Unai Emery could have done with a better result than this on the eve of the last international break of the year, though the Arsenal manager believes he will still be in charge when Southampton visit the Emirates in a fortnight.
“We have time to recover,” Emery said after the 2-0 defeat at the King Power. “I know we are receiving criticism and I can accept it, that is normal if you are not winning matches. But my message to everyone at Arsenal would be to stay calm because we can improve.”
Emery is not blind to his team’s faults, however, and recognised that though Arsenal competed well enough when the scores were level, they fell away alarmingly once Leicester took the lead. “When they scored the first goal maybe that was the moment we lost the possibility to do anything in the game,” he admitted. “Before that our attitude had been good and I was pleased with the way we stuck to the gameplan we worked out.
“We had our moments, but so did Leicester and they scored from theirs. We need some more passion in our game, we need to restore some confidence, but we were playing a very good side. There is still a long way to go in the season and, though it is true that Leicester and Chelsea are pulling away from us, we are still above Manchester United and Tottenham in the table.”
Whether that will satisfy Emery’s critics is debatable, though everyone at Arsenal will agree with what the manager thinks should happen next. “The first thing we need to do is get stronger at home,” he said. “We want to feel confident about winning at home, just like Leicester do. The reason we lost this game was because Leicester are in a good moment but also because they are always confident and strong when they play at home.”
Brendan Rodgers was not about to disagree with that. “All round it was a very good win,” the Leicester manager said. “Once we scored the first goal we took control of the game. I think it was a compliment to us that Arsenal reverted to a back five; I think the last time we saw them do that was in the Europa League final against Chelsea. Arsenal can hurt you on the counterattack but we managed the game very well. We attacked with confidence and showed steel in defence.”
Jamie Vardy scored the all-important first goal and Rodgers paid tribute to his striker’s ability and work rate. “Obviously I saw him a lot before I came to this club, and I’ve always been impressed with his positioning and efficiency,” Rodgers said. “He’s always in the area where he will get opportunities and due to the economy of his game he always has the energy to put themaway.”