What is it about Arsenal that no matter what we do, we just can’t seem to best them? The last time we scored three goals against the Gunners it was that classic in 1997 where Steve Walsh scored the final goal in the 90th minute to make it 3-3. Leicester’s last victory in the league against them was in 1994, a 2-1 thanks to goals from Ian Ormondroyd and David Lowe. That’s 23 years, people.
The Foxes wasted no time showing their attacking desire against Arsenal, quickly equalizing through Shinji Okazaki after giving the early lead up via Alexandre Lacazette. New man Harry Maguire added the assist for Shinji’s goal, an unlikely lethal combination. The Blue Samurai finished the match with 50% shot accuracy, 50% pass accuracy and won 43% of his duels.
The man of the match for me was our next goalscorer, Jamie Vardy. He scored the second and third goal of the match for the Foxes and was someone we desperately need to get some early confidence. Having now scored five goals against the team that tried to sign him last summer, you’d almost be silly not to bet on Vardy bagging a goal when we next face them at the King Power in March.
Vardy was perfect on the day with two shots and two goals. Both came within his favored six yard box, one with his right foot and the other with his head. I’d be a fool not to mention the fantastic assist down the left flank from Marc Albrighton—what a perfectly weighted pass that was! Riyad Mahrez also popped his head up for a few minutes and played a sweet ball from the corner for Vardy to put away.
It wasn’t the perfect start to the Wes Morgan and Harry Maguire partnership, but I have a feeling the two will work out just fine in the end. For now, let’s take a look at their stats side by side.
Morgan failed to win a tackle while Maguire was only 50%. Big Wes also failed the majority of his headed duels. Now I’m not saying these all lead directly to goals, but it’s not a very big confidence boost when your centerbacks are 2/6 where tackling is concerned.
Each player had eight defensive actions against Arsenal, and while this data is only from one match, it will be interesting to see which strengths they each play to. Wes had one interception to Harry’s two. Maguire actually managed more blocks, three, than Morgan, two, which surprised me because it always seems like he’s blocked ten shots a match. Wes Morgan lead the two with five clearances to Harry Maguire’s three.
While no defense wants to start their first match of the season allowing four goals, there were only two really apparent defensive errors that lead to goals. Mahrez’s turnover in midfield just before halftime and that disaster of a man-marking job where four Gunners were left wide open. I guess what I’m saying is there wasn’t that distinct nervousness coursing through my veins when we’d turn the ball over Friday as there was all last season.
Matt’s Favorite Stat
For a bit of fun each week I’ll start leaving you with my favorite stat so far of the season. It may be from the last match, or something I come upon as the season goes on, but I’ll try and keep it relevant to this season. So for this week’s, the magical number is two! Two being the amount of goals we’ve scored from corner kicks! Get in.