By Scott Davies
Arsenal visited the King Power stadium in what was Leicester’s biggest test so far this season. They are very much a bogey team for City with only 28 wins, 44 draws and 61 losses against the Gunners.
Ranieri stuck to his own game plan of 4-4-2 and sticking with much of the team who have done so well in the league matches to date, despite some impressive displays in midweek cup defeat of West Ham. Dodoo made it on the bench, but this was probably more to do with giving him match day experience rather than being a realistic substitute against tough opposition.
City started well with Schlupp testing Cech in the opening 10 minutes, who had to dive full stretch to keep out a powerful shot. In the same run of play, the ball was kept alive and Vardy beat Cech, only for his shot to rebound off the base of the post.
3 minutes later, Drinkwater delivered a Cambiasso-esque long ball to Vardy who had plenty of work to do. He controlled it superbly with his head before driving into the box and smashing a superb right foot shot across Cech from a difficult angle to make it 1-0.
On 17, Vardy came close again as his close range header from and Albrightons’ cross looped onto the cross bar. Arsenal gathered the ball and caught City napping with a quick break. Cazorla played a through ball to Walcott who beat Huth and Morgan with his blistering pace, before finishing neatly off the post to make it 1-1.
Undeterred, City ventured forward in search of a second, however on 32 Arsenal went 2-1 up. Okazaki appeared to be fouled in a City attack, as did Vardy, but the ref gave nothing and Arsenal broke on the counter. City failed to clear their lines and Sanchez had an easy finish from close range.
At the break, Okazaki made way for King with Ranieri looking to sure things up in the middle, knowing the next goal would make or break the game. Schlupp had a decent chance on 56 but shot straight at Cech. Once again, Arsenal caught City on the break when Ozil delivered a looping ball into the six yard area towards Sanchez who beat the advancing Schmeichel with a header to make it 3-1. Schmeichel will be disappointed he didn’t do better.
4 minutes later, there were question marks over Schmeichel once again as he was easily beaten from a long range effort from Sanchez at his near post. However, in his defence, Kante should have done better to cut the ball out in the build up and Morgan ducked out of the shot that eventually lead to the goal, leaving Schmeichel exposed. Nevertheless, Sanchez completed a relatively easy hat trick.
City continued to push forward to try to salvage something from the game. Ulloa and Kramaric added to the attack and City did get another, with Vardy continuing his impressive goal scoring run, making it 5 in the last 4 with another neat finish past Cech.
The Gunners carved City open again in added time with Giroud finishing with a first time shot from a Monreal low cross.
Make now mistake, Arsenal were quality and their class shone through. City played some nice stuff at times, but there were some poor performances from usually consistent players. Mahrez was absent until the last 5 minutes, Schlupp was found wanting on many occasions in defence, leaving too much space for Arsenal to attack and Okazaki looked tired from the start.
5-2 flattered Arsenal to an extent, but when you allow a team with their quality to have 12 shots on target out of 26 attempts, it’s always going to be a tough ask to keep the score down. The officials didn’t help matters, but they weren’t the reason City were undone today.
I think Ranieri now has a case to change his selection for Norwich next week, with some good players waiting in the wings. One thing is for sure, we need to plug this leaky defence.
Man of the Match – Danny Drinkwater