Leicester City Review: It’ll Be Alright On The Night

Arsenal 4 – 3 Leicester City

The only thing missing from this white-knuckle ride opening game was Dennis Norden, puns and clipboard front and centre stage. There was a happy ending to the evening; no repeat of the defeats to West Ham United and Liverpool. Trhee points, top of the table for a couple of hours longer; good morning football, I’ve missed you.

Alexandre Lacazette will not forget his debut. Ninety-four seconds into the match and he probably wondered what the fuss was about. Ninety minutes later, he must have wondered if every Premier League game was going to be this madcap.

Defeat last night would have been criminal, particularly after Lacazette’s opener. I thought he did well with good movement across the pitch. His goal typified that, finding space in the box to head home comfortably. Old vulnerabilities resurfaced with Cech beaten by the flight of the ball, none of the defenders tracking the run around the back of the defence and one of the shortest players on the pitch – Okazaki – heading home the equaliser.

It was a one-sided match where we were punished. Leicester had few chances and probably took them all, or all the ones on target. Inevitably, Jamie Vardy twice gave the Foxes the lead. The first, on the break, found a gap in the heart of the unfamiliar trio and slotted home, before Danny Welbeck equalised as intricate patterns broke the offside trap and gave him the simplest of tap-ins.

Vardy’s second exposed the night’s vulnerabilities but two quickfire goals late in the game, restored the universe’s equliibrium. Aaron Ramsey, with Olivier Giroud, saw Wenger move to a 4-3-3 with just over twenty minutes to go, rammed home the third after Granit Xhaka’s exquisite pass before Giroud won the match with a fine header.

Hits and Misses

There were plenty of question marks over the back line but with Per Mertesacker and Shkodran Mustafi both likely to return to the starting line-up next weekend, I’m not particularly worried by the holes in our defence last night. Repeating the pattern of the game at Stoke and yes, there will be huge question marks over what is going on.

Arsène didn’t try and hide those problems after the game but as you’d expect focussed on the positives of three points,

Well if you were a manager and you would be on the bench when you’re 3-2 down with 20 minutes to go, and you win 4-3, you’re more happy than concerned. I feel as well that the goals we conceded, we can work together to get rid of that because one was a corner, one was a ball we lost in the build up and the third goal was on a corner again, so we conceded two goals on corners. We were quite good last year on corners and overall I believe that with a bit of work we can get that out of the system.

The manner of Leicester’s goals won’t have been lost on the watching Stoke City scouts.

Despite that, I thought Sead Kolasinac once again played well, handling the nerves and new style of opposition play, well. The same with Lacazette. Moving to a 4-3-3 might be welcomed in some quarters but for the moment it is still Plan B. An effective one but one performance isn’t enough to change a whole system. It wasn’t last year so won’t be this. Unless, that’s the new Arsène way of thinking.

Beast not Burden

Danny Welbeck appreciated Kolasinac, and is another to highlight his strength,

Sead, honestly, with his aggressiveness at the back and getting up towards the strikers, winning the ball back and breaking forward he was great for us. He’s like a beast on the pitch

The partnership of Elneny and Xhaka was curtailed with the introduction of Aaron Ramsey in the search of an equaliser. The Welshman delivered and probably put himself back into the starting line-up in the process. There won’t be many arguments if he gets forward to support the attack as effectively during the course of the season.

And being a match officiated by Mike Dean, controversy surfaced. This time media-driven, it must be said. Mesut Özil, subdued last night by his own standards, was deemed to control the ball with his arm, even though it was in a ‘natural’ position. There would have been no surprise if Dean had penalised him but is shows how difficult deciding what is deliberate in those situations and what isn’t. That he then denied us a stonewall penalty is no surprise either.

Three points and that’s all we can ask for. It was an entertaining game where the gamut of emotions coursed through our bodies. A late winner always give a victory a sweeter taste, but to grab two goals in a short spell makes the ‘high’ higher.

’til Tomorrow.

179 thoughts on “Leicester City Review: It’ll Be Alright On The Night

  1. Thank you Yogi, a summing up as good as ever, you’ve hit the new season ground running.

    Lacazette scored with only his second touch of the ball, the first was the kick off. As Mr. Punch would say “that’s the way to do it”.

    I don’t like this idea of tippy tappying our way out of defence, last night the ball was lost on far too many occasions.

    Suddenly Wenger has become a tactical genius, changing the basic formation from a back three to a back for on the hoof. Amazing!

    Now he needs to spend the next week moulding his defenders into a coherent unit rather than the ad hoc bunch of individuals on the pitch for much of last night’s game.

    Overall an encouraging performance with the caveat that the defence needs work.

  2. As always we looked lovely in possession for great swathes of the game, but is that enough when we don’t have any greater result for the possession and then just needlessly give the ball away leaving ourselves so exposed?

    Well yes it is when we score one more, but technically the game should have been a canter.

  3. It was not pony it was excitement of the highest level, stop winging at every opportunity,, its a f….. game

  4. Morning

    A fine write up and an accurate summing up of events last night.

    Three points gained was the key, job done.

    Sead had a great game, even getting an assist. Not sure why our left-sided CB was up the other end of the pitch though. It shows that Sead has to be LB or LWB because he likes to attack as well as defend and is effective doing it. If we played him as left-sided CB against bigger teams they would have exploited the huge gap left by him being up the pitch. Holding also seemed to think it was his job to bring the ball out of the right side of defence. He tried on several occasions and lost the ball every time. Isn’t that Bellerin’s job as RWB? I thought the aim of having 3 at the back was to give more defensive stability, but the back 3 seemed to have instructions to carry the ball up the pitch leaving us exposed if they lost the ball.

  5. Excellent write up Yogi!

    Thought that we played well for long stretches and to be honest Leicester’s first two goals were avoidable: if Cech just stays solid and doesn’t go for a walkabout on a ball that was clearly heading wide he can easily catch that, for the 2nd Xhaka’s blind ball to nobody put us in a bad position and Cech should have come out to claim it.

    Going forward won’t be our problem and I do think that with Mustafi and Mert back we will look a more solid side defensively and to be honest outside of our mistakes, our midfield was fine. Lacazette will score goals and loads of them, Sead will only improve especially once played at LWB or LB, Ox is not a left sided player, Bellerin will be better, Ozil was hit and miss all match long, great for Welbeck to get a goal because if he can find any sort of halfway decent consistency in front of goal I think that it will put Arsene in quite a pickle of who to bring on first, he or Giroud.

    I do find it interesting that Ramsey’s goal seems to be the thing that has cemented in some people’s mind him being first choice but those same people seem to forget that it was Elneny’s 1st time hit ball that was put right on Lacazette’s head for the opener. I think both Ramsey and Giroud’s perfect roles in the team are as impact subs running at tired legs.

  6. Morning all
    I have spoken about this issue over and over again, the OX proves me right everytime, this OX for me has been the best player on the pitch since Arsene switched to 3 at the back. Remember the man utd game at Old Trafford last season when they were skinning arsenal alive? One classic ox move and cross for giroud to head home earned us a point we didn’t even deserve. After the game mourinho said the draw felt like a defeat and I completely agreed with him.
    On the other hand, Bellerin has obviously dropped form, its funny how this guy plays for a complete 90 minutes and can’t put a cross to an ARSENAL player pathetic.
    Immediately arsene switched the ox to rwb you saw how many accurate crosses he put in, and that was when arsenal became more and more dangerous, the guy is just a joy to watch, but funny enough wenger would take him back to LWB for the stoke game just to accommodate the ineffective Bellerin. I guess Arsene knows best.
    Finally ozil has always been a liability and it showed again yesterday, ffs put this guy on the bench and pick your team based on current form.
    My team for the stoke game.

    Cech

    Mustaphi mert Monreal
    Ox. Ramsey. Xhaka. sead
    Welbeck lacasette Sanchez

    This team for me would compete with any team in the world.

  7. Mo,

    You’re right. I’m too old for winging, going back to good old ‘Shanks’s pony’.

    On a different subject, we got out of jail free last night. A bit early in the season to use up our ‘Chance’ card.

  8. O yea and that lovely piece of skill by Sead was a joy to wach. First he intercepted the ball that was intended for Vardy then made Zidane proud by taking out Mahrez with a lovely bit of skill.

  9. For me Elneny played very well – and really seems to care – for example he bust a gut to get off when subbed as we were chasing the game….thought Saed was V good too……

    would like to see the highlights and look at the stats – felt like we bossed the game and were punished almost ever time the had a chance – and in the past we’ve lost plenty of games like that.

    wondered if Holding central of the back three would have made more sense than Nacho.
    Kittens every time Fuchs lined up a long throw and/or corners somehow we didn’t look strong and unsure whether we were zonal….no one on the posts cost us.

    But – left the pub full of Guinness, vim and vigour with the late win and reflecting on the 4 very good goals we scored rather than anything else.

    Definitely feels better than many of the recent mornings after the first matches of the season !

  10. An understated fact, but 3 assists came from the midfield pair of Xhaka and Elneny. One goal from a midfielder and 3 goals from our strikers. This is a decent return for our first game.
    1st choice LWB Sead got an assist too.

  11. The other interesting thing is how all summer we heard Arsene talking about Giroud was not for sale yet, and maybe it was a slip of the tongue, Arsene said that he did offer Giroud up and he was for sale before Giroud decided to stay put.

  12. No show from Coutinho, not even on the bench. It looks like Liverpool’s best player is on his way to Barca.

    Watford one nil up after 8 minutes.

  13. Now that was football, and I loved it.

    I loved it for some of the attacking football, and I loved my first look at at La Caz in a competitive Arsenal game.

    I held my breath and muttered my imprecations when we mis-passed the ball out of defence; when we gave the ball away in defence; when the defensive zonal marking was screwed up yet again; oh and the other defensive stuff that resulted in giving away soft goals.

    It was the first game, so too early to start moaning, or gloating, or to start worrying, or becoming complacent — but we all know that, anyway.

    It was rich, nail biting, wonderful, frustrating, enjoyable, infuriating football, with plenty of goals and three juicy points.

    What was not to like? 🙂

  14. Shit defending by Liverpool and watford 2-1. You can see why Liverpool chased and continue to chase Van Dijk.

  15. Another 4 3 but hopefully Watford the winners. Liverpool look as suspect us we did last night at the back. But to think they have there normal staring back 4?

  16. Poor old Couthinho has a bad back transferitus to match Sanchez’ dodgy transfer stomach muscles, and I hear van Dick has a bad case of transfer virus – a lot of it going around it seems.

  17. I don’t know how Watford have transformed themselves into a really very good side- well for the first 36 mins anyhow. 🙂

  18. HenryB,

    Morning mate, I enjoyed the attacking play myself and finally after 4 years of me banging on about Lacazette, Arsene finally listened and who would of thought, he banged in a quality header with his 2nd touch 2′ in.

    On Watford….

    Marco Silva is a really good manager so that explains it

  19. HenryB,

    La Caz? La is the French feminine preposition, if you are going to refer to our Bosnian Beast in French at least get the gender right mon ami.

  20. I think Bellerin was very poor about getting back to defend. Pace and motivation were lacking as Fuchs owned the space behind him for cross after cross.

    I will be really miffed we sold WS if he keeps playing like this with Ospina as the other option.

    The attack looked great (who needs Alexis, eh!?) and the set up from the midfield to create chances was lovely. Too bad they couldn’t shield and defend our makeshift back line.

  21. Limestonegunner,

    If we are being honest, it was a poor pass from Xhaka that gifted them their second, their first was shambolic GK’ing.

    I do agree about Szczesny, been saying it all summer, o well he is gone now but I would rather have Martinez as opposed to Ospina as GK2 but he is gone too.

  22. Firmino, Salah and Mane are linking up and if you add Coutinho they could be a problem but defensively they are shit and Mignolet is a joke.

  23. Great post Yogi

    Really exciting game and like you I hope that the defense will solidify when we get Mustafi and Kos back. Arsene got away with it this time but it was crazy for him to not have Mustafi ready to play game 1. Every other manager in the world has the players who competed in summer international tournaments ready for the first league game of the season.

    Lots of positives.

    Lacazette’s movement upfront was excellent and he took his chance very well. Encouraging start.

    Kolasinac is a beast on the attacking end. He needs to playing LWB and not one of the back 3 defenders.

    I understand Ramsey divides opinion but he defenitely has upside and he can make things happen. He has scored critical goals in our last 2 games that count.

    I have been Giroud’s biggest critic in the past and he has also divided opinions. However he should not divide opinions any more. He clearly has found his role as impact sub.

    Welbeck scored a goal.

  24. Orson Kaert:
    HenryB,

    La Caz?La is the French feminine preposition, if you are going to refer to our Bosnian Beast in French at least get the gender right mon ami.

    Thank you for your helpful explanation, even if it lacks a little in accuracy.

    ‘La’ in French is the equivalent to ‘the’ in English which is called ‘the definite article’ – or ‘articles définis’ in French – and is not a preposition. Why French? Because I was not referring to the Bosnian Beast at all, but to Lacazette our new CF. [La Caz — the first 5 letters of the name for lazy typists]

    Mais merci pour votre aide, mon ami.

  25. C:
    Firmino, Salah and Mane are linking up and if you add Coutinho they could be a problem but defensively they are shit and Mignolet is a joke.

    I firmly believe they’ll lose Coutinho, Barca always get their man.

    We have the excuse of missing 4 first choice CB’s, Liverpool don’t, but i feel if htey lose Coutinho they’ll move on Van Dijk. With Per retiring soon and kos aging, surprised we haven’t expressed an interest in him

  26. At least so far it looks like the summer away from football has not reenergized Ozil. I agree with Nigerian Gunner, mesut has been a liability a lot more often then he has been a difference making player over the last 1 1/2 seasons. I certainly hope we don’t give him a big money long term contract and I hope Arsene has the cojones to drop from the starting lineup if the current trend continues.

    Bellerin looked like the one we saw for most of the second part of last season. In the past he used his pace to make those eye catching long over lapping runs down the flank when we played 4 at the back. However, even when he when he was playing better, defense was never his forte and now his defending has definitely taken a step backwards. There is no doubt that Ox has been the better RWB over the last year and I think the idea that Bellerin is a defensive upgrade over Ox is misguided. Saed definitely should be our LWB and if you reward players for being effective then I can’t see how we could prefer Hector over Ox at RWB based on the way they have been playing.

  27. Bill,

    Reward players for being effective haha, guess Elneny wasn’t effective so back to the bench you go no reward for you, o wait….

  28. C
    Ramsey scored a goal, that cancels out all Mo’s industrious work, desire and also his assist. Mind you I think it was only Ramseys 2nd or 3rd goal in about a year. But none the less.

  29. Ramsey vs Elneny is an interesting debate. Elneny is really good at what he does. He spends the vast majority of his time making short passes and then moving to make himself available for another pass. For better or worse he is a ball possession/ continuity player. Ramsey on the other hand is always going to be making runs into the box and trying to make something happen. Myself I have a long held bias against our teams ball possession ethos because we have 13 years of solid evidence which indicates eventually we will move back to our tippy tappy habit and I prefer Ramsey in our box to box role. With Kolasinac at LWB and Ox at RWB we have a real opportunity to move away from tippy/tappy forever and I hope that is what happens.

    Probably the best thing we could do is buy a central midfielder who is better then either Ramsey or Elneny so there would not be any controversy.

  30. C,

    In the minds of Wenger and his apologists, Ramsey managing to tie his own boots probably guarantees a starting place.

  31. Barkley doesn’t make the match day squad for Everton, Koeman is sticking to his guns and this is one time a player loses out thinking that other clubs want him.

  32. C

    Elneny made a nice pass in the second minute of the game but after that he moved into his role as our ball possession specialist and he was recycling the ball in midfield but not doing anything that made a difference. He was the first player we had to take off when we needed to improve.

    You have always been a fan of players who play like Elneny and I have not and that probably will never change.

  33. I understood your reference to Lacazette, Orson. Your understanding of French grammar is commendable.

    A great game to watch! But the Foxes should have been disposed of in the first half. In my opinion, they were not even in the game. Their goals coming from give aways and ridiculous defending in the box from corners which I think will be easily remedied once our regulars are back in the lineup. At one point, Monreal was screaming at his team, such was his frustration.

    I think we should be proud of having such an interesting team with a Manager of exceptional quality.

  34. Bill,

    He brought off Elneny for Ramsey, who else would Ramsey have come on for?

    It’s funny you say that because if you take a look at some of the best midfield players in the world, quite a few of them are more Elneny than Ramsey who play in that role because you have to have a player that links defense with attack. Santa was superb at it. Don’t get me wrong, Ramsey has a place but defensively and when you have Xhaka playing and staying deep and our front 3 playing high, you need a player who links that and is always available since contrary to what you think you can’t always go forward and run straight up the flanks like you think happens. Look at Kante, he makes loads of short passes and recycles the ball and he rarely pushes forward but not one person wouldn’t have him.

    Sorry mate, the midfielders like Kante, Tolisso, Veratti, Motta and the rest that people want are more Elneny than Ramsey especially playing with 3 at the back since your WB’s are bombing forward and it you have everybody bombing forward then your going to leave your back 3 and your deepest midfielder to defend, that sounds like a recipe for disaster not defensive solidarity or am I wrong?

  35. Last week when talking of the Van Djik situation the Southampton chairman said “He can rot in the stands”.

  36. Morning all,

    Great win and and top of the league. Giroud’s goal was absolutely brilliant. I’ve been a vocal supporter of him since posting on this blog ( the only Arsenal blog I read) and I find the lack of support for him surprising. The back three was make shift, it didn’t work, I agree with Dalm and as Yogi says nothing to be alarmed about. I like Monreal on the left of 3 but not in the middle. Ramsey’s role of impact off the bench is perfect for us.

    As Bill said yesterday Xhaka is not a 6 and can’t be trusted as the deepest CM. I do think however he can, over time be a box to box CM just with a difference. Wenger buy a deep lying defensive enforcer this week and we may just have a shout of a top four.

  37. I saw it now, Everton with Schneiderlin, Gueye and Klassen could potentially be the best and most complete midfield in the PL bar none this season.

  38. C,

    Hi C,

    For me Ramsey could always come on for Ozil. I’ve stated my reasons for that here a few times now so won’t bore you all with them again.

  39. Wailesy,

    True and he should be his backup, I completely agree with that but in the box to box role the defensive side of Ramsey doesn’t work for me.

    With that said though he is a good player.

  40. The other positive was Welbeck scoring, if he can get 15 goals in all competitions that would be massive when coupled with everything else he brings.

  41. Wailesy,

    Fair comment, I’ve not been a big fan of Giroud as our starting CF and would have sold him BUT if he can come from the bench and be our back up/super sub I’d have to revise my opinion and say we should keep him. He seems far more effective in short bursts, given a long run as our #1 he seems to lose motivation.

    Not a wholehearted vote of confidence I know, but I’m more favourable inclined towards him the way things stand 🙂

  42. andy1886,

    Spot on. The biggest thing is what happens when Sanchez is back and Welbeck drops to the bench, IF and I know it’s a big IF he finds any sort of goal scoring form in the 10-15 range in all competitions, what does Arsene do.

  43. Wailesy,

    I struggle to see Xhaka as a B2B, apart from the odd long punt he doesn’t seem to have goals in him and isn’t exactly quick or have a great engine. I can see him in midfield three alongside Ramsey as the B2B and our fabled missing DM. But that’s in a totally new formation where we have three CD’s, two WB’s, three MF’s and two strikers (no Ozil or similar #10, sorry C!).

  44. But let 1-0 on Chelsea. Have to say, I agree with Arsene about Conte’s moaning on squad size when you consider he has loaned out Abraham, Chalobah(box to box), Zouma and Loftus-Cheek.

  45. Chelsea 0 – 1 Burnley and Cahill off with a straight red. They’re going to run out of players if they continue to collect reds at the present rate.

  46. Wailesy,

    In fact he has the potential to be more of a Brady (of the cultured left foot variety, not the serial killer 😨) than a Gerrard/Lampard, pulling the strings from the middle of the park and chipping in with the odd spectacular strike.

  47. First game of the season and a real rollercoaster!! Despite local time at kick-off being quarter past midnight, it was a sooper start to the season. In my humble opinion we would have come away with just the point without that terrific header from Giroud. Whoever’s in charge… keep Giroud in the Team please!

  48. Perhaps I did not make myself clear.
    The game was great entertainment to watch but conceding 3 at home to Leicester might be something you can dismiss blithely, but I think it is shameful.
    Portentous too.

  49. C,

    It looks like Alexis is staying, if only to save face for Wenger having stated so often that he’ll not be sold. That said I’m still of the opinion that we have bigger issues than Alexis and if he did go (£50+ to invest in a midfielder would be nice) I suspect that we’d find goals just as easy to come by but via several players rather than from one individual.

    So in answer to your question I’d want Wenger to select the best team, not a collection of best individuals. If Welbeck makes the team better I’d play him.

  50. Jonny,

    I recall that several of us said something along those lines last night, we might get away with it against Leicester but we’d get hammered against most of the big sides (for reference see AW’s record against the top six over the last half dozen seasons).

  51. andy1886,

    I have said it for quite some time, I didn’t think Sanchez was leaving and it looks more and more likely he is staying. I agree, we will score goals and keeping us gives us two legitimate goal scorers who could easily grab 15+ goals minimum a piece along with Lacazette.

    I agree though, putting out the best 11 players doesn’t work, unless they fit and are a team but we know they aren’t at Arsenal. Welbeck will go to the bench but I do think that if he can give us 10-15 goals in all competitions then it might be at the expense of Giroud giving everything else Welbeck brings with work rate and the physicality along with the pace and quickness.

    A new CM would be more thAn welcomed but if it doesn’t happen (which is looking likely) than I think Ramsey is to the midfield what Giroud is to the attack, a perfect player to be an impact sub and play in short bursts and in the cups which actually might help with his injury record and help the team.

  52. C,

    That’s a fair comment regards Ramsey. Of course we have to work within the parameters dictated by a Wenger approach, so no ripping up the plan and starting with a clean slate (in which case we could all probably suggest alternative ways to put our resources to better use).

  53. C,

    andy1886,

    C

    I struggle with Ramsey’s defensive deficiencies also and don’t see him as a pivot.

    Andy,

    Regarding Giroud I feel he hasn’t had the support of another top drawer 9 that adds something different (pace) through his entire stint with the club. No prizes for guessing who I hold accountable for that.
    Regarding Xhaka briefly, I’m not sold on him at all. He has some qualities but as many have stated here previously, he’s not comfortable in tight spaces and can’t tackle. A quality I would of thought essential for a player in his position. Probably why I’m happier for him to play at 8 as he can shoot from distance but he still needs to win the ball further up the pitch which I’m not sure he can.

  54. Gueye is BY FAR the most underrated player in the Pl, he is just as good as Kante defensively and will match what he brings in midfield work rate and for Everton and will show it this season after outperforming Kante last season.

  55. Oft, bad one for Chelsea…Only bright spot is Morata looks very decent having come on.

    Liverpool look worse than us defensively, makes you wonder, is Klopp the product of a perchance phenomenal young team who happened to come together at the right time.

    I feel ManU could win the title this year, purely because the other teams thus far look like they’ve not had a good summer.

    We’ve not seen Spurs or Man u playing yet true…

    I wonder if we’ll ditch the 3 at back when Kos, Mustafi and Per are fit and unbanned

  56. I’m sure you all know that the last time Huddersfield won the league (their third title in a row) their manager was one Herbert Chapman who later managed AFC to their first two titles. So given the connection I suppose that we should wish them well. It would be an ideal opportunity for the club to hold an event to mark the life of Chapman when the two sides meet on Wednesday November 29th too IMO.

  57. Great fun to watch. I’m not going to roll out some old chestnut about this being same old Arsenal. I’ve grown tired of my own confirmation bias, let alone other people’s. The game was just fun to watch. Chelsea and Liverpool off to less than stellar season starts. The EPL is nothing if not helter skelter.

  58. andy1886,

    Great idea my friend, perhaps we could name a stand after the great Herbert Chapman and another could be named for Wenger, perhaps behind one of the goals, it could be called the Arse End.

  59. Brighton are hanging on under intense pressure from Man City who had an earlier “goal” ruled out.

  60. Columbus Arsenal,

    How are you my friend and how has life been treating you and the Mrs?

    It was fun to watch and funny how 4 years ago me and you chatted long and hard about Lacazette and what do you know, we got him and what does he do, score a brilliant header on his debut.

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