Result: Arsenal 4 – 2 Leiceister City
Competition: Premier League
Date: 13 August 2022
Venue: The Emirates Stadium
Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard, Martinelli, Saka, Jesus
Subs: Turner, Tierney, Tomiyasu, Holding, Elneny, Lokonga, Smith Rowe, Pepe, Nketiah
The first league match at home was a goal fest as Arsenal won 4-2. The Gunners showed slick movement and passing with 4 excellent goals but would also be disappointed conceding 2 goals.
Jesus caught the headlines with 2 goals in the first half but an own goal by Saliba halved the lead early in the second half. A Maddison strike sandwiched goals by Xhaka and Martinelli as fans were treated to an exciting exhibition of attacking play.
Arteta named an unchanged side from the Crystal Palace match for the Gunners’ first home game of the season.
The return of Smith Rowe and Tomiyasu on the bench strengthened the team as Arsenal attempted to claim their second win in two weeks.
A very hot afternoon at the Emirates played host to a strong start by both Arsenal and Leicester City. The teams were lively with their movement but also stayed organised as they felt each other out on the pitch.
Jesus and Martinelli stood out for their energy and were a handful for the opposing defence. The latter was a menace to Fofana in the opening minutes with his direct dribbling, earning the defender a yellow as he pulled the Brazillian back down the left.
The Arsenal left side also posed problems to the team in blue. In possession, Zinchenko took up the inside left channel of the midfield area, allowing Xhaka to drift from left midfield to pop up in central attacking areas. Xhaka’s movement surprised Leicester as he continually appeared in the box to support the forwards.
The Swiss had an attempt at the back post ricochet off the post but his next touch in the box was a feathered lay off for Jesus who nonchalantly chipped the ball over the head of Danny Ward to move Arsenal ahead at home. 1-0 Arsenal
If the first goal showed Jesus’ technical skill, his second was a display of his poacher’s instincts. Martinelli floated in a corner which was flicked on at the near post. The change in the ball’s trajectory caused some confusion but Jesus was sharper than most. He was at the back post to receive and head in unopposed to double his tally for the day. 2-0 Arsenal
The goals breathed even more life into the team, with Jesus especially dangerous as the spearhead of the attack. The striker could have had a couple more goals if not for Ward saving Leicester’s skin in goal.
The Foxes reminded Arsenal of their counter attacking prowess with Vardy an outball for the away team. Arsenal was almost victim to such a counter at the end of the half as Leicester released Vardy down the inside right channel. Ramsdale came out to intercept and looked to have knocked into the wily old fox. For once, VAR did its job to overturn the penalty decision as contact looked minimal.
Arsenal deserved their lead. Their free flowing movement and intensity penned back a decent Leicester side with Jesus the standout player.
Leiceister pushed up high after the break to find a breakthrough but the Gunners were resolute in cutting out the passing lanes and in winning their duels. However, all it took was a mistake to bring Leicester back into the game. Evans lofted a long pass into the penalty box and Saliba intercepted the ball with a header as he ran back towards his goal.
However, Saliba couldn’t get his angle right and the ball sneaked past Ramsdale for an own goal. 2-1 Leicester
Arsenal didn’t have to wait long to restore their 2 goal lead. It was Leicester’s time to make a mistake as Ward spilled a simple ball into the feet of Jesus. The skirmish found Xhaka, making one of many good runs into the box during the game, who rifled the ball home. 3-1 Arsenal
The Gunners were not out of the woods yet. Maddison was central to Leicester’s improved possession and dictated the play for the Foxes from deep. His run up the right surprised Arsenal and his shot from an acute angle caught Ramsdale out. The ball zipped between Ramdale’s legs to make it 3-2 Leicester
Again, Arsenal responded immediately. The home side countered quickly and found Martinelli on the left hand side, just outside the box. He striked the ball with his left foot, driving the ball low and across goal to make it 4-2 Arsenal
It could have been 5-2 with a Jesus hattrick but the Brazillian would regret missing an open chance with his left foot 10 minutes from time. Jesus and Saka made way at the end for Nketiah and Smith Rowe to keep the tempo up.
Towards the final minutes, Partey hit the post and Nketiah drew a couple of good saves from Ward. The match ended 4-2 with the attacking display a positive though Arteta might have a word about defensive solidity in some key moments.
Most importantly, Arsenal continued their perfect start to the season.