James Maddison

First Loss In Five For Leicester

Leicester City's four-game winning run was ended on Sunday, when Arsenal emerged as 2-0 victors from a Premier League clash at Emirates Stadium.
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A second outing in just four days following Thursday's UEFA Europa Conference League victory over Rennes, manager Brendan Rodgers made four changes to his XI. In came Ricardo Pereira, who returned from injury, while Papy Mendy made his first Premier League start of the season, James Maddison played alongside the African champion in midfield, and Kelechi Iheanacho started up front after netting in midweek.

Prior to the match, both sides came together in a show of solidarity for the people of Ukraine across a weekend dedicated to the No Room For Racism campaign. The Foxes, meanwhile, wore black armbands to pay their respects to former managers Frank O'Farrell and Gordon Lee, who both sadly passed away this month.

The setting for a 1-0 success in 2020/21 - City's first win away to Arsenal since 1973 - the Foxes were backed by over 2,900 members of the Blue Army, who were hoping to witness back-to-back away victories against the Gunners for the first time in their history. 

Arsenal had won four consecutive Premier League matches in advance of Sunday's match, and when Martin Ødegaard lifted a pass in to Gabriel Martinelli, a smart save from Kasper Schmeichel prevented the striker from opening the scoring, although the offside flag would later go up.

Their league form showed in the early stages, however, with Martinelli this time turning provider. His pin-point corner was met by Thomas Partey at the near post, as the Ghana international's header found the back of the net after only 11 minutes. 

Mendy threw himself in the way of a Martinelli attempt and then Partey curled onto the crossbar as Arsenal continued to apply pressure. Mendy was there again, stretching to get a foot in the way of Martinell's shot before Schmeichel got down low to hold onto the ball. 

With City searching for a route back into the game, Academy star Luke Thomas' cross deflected towards goal, although Aaron Ramsdale was able to claim before it could beat him. Moments later, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall lifted a delightful pass into Harvey Barnes, but Ramsdale was able to smother at the near post. The Foxes were beginning to gain a foothold in the match, showing signs of why they too were on a four-game winning streak.

Dewsbury-Hall then dealt damage down the left as he motored down the flank and sent a low cross into the area. Ramsdale parried into the path of Maddison, who was dispossessed at the last by a sliding challenge from Ben White. Through an immediate counter-attack, another opportunity fell to Mikel Arteta's men, however Daniel Amartey defended the situation well by halting Martinell's curler. 

In a lively opening half-hour, Bukayo Saka then had a drive stopped by Thomas and Alexandre Lacazette was denied by Schmeichel. Ramsdale was next called into action, producing a top stop with his fingertips to prevent Barnes levelling matters from Marc Albrighton's cross.

After a spell of possession for Leicester, a beauty of a ball in from Maddison was nodded behind by Cédric Soares. Now, the visitors were in control, and had Arsenal pinned in their own territory. With little time in the first half remaining, Çağlar Söyüncü side-footed over, concluding an opening 45 minutes in which City could count themselves unfortunate to be behind in.

Into the second period, White flicked off target, Dewsbury-Hall threw himself in the way of Lacazette's effort and then Schmeichel punched Saka's half-volley to safety.

A point-blank save from Schmeichel followed, before Thomas cleared off the line. However, the Gunners had a chance to double their lead after a VAR check for handball against Söyüncü resulted in a penalty. Captain Lacazette stepped up, stuttered his run, and converted from 12 yards. 

Rodgers acted and made a double substitution. On came James Justin and Wilfred Ndidi in place of Ricardo and Mendy respectively. After Albrighton had a deflected attempt gathered by Ramsdale, a last-ditch challenge from Kieran Tierney denied Barnes a big opportunity in front of goal.

Iheanacho tested Ramsdale from range, only for the Arsenal 'keeper to pluck the shot out of the top corner. That proved to be the Nigeria international's last contribution, with Zambia's Patson Daka coming on for the final 16 minutes plus stoppage time. 

Arsenal's Granit Xhaka lifted a 25-yard strike well off target on 78 minutes, and later Schmeichel had to make a save from substitute Emile Smith Rowe at the near post. Soares was then able to get in the way of Dewsbury-Hall's goal-bound drive in time added on - the final major moment of a frustrating loss in the capital.

Major moment

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Harvey Barnes

Harvey Barnes' header was saved by Aaron Ramsdale, who denied the Academy graduate a leveller.

Ahead through Thomas Partey's opener, the Gunners were able to retain their lead before the break after Aaron Ramsdale glanced over Harvey Barnes' header. 

Despite several waves of attack from the Foxes, Arsenal's second goal of the match, scored from the spot by Alexandre Lacazette, solidified the hosts' advantage, and dealt a further blow to Leicester's chances of getting anything from the game. 

Who impressed?

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Çağlar Söyüncü

Çağlar Söyüncü impressed once again alongside Daniel Amartey in the heart of defence.

Speaking on LCFC Radio's Matchday Live, former striker Iwan Roberts said: "We spoke about the defensive play that Leicester have had recently. Even though they lost 2-0, the two centre-backs (Daniel Amartey and Çağlar Söyüncü) played really well. Söyüncü was incredibly unlucky with the decision that went against him, but I thought they were very good. They defended well, headed the ball and out their bodies in the way. They dealt with Alexandre Lacazette really well. There was a lot of balls into the box, but those two can hold their heads up high."

Where do we stand?

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Papy Mendy

The Senegal midfielder made his first Premier League start of 2021/22 against the Gunners.

In the latest Premier League standings, City occupy 12th position after 26 outings. 

Coming up...

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Ricardo Pereira

The Portugal star made a return to the starting XI after being out through injury.

A return leg with Rennes follows on Thursday in the Europa Conference League at Roazhon Park (5:45pm kick-off). Then, three days later, the Foxes entertain Brentford in the Premier League at King Power Stadium (2pm kick-off).

The details...

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