‘We’re all going on a European tour’ – It’s time for Leicester City to be considered as genuine Champions League contenders


Leicester City fans were singing “we’re all going on a European tour” long into the night after their 2-0 victory over Arsenal – and it was a well-earned result at that.

The home side had dominated from start to finish and a 2-0 scoreline humbled the Arsenal defence.

It was a comprehensive victory for the Foxes, playing with a panache representative of a team who certainly do not look out of place in contention for a European spot.

The result leaves Brendan Rodgers’ side second in the league, at least until Manchester City face Liverpool on Sunday, with the best defensive record in the top-flight.

Despite that though, the Foxes boss admitted he does not want the tag of ‘title challenger’ applied to his side.

“We’re not really thinking of that,” he said of his team’s title aspirations. “We’re just thinking of developing the team and making them better.

“That’s been the focus since I first came in.”

On an evening when Leicester’s defence seemed unbreakable and their attack unstoppable; Arsenal had a guise of weakness and confusion as sloppy defending flowed through their veins.

Twice the hosts came close to netting when the Gunners wastefully lost possession just a few yards outside their penalty area.

Firstly, James Maddison skipped past his marker to deliver an excellent low cross into the box which Jamie Vardy could only fumble into Leno’s hands; then Vardy twisted on the spot to fizz a shot into a defender and wide.

You would have thought that after a slow start, having their boss Unai Emery bark orders at them to wake up would fix the issue; however, the visitors escaped conceding a penalty on 12 minutes despite replays showing that Matteo Guendouzi had a hold of Caglar Soyuncu’s shirt – the addition of VAR this season made no difference.

It was a Leicester performance that Foxes fans have become so accustomed to under Brendan Rodgers. Free flowing, attacking, pressing football that causes problems for the opposition and creates abundances of goals for themselves.

Yet when they were under pressure from Arsenal, their visitors lacked any precision and prowess in-front of goal.

Arsenal’s most dangerous moment came when Mesut Ozil and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang linked up well to open up space on the left-flank; the latter then slid the ball to Alexandre Lacazette but the Frenchman wastefully shot wide from six-yards.

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The hosts should have broken the deadlock when Ayoze Perez’s cross curled behind four Arsenal defenders; it seemed a simple tap-in for Vardy, yet the talismanic striker was unable to find the net.

James Maddison then came marginally close to firing the Foxes in-front. He sent one of his trademark right-footed freekicks into the side-netting as the two sides went into the break level pegging.

Leicester would not have been frustrated though – the goal was coming; it was just a matter of when.

Arsenal’s defensive frailties were on show early in the first half when Wilfred Ndidi was given space to strike the ball goal bound – the crossbar was the only thing that stopped the visitors from caving in within the first few minutes.

The visitors had the ball in the back of Kasper Schmeichel’s net ten minutes after the break; however, the goal was ruled out without the use of VAR with Aubameyang clearly occupying an offside position when he bundled home a left-wing cross.

And then came the match-changing moment.

Thirteen minutes after the call against Aubameyang, City produced an excellent passage of play to finally break open the deadlock.

Substitute Demarai Gray held the ball up well on the right flank; then, a series of clever passes between Youri Tielemans and Harvey Barnes fed Vardy the ball who made no mistake in scoring his tenth league goal of the season.

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Arsenal fans will know only too well, when you want a London bus – two turn up. That’s exactly how it was with goals that they were conceding.

Ricardo Periera slid the ball out to Maddison and the attacking midfielder got the goal his performance warranted, striking between a defender’s legs and beyond Bernd Leno into the bottom corner.

It proved a deficit too large a task to overturn for Emery’s men; leaving the Gunners eight points behind the top four and pressure continuing to build on the Spaniard.

For Emery, though, it is not mission impossible, stating that the London side still “have time” and “the possibility of being consistent” to recover their season.

“We want to have success for us, we want to challenge.” The Spaniard said. “We want to improve and we want to take the balance in the team.

“It depends because now Chelsea and Leicester are with Liverpool and Manchester City – they have got a difference between them and us.

“The competition is 38 matches and now we are behind them with nine points difference.

“It’s good for them but we have time to achieve and recover that difference.”


About Author

When not busy covering local news for EssexLive, Matt Lee can be found in the press box at Portman Road covering Ipswich Town's return to the Championship and push for the Premier League.

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