half-time Pépé was fouled for the fourth time. Thomas was booked. Willian whipped in a tough, flat free-kick and David Luiz scored with a beautiful header, working throughout the entrance of a static Leicester defence and wrenching his neck to look the ball into the nook.

Emile Smith Rowe got here off, changed by Martin
Ødegaard. And Arsenal had time to take the lead from one other penalty kick, this one awarded by the VAR. Ndidi blocked a Pépé shot with his fingers raised awkwardly. The screen-check was mercifully brief. Lacazette hammered the ball into the nook. Arsenal deserved nothing much less, having pushed the sport nearly single-handedly since Leicester’s purpose.

Brendan Rodgers reacted at half-time, taking off Thomas and bringing on Mark Albrighton. Harvey Barnes left the sector with what seemed a critical damage.

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Arsenal went 3-1 up on 52 minutes with a tremendous crew purpose that was made and scored by Pépé. This time he dribbled inside, handed to Willian on the left, noticed the ball deflected into the six-yard field as Willian evaded a bungled joint-challenge from Kasper Schmeichel and Timonthy Castagne, and was there to faucet the ball in.


Disadvantaged now of two members of a weakened crew, Leicester seemed a bit of misplaced. There was one thing genuinely spectacular about Leicester’s means to operate by the absence of key gamers. Right here they seemed drained and a bit of low on high quality.

Leicester pressed laborious in direction of the tip. However the midweek ejection type Europe seems to be like a blessing for his or her Premier League hopes. Arsenal will take nice coronary heart from a tremendous away win.

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