Belfast Telegraph

Arsene Wenger's men lack cutting edge and forced to settle for draw

Leicester City 1 - Arsenal 1

By Jack Pitt Brooke

Arsene Wenger's analysis was that Arsenal could still have won this match without extra, better strikers but not everyone thought that way after watching them labour their way through a tight draw with Leicester City.

The travelling Arsenal fans made their feelings very clear at the final whistle – they want to see real movement in the transfer market today – but only one man's judgement counts and he was sat in the dugout, not the away end, at the King Power Stadium in the late-summer sun yesterday afternoon.

Arsenal might well be pleased enough with this point – taking them to five from their first three games of the Premier League season – but they did not deserve anything more, having done almost nothing to threaten Leicester City. "Our game wasn't quick, sharp or simple enough," Wenger said afterwards, "We didn't look like we could finish the game off."

Their one goal, from Alexis Sanchez, was set up by a poor Yaya Sanogo shot and even worse defending from four Leicester players.

This was Sanogo's first competitive start of the season – he began the Community Shield, and lasted 45 minutes – and he looked as rusty and clumsy as might be expected. His first involvement set the tone, when a poor touch from a Santi Cazorla pass allowed Liam Moore to take the ball away from him. Fortunately for Arsenal, though, it was Sanogo's treatment of his next opportunity that put them into the lead.

Cazorla, Arsenal's best attacking player in a rather flat performance, took a pass from Aaron Ramsey, 20 yards from goal. Assessing the options in front of him, Cazorla flipped a pass over the Leicester defence to Sanogo, to the right of goal. The 21-year-old striker, still without a senior goal for Arsenal, tried a difficult right-footed volley but scuffed it and it hit Kasper Schmeichel. Leicester's defending was generally good but in this case it was not, and the ball rolled slowly across the goal, through three blue shirts, to Alexis Sanchez who tapped it in.

While they were recorded as having had 24 shots, Nigel Pearson could honestly say afterwards that he "didn't feel particularly threatened".

The best striker's performance of the match, in fact, came from Leonardo Ulloa, Leicester City's record signing and the man who ensured they took their deserved point here. Forming an unlikely partnership with David Nugent, Ulloa put himself about all afternoon, running the channels, chasing the ball and scoring a brilliant header, two minutes after Sanchez's strike.

Jeffrey Schlupp raced down the left wing, receiving a return pass and bursting away from Per Mertesacker. He floated a perfect cross towards goal where Ulloa peeled away from Laurent Koscielny and headed the ball emphatically past Wojciech Szczesny.

Koscielny had just spent four minutes off the field with a head injury, sustained in a clash with Schlupp, and having continued to bleed he was replaced by Callum Chambers almost immediately after Ulloa's goal. Wenger said the goal would not have happened had Koscielny not been hurt and while he may be right, Ulloa and Leicester both deserved it.

Ulloa missed the best chance to win the match, eight minutes after the interval.

He decided to chip the ball and never connected right, his shot hitting the side netting.

In the end both sides had to settle for a point.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph