EPL: Arsenal draw 1-1 with Leicester

EPL: Arsenal draw 1-1 with Leicester
Jamie Vardy celebrates after equalising for Leicester at Arsenal.
LONDON, JUL 7 ( AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 7/8/2020 9:28:32 AM IST

Jamie Vardy’s late goal helped Leicester to snatch a late 1-1 draw against 10-man Arsenal with VAR once again playing its part, reports Sky Sports .

The battle for the European places was the main headline going into the game, but the sub-plot of the Golden Boot race reared its head when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (21) slotted home to take him one goal behind current leader Vardy.

But Arsenal were dealt a blow in the 75th minute when Eddie Nketiah was sent off just minutes after coming on as a substitute for a crunching challenge on James Justin. There was a long VAR check and use of the pitchside monitor by referee Chris Kavanagh, who ultimately decided his initial yellow card should be upgraded to a red.

VAR was involved in another big decision not long after when Vardy (84) equalised but another lengthy check deemed that Ayoze Perez - who was in an offside position as the ball was played in - did not get a touch onto the cross before his team-mate tapped home.

The goal re-established Vardy’s two-goal lead in the Golden Boot battle and more importantly, gave Leicester a four-point cushion over Manchester United in fifth but they have slipped down into fourth after Chelsea’s narrow 3-2 win against Crystal Palace earlier in the day. Arsenal remain in seventh with 50 points.

Leicester began well in the pouring north London rain and went close twice in the opening 15 minutes. Vardy fired a volley goalwards after some poor control from David Luiz, but it went straight at Emiliano Martinez. Not long after, a short corner caught Arsenal out as Marc Albrighton’s cross found Kelechi Iheanacho at the top of the area, but Martinez stuck a foot out to see the low shot away.

But it was Arsenal who took the lead in the 21st minute. A sensational diagonal pass from Dani Ceballos picked out the run of Bukayo Saka on the right, with Caglar Soyuncu slipping on the wet surface as he tried to block the ball. This allowed Saka to drive down the wing - with Jonny Evans also slipping in the process - with his squared pass for Aubameyang emphatically slotted home by the Arsenal captain.

Arsenal should have added a few more in the first half but were thwarted by the ever-reliable Kasper Schmeichel. On the half-hour mark, Alexandre Lacazette picked out the unmarked Saka on the right of the area, but the 18-year-old’s shot was saved by the goalkeeper’s feet.

Not long after, Schmeichel made an incredible double save. Aubameyang and Saka linked up down the right before the latter chipped the ball into the area for Lacazette, but the Frenchman’s strike was pushed away by a stretching Schmeichel arm. Hector Bellerin then tried his luck from a tight angle, but the Leicester goalkeeper tipped the ball acrobatically over the crossbar.

Similarly to the first half, Leicester began the second period well too and tested Martinez in the 56th minute. Vardy drove down the right flank before squaring the ball for the waiting Iheanacho, who hit the cross with a first-time volley. However, the Arsenal goalkeeper made a good save low down.

The game was fairly even until VAR intervened in the 73rd minute. Nketiah - who had come on as a substitute two minutes earlier - made a clumsy yet dangerous challenge on Justin, catching him on the knee, and received a yellow card. With multiple replays, VAR was unable to decide if the booking should be upgraded to a red and referee Kavanagh went over to the pitchside monitor. It took only a few seconds to make his decision and, in the 75th minute, Nketiah was sent off.

VAR was not finished there. With a man advantage, Leicester scored nine minutes later as Demarai Gray’s curling cross was tapped home by Vardy - but there was a big question of offside. The decision rested on whether Perez had touched the ball with an outstretched foot, having been in an offside position when the ball was played. However, after another replay-filled check, the goal stood.

It continued Vardy’s scoring steak against Arsenal - netting 10 goals in his last 10 Premier League games against the Gunners, including seven in his last six - but Mikel Arteta’s side do remain unbeaten in five games in all competitions as the race for European football continues.

After a stuttering start to his Arsenal career, Tierney is finally starting to come into his own at Arsenal. He made six crosses - a joint high with Ceballos - and all of them came from open play.

Playing against a Leicester defence that struggled at times, Tierney made the most of his opportunities and he is only just getting his Arsenal career off the ground - a very exciting prospect.



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