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MATCH REPORT: Leicester City 0 – 2 Arsenal

Leicester City (0) 0 Arsenal (2) 2

Premier League

King Power Stadium, Filbert Way, Leicester LE2 7FL

Saturday, 30th October 2021. Kick-off time: 12.30pm

(4-4-1-1) Aaron Ramsdale; Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Gabriel Magalhães, Nuno Tavares; Bukayo Saka, Thomas Partey, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Emile Smith-Rowe; Alexandre Lacazette; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Substitutes: Bernd Leno, Martin Ødegaard, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Rob Holding, Cédric Soares, Nicolas Pépé, Mohamed Elneny, Sead Kolašinac, Gabriel Martinelli.

Scorers: Gabriel (5 mins), Emile Smith-Rowe (18 mins)

Arsenal Possession Percentage: 38%

Referee: Michael Oliver

Assistant Referees: Simon Bennett, Dan Robathan

Fourth Official: Robert Jones

VAR Team at Stockley Park: VAR Jarred Gillett; AVAR Sian Massey-Ellis

Attendance: 32,209

We all recognise that today’s match at the King Power Stadium will be a difficult one, hence the change in formation. Again, we have both of our main strikers on show right from the start, so it will be interesting to see if we can punch a hole through the Foxes’ defence, utilising this attack-minded formation, and along with a powerful four-man midfield, it should all make for an interesting Saturday lunchtime clash.

After a moving Remembrance Day ceremony involving both managers laying wreaths in the centre circle on behalf of the fallen of both world wars, we kicked the match off in earnest, showing intent by taking the game to the home side in the early stages. After just five minutes, we scored the opening goal, courtesy of Gabriel. Shortly after a first Arsenal corner was kicked out for a second, Gabriel rose to meet the high delivery to flick his header past Kasper Schmeichel and into the net. This early goal fired our boys up, and both Thomas Partey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were desperately unlucky in not scoring a second goal for us shortly afterwards. The home side looked a little all at sea, almost nonplussed after our early strike, and they seemed to be having issues in getting themselves together against a very confident Arsenal side. Our confidence paid dividends, when after eighteen minutes, we grabbed a second goal when Alexandre Lacazette looked like he wass going to shoot in the penalty area but the ball ran away from him. Jonny Evans’ clerance was poor and Emile Smith-Rowe was on hand on the edge of the eighteen-yard box to neatly slot the ball into the back of the Foxes’ net. We were completely dominating the match at this point of the game, with every man playing their part and confidently knowing their role within the system. Aaron Ramsdale was called into action after twenty-six minutes, when he dived at the feet of Youri Tielemens to deny the home side a scoring opportunity; and again a minute or so later, he pushed a dificult shot from Kelechi Iheanacho past the right-hand post to show everyone what a fine goalkeeper this young man truly is. Leicester City’s game plan appears to be one-dimensional, in as much that they are attacking us straight down the middle of the pitch, a move which our defenders are finding it a comfortable process in dealing with this particular simple tactic. The match started to level out, and although both sides had their chances, it mostly came to nothing in the midfield areas. Incredibly, three minutes from the break, a James Maddison free-kick was superbly saved by Aaron Ramsdale, and although Jonny Evans followed in, Thomas Partey managed to kick the ball away to save the day. Incredible drama. The two minutes injury time brought no more action, and so we went into half-time deservedly two goals ahead.

The home side kicked off the second half, and suddenly the match became more intense and quick with both teams challenging with gusto and vigour. Ben White and Nuno Tavares at the back were excellent in their positioning and tackling, and it was their quick thinking on several occasions that prevented the Foxes from scoring, as the home side started to assert themselves in the first quarter of an hour of the second half. Alexandre Lacazette was replaced by Martin Ødegaard after fifty-seven minutes, but the substitution was not enough to stop the home side from increasing the pressure on our goal; Aaron Ramsdale was abolutely immense today, throwing his body in front of each and every shot from the Leicester City forwards. A sterling performance by the young man between the sticks. Time after time our defence was placed under intense pressure at the mid-way point of the match, and every time they stood up to be counted in order to deny the home side the oxygen of a goal. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang nearly scored a valuable third goal when Kasper Schmeichel saved from him from close range, and shortly afterwards Bukayo Saka was also very unlucky not to score when his mid-range shot went skywards. The match started to get rather scrappy now, with one or two unsavoury incidents here and there, which saw free-kicks being given liberally by referee Michael Oliver, followed by entries in his book with the yellow card being shown on a couple of occasions. After Martin Ødegaard went to ground following a bad tackle, Bukayo Saka was replaced by Nicolas Pépé with just six minutes of the match remaining. The match started to lose some of its previous fire and fury now, and with two minutes of the game remaining, Emile Smith-Rowe was replaced by Sead Kolašinac in order to shore up the defence in the dying embers of this battle. In the five minutes’ injury time, our game management was the difference between the two sides, and we kept our heads to take three points back to North London, and now fifth in the Premiership table.

All things being equal, a fabulous performance by all concerned. Aaron Ramsdale was truly magnificent today, a world-class performance from a goalkeeper that will surely grow in stature from now on. Arsenal looked good, played with confidence and are now nine matches undefeated across all competitions; we left the King Power with no injuries and no bookings, add to that the players adapting very well to the 4-4-1-1formation (which oscillated between that and 4-4-2 at different times during the match) then you have a recipe for sucess. Keep going lads, you’re looking good.

Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: Watford at Vicarage Road on Sunday, 7th November at 2.00pm (Premier League). Be there, if you can. Victoria Concordia Crescit.

Steve

Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.

Arsenal sensory room “turned first game into a great memory”

Last night I took my son to Arsenal for his first match. He was buzzing all day for it.

I wasn’t sure if it he’d ever go as he has autism.

Once we were in the ground he struggled with about 50,000 people shouting and was having a hard time.

Halfway through the 1st half I could see he wasn’t going to get used to it so we had to leave.

When we left the stadium, a steward (blonde lady, wish i got her name), asked why we were leaving and I told her. She asked me to hold on and contacted someone else.

Next thing I know, we’re being walked towards club level.

Arsenal have got a sensory room there where we could watch the rest of the match.

The gentleman running the room, Luke Howard, was fantastic. As was everyone in there.

Between Luke & the stewards that helped, it turned my lads first game night into a great memory.

Dave


Arsenal have two sensory viewing rooms, opened in September 2017.

The club worked in conjunction with The Shippey Campaign, who call Arsenal’s two rooms “a wonderful sensory haven”.

The Shippey Campaign was set up by Kate Shippey MBE & Peter Shippey MBE.

They have 3 children with autism and the eldest, Nathan, fell in love with football.

In 2014 they took Nathan to his first game – armed with ear defenders, headphones with his favourite music, hats, ear plugs and a bag filled with his favourite comforters. By half time they were one their way home.

It was at this point they came up with the idea of sensory rooms in sports stadia.

They started with their home town club Sunderland and the Nathan Shippey Sensory Room opened in 2015.

They have since worked with the likes of of Arsenal, Watford, Notts County, Middlesbrough, WBA, Everton, Airdrieonians (the first sensory room in Scotland) and Rangers.

Celtic, Liverpool, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Newcastle United, Coventry, Tottenham, Brighton and Manchester City have also opened sensory rooms.

The Shippey Campaign has now gone worldwide – with them consulting on sensory rooms at the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar and The New Perth Stadium in Australia, as well as Hong Kong, France and Germany. They have recently welcomed a USA Ambassador on their team.


In an era where clubs seem to focus more on commercial income rather than the experience of match going fans, sensory rooms are one area where the likes of Arsenal deserve high praise. Football is for everyone.

To read more about what Arsenal do to embrace diversity and equality, Arsenal for Everyone – written by friend of the site Dave Seager – is at Legends Publishing or you can wait for the official Arsenal launch at the Armoury on the 27th of November at the match. (Look out for details…)

Keenos

MATCH REPORT: Arsenal 2 – 0 Leeds United

Arsenal (0) 2 Leeds United (0) 0

Carabao Cup (EFL Cup) Fourth Round

Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU

Tuesday, 26th October 2021. Kick-off time:7.45pm

(4-2-3-1) Bernd Leno; Cédric Soares, Rob Holding, Ben White, Sead Kolašinac; Mohamed Elneny, Ainsley Maitland-Niles; Nicolas Pépé, Emile Smith-Rowe, Gabriel Martinelli; Eddie Nketiah.

Substitutes: Thomas Partey, Bukayo Saka, Alexandre Lacazette, Nuno Tavares, Calum Chambers, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Folarin Balogun, Aaron Ramsdale.

Scorers: Calum Chambers (55 mins), Eddie Nketiah (69 mins)

Yellow Cards: Cédric Soares

Arsenal Possession Percentage: 44%

Referee: Andre Marriner

Assistant Referees: Harry Lennard, Scott Ledger

Fourth Official: Andrew Madley

Attendance: 59,126

As expected with the Carabao Cup matches, Mikel Arteta has made nine changes to the Arsenal side that featured in the victory over Aston Villa last Friday, and from that team, only Ben White and Emile Smith-Rowe keep their starting places. By the way, just in case anyone has forgotten, VAR will not be available in this competition until the semi-final stage.

Getting the tie underway, we were quite assertive in the early stages with our forwards testing the visitors’ defence on several occasions. Sead Kolašinac came very close to opening the scoring in the ninth minute when he picked up a loose ball after Ainsley Maitland-Niles was tackled on the edge of the penalty area, but his left-footed shot hit the side netting from close quarters. Our confidence was there for all to see as we started to stroke the ball around in midfield, looking for a way through a very tight Leeds United formation that seemed to cope with our constant probing and pushing. Although the visitors tested Bernd Leno on several occasions in the first twenty minutes, their efforts came to nothing and we managed to regroup and start again fairly easily. However, Daniel James ran through the Arsenal defence onto a long ball from Diego Llorente which looked very concerning, but fortunately Bernd Leno ran out and smothered the ball to neutralise the threat. Nicolas Pépé was unfortunate not to score when he had two goalscoring chances that went nowhere, but a couple of minutes later, Bernd Leno kept us in the match again when a driving Jack Harrison shot was superbly saved by him when his shot went low to his left. Leeds United started to push us back into our own half and although they caused us one or two problems at the back, we managed to hold them at bay. The match started to move from end to end now, and the pace begand to get frenetic, which was only broken up by a foul on Gabriel Martinelli by Cody Drameh in the midfield area. It was becoming noticeable that Leeds United were catching us on the break on several occasions in this half, and in doing so, looked quite dangerous. Three minutes before the break, our best chance of the first half came when Sead Kolašinac’s header from about ten yards from the visitors’ goal was headed off the line, and Emile Smith-Rowe blasted the ball wide from the edge of the penalty area, which was the last chance our forwards had before Andre Marriner blew his whistle signifying the hiatus.

The visitors started proceedings for the second half, and within a minute of the restart won a free-kick and commenced to stroke the ball around, but we managed to grab the ball off them and made a decent attempt to score before our attack was broken up by Leeds defenders. Nine minutes after the restart, Ben White went down with a recurrent injury, and Calum Chambers replaced him; within a minute he was in the fray, and incredibly scored the opening goal with his first touch of the ball! He met Nicolas Pépé’s clever knockback to power home a header that went just over the goalline. At first it looked like an awkward save by goalkeeper Illan Meslier, but after a glance at his watch, referee Andre Marriner awarded the goal; Calum Chambers then ran to the touchline to celebrate with Mikel Arteta and was mobbed by his team-mates, in celebration of an incredible couple of minutes in his career. After that, we certainly came alive and started to hunt for a second goal. Gabriel Martinelli and Nicolas Pépé came mighty close after some clever play, and it looked like the momentum was with Arsenal now. After a terrible mistake by Liam Cooper, our man Eddie Nketiah just got there first, tipped it over the goalkeeper, and clipped the ball with the edge of his right foot, and the ball just rolled into the net, with under twenty minutes of the match remaining. After seventy-two minutes, Emile Smith-Rowe and Mohamed Elneny were replaced by Alexandre Lacazette and Albert Sambi Lokonga respectively; then a couple of minutes later, Nuno Tavares was substituted for an injured Rob Holding, and we continued to press for a third goal. We looked strong and confident now, as the visitors started to fade away, the minutes ticking past until the final whistle. Although the visitors started to push long balls deep into our half, the parade had already passed them by, as we managed to contain them. Just before injury time, Alexandre Lacazette was unlucky not to score when he took the ball from Kalvin Phillips, and blasted the ball over the bar from just outside the penalty area. In the four minutes injury time, although there were a few chances on goal, nothing materialised of any worthy comment, and so we ended the night as winners, advancing into the quarter-finals of this oft-maligned competition.

Although it could be said that the visitors put us under pressure at times during the first half, nothing was delivered, and in the end, we managed to regroup successfully and at times looked comfortable both on and off the ball as we managed to end the evening victorious. And, let us not forget, we kept a clean sheet against a Premiership club with nine replacements in the team, with eight matches undefeated across two competitions. A good evening all round.

Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, 30th October at 12.30pm(Premier League). Be there, if you can. Victoria Concordia Crescit.

Steve

Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.