Arsenal 3-1 Leicester City: Premier League – as it happened

Ben Fisher on 22 October 2018

Read David Hytner’s report from the Emirates Stadium:

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Héctor Bellerín talks post-match. “It has been a difficult game, they’ve put us in some trouble, but we stood up. In the second half when the football started flowing we were finding a bit more space. Leicester are a team who press on the front foot and have a lot of pace in the final third. It’s very hard to defend and we knew we were going to have those problems to deal with. Once we had the ball more and they were probably feeling a bit more tired, we could find more space and play our football better. What is important is to get a good reaction. We know if we play the football we can we’re going to have the chances.”

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Those Arsenal goals were stunning. Talking of slick team moves:

That victory pushes Arsenal up into fourth, above Tottenham Hotspur. It is the first time they have won 10 consecutive matches in all competitions for since October 2007, when they went on a 12-game winning run. Leicester stay 11th after back-to-back league defeats for the second time this term.

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Full-time: Arsenal 3-1 Leicester City

It’s 10 straight wins for Unai Emery. After an unconvincing start, Arsenal turn on the style, with a couple of vintage goals helping them to what was, in the end, a straightforward victory. Mesut Özil was quite magnificent in the second half, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring two goals off the bench.

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90 min: There will be three added minutes.

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90 min: Leicester move upfield on the attack. Ghezzal drifts inside before letting fly, but his left-footed effort is painfully wayward. That sums up Leicester’s second half.

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87 min: Jamie Vardy has gone down the tunnel, jogging off the pitch with a little limp after a brief conversation with Claude Puel. Leicester have used all of their substitutes but seem pretty happy to let the striker head to the dressing room.

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86 min: Leicester have gone to pieces. Arsenal are poking fun at them, Iwobi nutmegging his way upfield and Aubameyang beaming with joy.

84 min: Lacazette should score, but cannot convert Iwobi’s teasing ball into the box. The Frenchman bites his tongue in frustration, but Arsenal are already in party-mode. They’re having fun.

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82 min: Aubameyang tries to tee up Ramsey, but Leicester clear their lines. But it comes straight back at the them. They just cannot live with Arsenal at the moment. The hosts are irrepressible.

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80 min: Özil is withdrawn to a standing ovation. He leaves the field a very happy man. He surely will not polarise opinion tonight. Aaron Ramsey is on, with Arsenal well and truly in cruise control.

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78 min: Schmeichel somehow denies Lacazette! Iwobi and Özil work it nicely down the left, with the latter laying a low ball on a plate for the Frenchman. But Schmeichel instinctively keeps it out. Arsenal are totally running this game.

76 min: Want second-half possession stats? Arsenal 81%.

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75 min: Lucas Torreira is rolling around on the floor, hurt by a late challenge from Marc Albrighton, who has already been booked. Arsenal have been readying Aaron Ramsey for a little while.

74 min: Shinji Okazaki replaces James Maddison.

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73 min: Olé! Olé! That’s the sound as Arsenal pass the ball around for fun. They are really enjoying themselves out there now.

70 min: Maguire tries to find Maddison, but just overhits the pass. Leicester have been reduced to spectator roles this half. Arsenal have been truly untouchable, with Mesut Özil so classy on the ball. His assist for Aubameyang a moment ago was daringly delightful.

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69 min: Bellerin is tearing it up down the right flank. Running on to a loose Amartey pass, he almost plays in Lacazette for what would have been a very easy fourth. Leicester make another change, with Ghezzal introduced in place of Ricardo Pereira.

GOAL! Arsenal 3-1 Leicester (Aubameyang, 66)

What a wonderful goal this is! Arsenal turn on the style, with an irresistible sweeping move upfield rounded off by the substitute. Hector Bellerin and Mesut Özil are again involved, but fellow sub Mattéo Guendouzi was at the heart of it, doing superbly on halfway to get things start. Arsenal have blown Leicester away in a couple of rip-roaring minutes. That was a gorgeous team goal.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scores another close-range goal.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scores another close-range goal. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters

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64 min: Mesut Özil was dreadful for 44 minutes, but has been magnificent since. A couple of yellow cards for Leicester to compound a miserable few minutes too, with Pereira and Albrighton going into the book.

GOAL! Arsenal 2-1 Leicester (Aubameyang, 63)

How about that for an impact? Mesut Özil plays a sumptuous ball through to Hector Bellerin, who had ghosted inside Ben Chilwell, and the full-back’s low cross is swept home by the substitute.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sweeps home Bellerin’s cross.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sweeps home Bellerin’s cross. Photograph: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

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60 min: A double change for Arsenal: Henrikh Mkhitaryan is replaced by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mattéo Guendouzi is on for Stephan Lichtsteiner. Claude Puel also tweaks personnel, with Marc Albrighton on in place of Iheanacho. A replay of that Ndidi effort shows how Leno tried and failed to punch the ball clear, with the Leicester midfielder beating him to it but heading against the bar.

58 min: Ndidi’s rattles the crossbar! A fierce corner by Maddison is met by the Leicester midfielder, who powers a crashing header at goal. It cannons off the bar and just away from a lurking Maguire. Arsenal come away unscathed. Ndidi, though, is still trying to work out how he has not scored.

Wilfred Ndidi header hits the crossbar.
Wilfred Ndidi header hits the crossbar. Photograph: Mark Leech/Offside/Getty Images

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57 min: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is among the Arsenal substitutes stretching down by the dugout. Anyway, Leicester win a corner ...

55 min: Mendy makes a hash of his clearance, gifting Arsenal a throw-in just inside the Leicester half and another platform from which to attack. It really is all Arsenal. Leicester will not be able to survive another 40 minutes of this.

53 min: It’s one-way traffic now. Arsenal are pouring forward, with Leicester camped in their own half. Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have both come to the fore at the start of this second half. Down on the touchline, Claude Puel wants the old Leicester back, the Leicester that had Arsenal running ragged.

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51 min: Arsenal have made a much better start to this half. They’re shifting through the gears in a bid to poke their noses in front.

50 min: Henrikh Mkhitaryan fires just wide! It was a glorious chance, all of Leicester’s own doing. A sloppy Mendy backpass, meant for Schmeichel, is seized on by Lacazette who dinks the ball into the box but the Armenian slices his effort on goal. Leicester get away with it.

A chance for Henrikh Mkhitaryan’ but his shot goes wide.
A chance for Henrikh Mkhitaryan’ but his shot goes wide. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters

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49 min: Iwobi flashes a cross towards the back post in search of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, before Vardy clatters into Özil. Arsenal win a free-kick 25 yards from goal. Xhaka will deliver ...

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48 min: Lichtsteiner looks to pick out Iwobi but instead hands possession straight back to Leicester. Arsenal are seeing plenty of the ball, with the visitors being made to merely soak it up for the time being.

46 min: Pereira blocks Lichtsteiner seconds into the second half, allowing Arsenal to control the tempo. They’ll be desperate to pick up from where they left off.

A quick stat, courtesy of Opta: Mesut Özil is now the highest scoring German player in Premier League history (30 goals).

Some half-time emails, then. “Is it just me or did Arsenal have the urgency of a team who feared a half-time bollocking after conceding the goal?” asks Ben Simmons. “And when was the last time we saw that?” Colum adds: “Do you think there has been much of a change in Arsenal’s style under Emery? Tonight’s shape and style is Wenger-like, with bringing ball-and-team forward in neat passes, overlapping fullbacks and wobbly defending.”

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Half-time: Arsenal 1-1 Leicester City

An entertaining first 45 minutes, with Mesut Özil, captaining Arsenal this evening, equalising on the brink of the interval. An exquisite finish, but until then Arsenal had rarely threatened. Leicester had dominated, with England trio James Maddison, Ben Chilwell and Harry Maguire particularly influential. Claude Puel’s side should of had a penalty too, given Rob Holding practically punched the ball up into the air, but the referee was unmoved. If the second half’s as good as the first, we’re in for a treat.

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GOAL! Arsenal 1-1 Leicester (Özil, 45)

It’s a beautiful finish. The Germany midfielder starts and finishes a slick Arsenal move at the end of a difficult half. He feeds Bellerin out on the right, before meeting the defender’s low cross. He runs on to it, effortlessly guiding the ball into the bottom corner with his next touch. Just like that, Unai Emery’s side are level.

Mesut Ozil guides the ball past Schmeichel.
Mesut Ozil guides the ball past Schmeichel. Photograph: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

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42 min: A nervy few minutes for Leicester, with Amartey swiping the ball away from danger, with Lacazette lurking. Puel is frantically telling his players to regroup and pick up their respective men. They suddenly look like a team that needs half-time.

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41 min: Leicester ride their luck a little, as Xhaka’s corner, via Holding, drops in the six-yard box, but Ndidi hacks clear. Arsenal are finishing this half much better than they started it. And now Iwobi wins another corner ...

39 min: Xhaka shoots wide! Maddison had fouled Torreira, and Arsenal won a free-kick 25 yards from goal. Arsenal hounded the referee, arguing the Leicester midfielder should be booked but nothing’s doing. Other than the last couple of minutes, Leicester have totally dictated this game.

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37 min: Mkhitaryan gifts the ball to Maddison, but the Leicester playmaker has a rare off-moment. Arsenal are enjoying plenty of possession, but can they do anything with it? Leicester have got plenty of blue shirts behind the ball.

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36 min: Arsenal clear the free-kick, after making an initial mess of it. Iwobi nutmegs Pereira as he turns on the style, galloping down the left wing before the hosts push forward down the opposite flank. Lacazette wins a corner, but Leicester take the sting out of Xhaka’s cross. Arsenal are trying to up the ante, at least.

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35 min: Iwobi almost latches on to a high ball straight over the top of Leicester’s defence, but Schmeichel rushes out to meet it. And now Xhaka is booked for a crunching, ankle-biting challenge on James Maddison. He will doubtless look for Maguire once more.

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33 min: Xhaka hits it – but Schmeichel tips over! It was probably just heading over, but the Leicester goalkeeper makes doubly sure. Arsenal flight the ball back in, but Mustafi’s header drops straight into Schmeichel’s hands. Emery looks a little concerned down in the dugout. Leicester have been brilliant.

Granit Xhaka sees his free-kick saved by Schmeichel.
Granit Xhaka sees his free-kick saved by Schmeichel. Photograph: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

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32 min: Arsenal win a free-kick after Ndidi crashes into Lacazette. It’s in a dangerous position, 20 yards from goal. Xhaka and Özil both fancy it. Schmeichel readies a five-man wall.

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GOAL! Arsenal 0-1 Leicester (Chilwell, 31)

Leicester press Arsenal into trouble and Ben Chilwell eventually profits, with the left-back charging down the flank, racing beyond Bellerin and his deflected effort outwits Bernd Leno. It totally bamboozles the Arsenal goalkeeper. It’s a slice of luck, but a thoroughly deserved lead.

Ben Chilwell’s cross deflects off Bellerin.
Ben Chilwell’s cross deflects off Bellerin. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Goalkeeper Bernd Leno is wrong-footed by the deflection.
Goalkeeper Bernd Leno is wrong-footed by the deflection. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters

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29 min: Mesut Özil passes the ball straight out of play.

27 min: Another brilliant Leicester move, with Vardy leaping high to try and meet Pereira’s cross from the right. That was a lovely bit of play, with Maddison again at the heart of things. Mesut Özil, it must be said, has been totally anonymous by comparison. Leicester look a real threat every time they attack.

26 min: Lacazette sends a stinging effort over the bar. The ball breaks kindly, pinballing off Maguire and Ndidi, before the Frenchman lets fly. On target, it would be unstoppable.

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25 min: Bellerin v Chilwell is proving an intriguing battle. This time the Arsenal defender bombs down the right and delivers a neat cross, but Schmeichel is there to gather. Moments later, down the opposite flank, Ricardo Pereira is a little late on Lichtsteiner, so Arsenal rebuild. Can they gain some grip on this game?

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23 min: Leicester deal with a couple of Xhaka corners, and Kasper Schmeichel boots the ball upfield as they look to attack once more.

21 min: Mustafi comes flying forward with the ball, but he is ushered out towards the wing and away from goal. He shoots goalwards from an acute angle and his effort is painfully tame. They’ll go again, with Nampalys Mendy cutting the ball out from Hector Bellerin, conceding a corner in the process.

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19 min: Leno saves from Maguire! It’s deja vu, as another Maddison free-kick is floated in and Maguire is totally unmarked at the back post. He nods it across goal but Leno gets down low to his left to claw the ball away for a corner. Chilwell then hammers a shot low and hard, but his effort is deflected away. Arsenal badly need some respite. They’ve been poor.

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17 min: Big handball shouts against Rob Holding! That should be a penalty. Maddison flights in a deep free-kick, it’s flicked on by Harry Maguire and then Maddison heads it on in search of Iheanacho. But as the ball drops, Holding’s hand is clearly raised and makes contact with it. Claude Puel looks particularly irked on the touchline. Only Maguire really was kicking and screaming for a penalty. That’s a big call. The Emirates is eerily quiet. Arsenal have not been exactly convincing so far here.

Rob Holding handles the ball away from Kelechi Iheanacho.
Rob Holding handles the ball away from Kelechi Iheanacho. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA

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15 min: Maddison himself steps up to take it, but his curling effort is wayward. That was really soft territory to give Leicester. And as they try to break once more, Holding pulls at Iheanacho and is not quite so lucky. The 23-year-old defender goes into Chris Kavanagh’s book.

14 min: This time Maguire picks out Chilwell perfectly, and Leicester build some on solid possession down the right. Maddison lets the ball run across his body before being tugged back by Granit Xhaka, who is fortunate to avoid a booking. Leicester have a free-kick 20 yards from goal, a few yards off centre.

13 min: Stephan Lichtsteiner drifts infield unchallenged, and with few options on, he blasts an effort at goal. It’s always rising.

11 min: Amartey does well to bomb down the right before pinging in a cross, but Arsenal just about clear their lines. For a moment, Leicester looked really dangerous. Arsenal seem susceptible to those marauding runs down either flank, with Chilwell heavily involved down the left and likewise Amartey down the right.

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10 min: Leicester look to slide in Jamie Vardy, but Leno is smart off his line to sweep away the danger. Iheanacho’s ball was clever, but his strike-partner could not quite get on the end of it. Leicester have some real raw pace in just about every department.

9 min: Maguire wellies the ball upfield in search of Chilwell, who was rampaging down the left, but the newly-capped England defender cannot get there. Nice idea, though.

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7 min: Xhaka and Torreira get hold of the ball on halfway, knocking it around nicely as Arsenal probe for an opening. Amartey and Lacazette clash in the box, but half-hearted penalty appeals are frankly just that. Leicester are finding joy down the flanks, with their athleticism something Arsenal need to be really wary of, especially on the counter.

6 min: Iheanacho bends an effort goalwards, but Leno is equal to it, palming away down to his right for a Leicester corner. It comes in towards Maguire but Leicester hold on to the ball just inside the Arsenal half.

5 min: Lacazette collects the ball from close to the halfway line, and neatly nudges the ball out wide to the overlapping Bellerin. But again, it is Chilwell who gets in to intervene. Leicester break on the counter ...

4 min: Suddenly Bellerin looks to charge down the right, but Chilwell reads it all the way to intercept. Arsenal have to start over.

3 min: The ball arcs its way back in from the Leicester right, but Bernd Leno, continuing in goal this evening, collects.

2 min: Iheanacho shoots over! A brilliant ball by Ndidi into the channel vacated by Lichtsteiner, who is 30 yards upfield. The Leicester forward cuts inside Rob Holding, the Arsenal defender who eventually deflects Iheanacho’s effort over. The resulting corner comes in, but Arsenal head clear.

Kelechi Iheanacho gets an early chance.
Kelechi Iheanacho gets an early chance. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters

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1 min: Chilwell makes an early best down the left, before Arsenal turnover possession, with Bernd Leno booting the ball upfield.. Stephan Lichtsteiner, the Swiss captain, starts at left-back for Unai Emery’s side.

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Peeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

Leicester get things started in north London.

The teams are out of the tunnel at the Emirates Stadium, and we’re just a few handshakes and quick blast of Fatboy Slim away from kick-off. Can Arsenal make it 10 wins in a row?

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Unai Emery talks. “It is work for 90 minutes,” he says. “We need to do one match very competitive with and without the ball. The high-pressing is very tough with Vardy and Iheanacho.” Claude Puel, the Leicester manager, says. “They [Arsenal] like to attack, for us it is the same feeling. I think and I hope it will be a good balance, with good chances to win the game. We had a good rest after the international games. I have a good feeling.”

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Lacazette is beginning to look at home in an Arsenal shirt, but the forward began his career at Lyon with Claude Puel, who will be in the opposition dugout at the Emirates Stadium this evening. “He is a complete player with good transition with the ball and without the ball,” Puel said. “He works all the time and he has kept his clinical edge and I am not surprised about his quality and his good work with Arsenal. At the beginning he was always a striker but to find a place and get game time in the team he started as a winger.”

Alexandre Lacazette
Alexandre Lacazette, right, celebrates for Lyon during the 2010 Emirates Cup. Photograph: Olly Greenwood/AFP/Getty Images

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Headline team news: Arsenal make two changes from that thumping 5-1 win over Fulham, with Mesut Özil replacing Danny Welbeck, while Nacho Monreal remains out with a tight hamstring, so Stephan Lichtsteiner makes his first Premier League start. Alexandre Lacazette makes his 50th appearance for the club, but Aaron Ramsey remains on the bench. For the Foxes, the defender Jonny Evans comes in to replace the suspended Wes Morgan.

Mesut Özil.
Mesut Özil returns. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

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The teams!

Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Lichtsteiner, Torreira, Xhaka, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Iwobi, Lacazette

Subs: Ramsey, Aubameyang, Welbeck, Martinez, Guendouzi, Smith-Rowe, Medley

Leicester: Schmeichel, Amartey, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell, Mendy, Ndidi, Ricardo Pereira, Iheanacho, Maddison, Vardy

Subs: Soyuncu, Albrighton, Ward, Okazaki, Iborra, Fuchs, Ghezzal

Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Lancashire)

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Preamble

Unai Emery thinks “we’ve got our Arsenal back” chants are a little premature, but try telling the red half of north London that if his team extend their match-winning run to 10 matches. They have not tasted defeat since 18 August and their form since could be described as peerless were it not for Manchester City still effortlessly stuffing teams for five and six. “I think we need to improve a lot,” Emery said. “Our demands need to be very high. The supporters can enjoy it with us but also we’re speaking with our reality every day.”

For Leicester, whose manager Claude Puel will celebrate a year in charge on Thursday, it is an opportunity to showcase their young talent. A trio of flourishing England internationals, Ben Chilwell, Harry Maguire and James Maddison have all impressed this season, but the jury is still out on Puel himself. His future remains the elephant in the room, despite a fairly sound start to this campaign. The lineups will be upon us shortly, but fit-again Mesut Özil is likely to feature, while Alexandre Lacazette, who started his career with Puel at Lyon, has four goals in five matches.

Kick-off: 8pm (BST)

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