Friday 21 September 2018

Jamie Vardy maintains his impressive scoring record against Arsenal as Leicester win

Arsenal remain without an away point in 2018 after defeat at Leicester.

Leicester City v Arsenal – Premier League – King Power Stadium
Leicester City v Arsenal – Premier League – King Power Stadium

By Nick Mashiter, Press Association Sport

Jamie Vardy returned to haunt Arsene Wenger on his farewell tour as Leicester cruised past 10-man Arsenal 3-1.

The Gunners could still end the season pointless away from home in 2018 after Vardy netted his sixth goal in his last six games against Wenger to help condemn them to defeat.

Kelechi Iheanacho opened the scoring in the first half just 92 seconds before Konstantinos Mavropanos was dismissed for the visitors.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did level but Vardy’s penalty and Riyad Mahrez’s late goal settled the game, leaving the Gunners with the same away record as relegated West Brom ahead of Sunday’s finale at Huddersfield.

Victory at least eased some of the growing pressure on Leicester boss Claude Puel, but it was just the Foxes’ fifth win in 20 Premier League games.

They began well and Vardy tested goalkeeper Petr Cech at his near post after 13 minutes to spark a nightmare 92 seconds for the Gunners.

The visitors only half-cleared the resulting corner and when Christian Fuchs tossed the ball back in, Fousseni Diabate nodded down for Iheanacho to drill in from 12 yards.

Then, just a minute-and-a-half later, Mavropanos was caught in possession by Iheanacho and hauled the striker down as he raced through on goal.

Referee Graham Scott had no hesitation in dismissing the rookie defender, making just his third league start, despite Iheanacho being 40 yards from goal and Sead Kolasinac rushing to cover.

Cech then saved Harry Maguire’s volley from the free-kick with Arsenal in disarray as the Foxes smelt blood.

Wenger sacrificed Danny Welbeck for Shkodran Mustafi but Arsenal’s clueless defence underlined why they have such a poor recent away record as they struggled against the pace of Diabate and Vardy.

The pair terrified the Gunners who simply floundered in the face of real speed.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan still tested Eldin Jakupovic in a rare Arsenal attack after 34 minutes but they relied on two Cech saves from Adrien Silva and Iheanacho to go into the break level.

The goalkeeper kept Arsenal in the game and they were nearly level early in the second half when Kolasinac hit the post following a slick build-up.

But the Gunners needed to be bailed out by Mustafi two minutes later when he cleared Diabate’s effort off the line after Cech’s initial touch.

It was a breathless start to the second half and Arsenal continued the breakneck speed by equalising after 53 minutes.

Aubameyang had been anonymous but he popped up to convert Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ cross at the second attempt despite Jakupovic’s best efforts.

It lifted Arsenal and they at last began to threaten, but when Aaron Ramsey broke onto Danny Simpson’s loose pass the Gunners were guilty of over playing and the chance was lost.

Leicester’s pace still scared the Gunners, though, and Demarai Gray made an instant impact in the 75th minute after replacing Diabate.

Again Arsenal failed to clear and Gray seized on Mustafi’s poor effort and was brought down by Mkhitaryan.

Vardy stepped up to dispatch the penalty and Mahrez added the gloss in the final minute when he raced through to score under Cech.

Press Association

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