Match Debate from the stands by 100%LCFC Scott Davies @Flipflopflyer
Last seasons 1st v 2nd went head to head at the King Power Stadium as the Champions faced runners up Arsenal in a mouthwatering clash. There was the added side story of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez opting to stay at the Foxes following heavy interest from the Gunners over the summer.
After last weeks dismal away performance from City versus Hull and also the Gunners going down to a 4-3 defeat at the hands of Liverpool, both teams were keen to bounce back and get points on the board, preferably all 3.
32008 packed into the King Power to see the return of Premier League football and the Union FS guys did another great Tifo marking last seasons triumph, but as Claudio Ranieri has said, that has now gone and it’s all about this season, we move on.
The Italian reverted back to a familiar line up with the starting XI being identical to that of last season, save for Nampalys Mendy coming in to fill the void left by N’Golo Kante.
Both teams came out of the blocks with pace and it was an entertaining match with both sides looking to break on the counter. The Foxes put in a performance akin to that of last season. They kept their shape, they were patient in their build up and they looked much sharper going forward. Shinji Okazaki was a pest and really worked the Arsenal back line and Danny Drinkwater bossed the midfield.
City had to be alert whenever they lost possession, as Arsenal were quick on the break, however a stubborn Foxes rearguard limited the Gunners to long range shots that never really tested Schmeichel. Robert Huth was a welcome return and was a rock in the back four.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain went close on 25 as his long range effort went just wide of the right hand post, however Schmeichel looked to have it covered. The Foxes then had a good shout for a Penalty as Danny Drinkwater looked to have been upended by Koscielny, but Mark Clattenburg waved away the appeals.
After a frantic first half, the honours were even going into the break.
City looked refreshed after the break and came out with every intent to win the match. They suffered a slight setback on 53 as Nampalys Mendy fell awkwardly after a good interception and looked to have twisted his ankle after his studs got caught in the turf. Mendy had a decent debut with a 100% pass completion, however he made way for Andy King.
Arguably City looked a better team with King in the centre and they continued to push for a goal and matched Arsenal every step of the way. Riyad Mahrez went close from a free kick, but his direct effort went just over Cech’s goal.
Leo Ulloa replaced the impressive Okazaki on 67 who ran his socks off once again. Arsenal looked threatening throughout enjoying the lions share of possession but City were resolute and Schmeichel was rarely tested.
Ahmed Musa entered the fold late on replacing Marc Albrighton and the Nigerian should have had a penalty when he was upended by Bellerín, but again Clattengurg waved away the claims.
Riyad Mahrez tested Cech in the 90th minute forcing a save from the Czech Keeper. The rebound fell to Musa who tried to play in Ulloa when he perhaps should have been more greedy and gone for goal himself.
The match ended in an entertaining goalless draw. A better performance from City and a decent point to get them off the mark this season. When you consider last season we never picked up a point from this game and in fact lost 5-2, then you have to consider that as progress.
City haven’t beaten Arsenal in the league in 20 games, drawing 6 and losing 14, they are somewhat a bogey team for the Foxes. However they will be buoyed by the performance and against a lesser team, they will definitely get the goals they need.
Kasper Schmeichel is only the second City keeper to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League v Arsenal, the other was Simon Royce in 2001 with that game also finishing 0-0. City are unbeaten at home in 16 matches, the last loss being to Arsenal in this fixture last season, going down 5-2.
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