James Justin

Foxes Fall To Defeat At Arsenal

Leicester City tasted defeat for the first time in the 2022/23 Premier League season as their maiden away trip of the term ended in a 4-2 loss to Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
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Despite William Saliba's own goal and a well-taken James Maddison finish, Gabriel Jesus' first-half brace and goals from Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Martinelli helped the hosts to all three Premier League points.

Following Sunday's 2-2 draw with Brentford, manager Brendan Rodgers named an unchanged XI for the encounter with the Gunners in north London, where a sweltering climate and beaming sunlight greeted both sides for their second outing of the 2022/23 season.

City were looking for a bright start at Emirates Stadium, and they nearly took the lead when Wesley Fofana's direct run forced Aaron Ramsdale into a low save. The France Under-21s defender was on hand at the other end to block a pass aimed at Oleksandr Zinchenko barely a minute later.

Both outfits looked capable in attack. On the 10-minute mark, Arsenal summer arrival Jesus glanced a header into the side-netting, before Ramsdale was forced into tipping Timothy Castagne's delivery from the right flank away to safety with James Justin arriving at the back post. 

After Fofana had gone into the book for a foul on Martinelli, Gabriel Magalhaes headed over under pressure from Wilfred Ndidi, with the Nigerian positioning himself well as a glut of Arsenal attackers and Leicester defenders swarmed the six-yard box from a Martinelli free-kick.

With 20 minutes on the clock, Danny Ward could only watch as Xhaka crashed a header off the Wales international's right-hand post. Shortly after, Maddison lifted a pass into the path of Jamie Vardy, however the move broke down.

Arsenal were ahead moments later. After Martinelli worked the ball into the area, Xhaka's lay-off located Jesus, who got the ball out of his feet before curling over Ward and into the far top corner. With temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius in London, the first drinks break of the afternoon followed.

It was Xhaka who would next get in behind, but captain Jonny Evans was well placed to nod away before the Switzerland midfielder could latch onto a scooped pass towards the Leicester net. Fellow centre-back Daniel Amartey threw himself in the way of a Martin Ødegaard drive not long after.

However, after Arsenal won a corner-kick, they soon doubled their advantage as Vardy's attempted clearance could only locate the head of Jesus, who lurked at the far stick and nodded in for his second of the match. 2-0 to the Gunners 

On 38 minutes, Jesus had the opportunity for a hat-trick after getting away from Evans, but Ward made a superb save with his legs while one-on-one with the Brazil striker – facing pressure from Ndidi – to keep the hosts' lead to two goals before the interval.

Jesus was a constant thorn in Leicester's side, and only the spread arms of Ward prevented him making it 3-0 as he played a one-two with Martinelli before driving into the box and testing the City stopper.

With three minutes of the first period to play, Vardy – the Club's all-time leading goalscorer in this fixture with 11 strikes – appeared to be wiped out by Ramsdale and won a penalty for the Foxes, but after a VAR check, it was ruled out and Arsenal were awarded a free-kick.

After a punched clearance from Ward at one end, Leicester were back in it with 53 minutes gone as Saliba headed Justin's flick-on from an Evans long ball beyond Ramsdale and into his own net to give Rodgers' men hope of a comeback.

However, less than two minutes later, Arsenal delivered a painful blow. Ward palmed a cross from Ben White into the path of Jesus, who touched the ball to Xhaka and the midfielder did the rest.

A double tactical change for City came on 63 minutes when midfielder Dennis Praet and striker Patson Daka replaced Youri Tielemans and Amartey, in turn bringing about a change in shape which saw the visitors deploy a four-man defence. Not long after, Kelechi Iheanacho came on in place of Vardy after a pause in play meant Maddison required treatment on the pitch.

Into the final 20 minutes, the strike partnership of Iheanacho and Daka caused issues for Arsenal's backline, however Saliba slid in to get rid of the latter's attempt to steer the ball back across goal.

Leicester were aware a second goal of the afternoon could give them an opportunity of claiming something from the match, and when Iheanacho slid in Maddison down the right channel, the No.10 was able to squeeze a low drive through the legs of Ramsdale for 3-2.

But much like earlier in the match, the Foxes conceded immediately. Martinelli was the man to find the net from the edge of the area, firing home with his left boot after being assisted by Jesus for the Arsenal No.9's fourth goal involvement of the match.

Edging towards the last 10 minutes of the game, Academy graduate Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall sent a low attempt wide of Ramsdale's left-hand post as Leicester continued to battle for a result in the capital. 

With little sand left in the hourglass, Thomas Partey struck the post from close range before Iheanacho tore down the right wing and tried to find Maddison, who tried to hook the ball into his path, but it ran into the welcoming arms of Ramsdale.

Substitute Eddie Nketiah drew a good save out of the outstretched Ward at his near post, while the Wales international had to be alert to another attempt from the Arsenal attacker in time added on. The match came to a close with the scoreline at 4-2.

Major moment – Arsenal reply immediately

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James Maddison

The Leicester City No.10 struck at Emirates Stadium, but Arsenal immediately restored their two-goal cushion.

Although Leicester City twice reduced the deficit to only one goal when a William Saliba own goal and James Maddison's neat finish made it 2-1 and then 3-2 respectively, the Gunners were able to hit back straight away to restore their two-goal advantage and quash any hopes of a point for the men in blue.

Where do we stand – 14th position 

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Youri Tielemans

The Belgium international communicates with his team-mates while in action in north London.

Leicester are now 14th in the Premier League standings after matchday two of the 2022/23 campaign.

Coming up – Southampton (H)

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Dennis Praet

Dennis Praet, a second-half substitute, thanks the travelling City supporters at the full-time whistle.

Ralph Hasenhüttl's Southampton are the visitors to King Power Stadium in the Premier League in seven days' time (3pm kick-off). City then return to the capital to tackle Chelsea at Stamford Bridge the following weekend.

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