Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Holding, Kosicelny, Monreal, Xhaka, Coquelin, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Alexis
Subs: Ospina, Gibbs, Wilshere, Giroud, Ozil, Chambers, Elneny
Arsenal survived a late penalty scare as they secured a 0-0 draw against Leicester City at the King Power stadium. Both sides toiled for the win in an entertaining end-to-end game although the Gunners can count themselves lucky that Francis Coquelin was not sent off early in the second half and that referee Mark Clattenburg opted not to award a late penalty for a clear foul by Hector Bellerin on substitute Ahmed Musa.
Arsene Wenger made a number of changes to the team that lost to Liverpool, bringing back Laurent Koscielny to partner Rob Holding at centre-half. Granit Xhaka was handed his first start, while Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came into the team in place of injured duo Aaron Ramsey and Alex Iwobi.
Jamie Vardy ran at Koscielny in the first 20 seconds, forcing a corner which came to nothing, while at the other end a Cazorla shot was deflected wide of the post.
For the most part Arsenal controlled the tempo of the game. As is their style Leicester were happy to surrender possession before pouncing on the counter but with Xhaka and Coquelin snapping into challenges we controlled the tempo of the game. The latter did pick up a booking for a foul on Vardy as his discipline deserted him.
In the final third we continued to work the left flank. Chamberlain curled a wicked effort just wide on 25 minutes, while Alexis and Xhaka shanked shots of their own. In between, on the half hour mark, Cazorla nearly found the net with a free-kick crossed into the box. Schmeichel stayed on his line as the ball bounced in the six-yard box before producing an acrobatic save to stop the ball nestling in the top corner.
At the other end Koscielny got the Gunners fans chanting his name with some expert marshalling of Mahrez and some very necessary cross blocking. The Frenchman then had to be on the top of his game three minutes before the break as Leicester stole in behind the Gunners. Mahrez sprung Vardy who was denied by Petr Cech sprawling dive before Kos nicked the loose ball from the feet of Danny Drinkwater with a desperate last ditch challenge.
The home fans howled for a penalty but referee Mark Clattenburg was unconvinced. Replays suggested it was touch and go.
Having been cautioned in the first half Francis Coquelin was lucky to stay on the pitch when he took down Mahrez on the edge of the box. Clattenburg, thankfully for Arsenal, bottled the decision before the Algerian fired the set-piece just over.
The game began to open up on the hour mark as both sides probed. A mistake by Xhaka freed Vardy for a run on goal but, under pressure from Koscielny, the striker couldn’t hit the target.
With 18 minutes remaining Wenger removed Xhaka and Cazorla in favour of Wilshere and Ozil. The German turned on the style immediately, spinning on a sixpence on the touchline to spring an attack that ended with a left-foot attempt by Walcott. The final throw of the dice saw Giroud replace Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Walcott should have passed to the Frenchman but opted to go it alone following a tidy through ball by Bellerin on 80 minutes. On the touchline, Wenger was left howling furiously.
A frantic last five minutes saw both sides have chances. Ozil was denied by Schmeichel after great work by Alexis. Musa, on as a sub for Albrighton, then went down under pressure from Bellerin and should have been given a penalty. In response, Walcott went up the other end and failed with a dinked chip. Deep into stoppage time Cech parried a Mahrez shot low at his near post. There was still time for one last Leicester effort as Drinkwater’s free-kick, awarded after a foul by Holding, hit the wall.
It was the final action of the game as Clattenburg called time on proceedings.