79 min Under attacks Xhaka down the right, but Xhaka is strong and Arsenal bring it away, Pepe nicking a pass into Cedric, turning up inside the box. But instead of looking to shoot he tries to put studs on top of ball and misses it entirely.
77 min Hector Bellerin tucks his shirt in, advises Magnus Evander, while Ian Copestake wonders if he’s been left out today because handsomeness alone does not win football matches.
75 min Xhaka is caught by Iheanacho’s stray forearm and is extremely upset.
73 min Arsenal have been good today, the more aggressive and confident side. And they’re keeping it well now too – they know it’s over and so do Leicester.
71 min Vardy shifts it inside and opens a shooting lane, walloping a curler that clobbers Mari on the heed. Leicester’s goal aside, he’s played pretty well today.
71 min “Just to say, that magnificent Spurs team of the 80s were also lawless in the fashion,” says Rosin Morris. “It wasn’t just an untucked Hoddle but there was an oft-unrolled and apparently out of breath Tony Galvin bombing up and down the wing…”
I well remember – my dad was a big fan of him on account of his
70 min Leicester send on Amartey for Evans, who looks to have hurt his leg. This is turning into an absolutely horrific afternoon for them.
68 min Back to the shirts/shorts interface, here’s Ireland in 1994.
67 min This Leicester performance absolutely reeks of a “post-match clear-the-air team-meeting in which harsh words were exchanged”.
66 min Just what Leicester wanted to see: Elneny is replaced by Partey, who’s feeling his way back after injury.
65 min Iheanacho curves a decent pass in behind for Vardy to chase, but Mari does well to stay with him and come away with the ball.
64 min A lull in play. Take advantage by signing up for daily hilarity, or failing that, daily not hilarity.
63 min But here come Leicester, Iheanacho leaping to flick around Luiz while turning; that’s nice, but Luiz reacts well, treading on the ball to take it away, and Elneny steps in to smother, winning a goalkick in the process.
62 min Leicester move it about as Arsenal invite them on, but without much conviction. I wonder if they need to have a think about the way they play, because although Vardy is brilliant on the counter, he doesn’t look fit and they need to take control of games.
60 min “It used to be that you were risking a booking if you didn’t tuck your shirt in – as page 11 of this riveting FIFA document makes a tidy appearance something that has to be reffed,” emails Paul McGrory. “I remember Jack Charlton getting exercised about this at the 1994 World Cup as several pasty Irishmen were at death’s door in the heat of the American summer.”
Yes, I think the same applied to rolled-down socks.
58 min “Speaking of shirts tucked in and that picture of Glenn Hoddle,” says Kristof Künssler-McIlwain, “when exactly did shorts get so much longer. You can’t really call them shorts any longer. I’m not trying to objectify my players, but look at them thighs.”
Glenn had tremendous pins, and I’d say the change came in the first season of the Premier League.
But not for all clubs.
57 min This is shaping up to be a key week in Arsenal’s season. The win in Benfica kept it alive, and a win here, without Saka and Aubameyang, will give them all sorts of confidence.
55 min Leicester win a corner down the left and Luiz is up high to head clear, hurting himself on the way down. I thought it was the way he landed, but seems to have taken a bash to the eye; he’ll be ok.
54 min These have been a dreadful few minutes for Leicester. It’s not at all easy to see how they come back from this, and it’s all come about because they sat back after being handed the lead.
GOAL! Leicester City 1-3 Arsenal (Pepe 52)
Xhaka wins the ball and sets Pepe away, who moves it onto Odegaard. Just as it looks like the attack is breaking down, he finds a terrific poked pass between defenders that I think might be for Lacazette. But Willian, who’s been good today, collects, and finds a route across the face of goal through Evans’ legs, and Pepe tucks in from under the bar! Well!
52 min Leicester’s injury-list is increasing at the worst possible time. Under goes to the right, with Albrighton moving to the left.
51 min Cengiz Under comes on, and Willian flips over another decent ball, but Mari can’t impart the necessary power to get a header on target.
49 min Oh dear. Barnes has an inflatable cast around his leg and is levered onto a stretcher. He doesn’t look in terrible pain, but he’s in trouble and carried off with hands over eyes. Godspeed, old mate.
47 min Immediately, Leicester are pressing high up the pitch and with renewed zest but then Barnes stretches to collect a ball and his ankle seems to give way. I hate to say it, but I think that’ll be his afternoon done; in the meantime, Arsenal win a corner.
46 min Brendan Rodgers withdraws Luke Thomas, who was a red card waiting to happen, replacing him with Albrighton. He’ll go into midfield, with Ricardo going to right-back and Castagne going to left-back – I imagine.
“Do any Premier League regulars aside from Kieren Tierney tuck in their shirt?” wonders Nick White. “Strange that such a small thing is so distinctive.”
I’m not sure, but when I were a lad the reverse was so; Glenn Hoddle was famous for wearing his outside his shorts because he was an outlier.
Half-time emails: “I’m all in favour of protecting players and minimising the real risk of serious head injury,” says David Sweet. “But it seems to me that this incident raises difficult questions. Arsenal had a real chance (though admittedly, the shot would probably have gone high above the goal) and it was thwarted by a collision between two Leicester players.
In that situation, Evans was on his own, out of the way, and it would not have done any damage to at least allow Tierney to take the shot before stopping the attack. If that kind of thing doesn’t happen, we will see ‘accidental’ collisions between players in the same team whenever a dangerous situation looks like arising. These are professionals, remember, which means there is NOTHING they will not do if the risks seem worth the reward.”
I don’t think it matters that the collision was between to Leicester players, though it did seem clear that it was nothing significant. However, if I’m the ref I’m erring on the side of caution every time because I’m responsible for someone’s safety above all else.
Half-time: Leicester City 1-2 Arsenal
After quite a lot of nothing that suddenly got good, and Brendan Rodgers has work to do.
45+3 min I did not see this coming, but Leicester asked for it, taking the lead and sitting back. Arsenal have played with far greater intensity, so deserve their lead.
GOAL! Leicester City 1-2 Arsenal (Lacazette pen, 45+2)
Lacazette cleanses into the left side-netting, with Schmeichel diving the other way. Excellent penalty.
45+1 min PENALTY TO ARSENAL!
The ref takes one look at the footage and points to the spot. Ndidi was only just inside the box, but his hands were right up there and I’ve no idea why.
45 min Arsenal sweep forward and Pepe dips inside – of course he does – then unfurls a curler looking for the far post … and Ndidi blocks it with his hands! Play continues, but I’d expect that to be a penalty once VAR has had a look.
44 min “I was preparing to write an Arsenal: What Can You Say message?” returns Charles Antaki. “But really, what can you say?”
I actually think they’ve done alright so far, whereas Leicester have been extremely disappointing. This is a great time to play Arsenal, who the gifted them a goal, but they’ve been so passive.
42 min Odegaard replaces Smith Rowe; that’s a problem for Arsenal because the latter sets their tempo. But the former offers a little more craft, so might have more luck picking holes in Leicester’s defence.
40 min Smith Rowe goes down injured so Arteta takes the opportunity to roust Pepe, presumably telling him to go at Thomas every chance he gets.
GOAL! Leicester City 1-1 Arsenal (David Luiz 39)
Yes they can! Willian flips a decent ball into the box, and Luiz moves away from Castagne who realises what’s happening too late, stooping to flick-glance a fine header across Schmeichel and into the far corner.
38 min Nice from Lacazette, who strikes across a pass that he sends out right to Pepe; Pepe shimmies inside then nips outside Thomas, who ploughs straight down the middle and is booked. Can Arsenal finally find a decent delivery?
36 min Nice from Pepe, who gets to a ball dropping out of the sky before Soyuncu, a deft touch taking it away from the defender, who commits to the foul. Again, though, Arsenal’s delivery into the box is poor and Mari does well to stop Vardy punishing them on the counter.
36 min In the meantime, Iheanacho wallops a shot from distance that Leno saves easily enough.
35 min This has been a pretty sedate affair. Whether that changes will probably be dictated by whether Arteta brings on his best players.
33 min “Re direct fee kicks inside the box,” says Gary Naylor, “you really want to see those given six yards out for a push or pull at a corner? In the pro game, it would be worth the risk – easy to defend with 11 men so close to the ball. And good luck refereeing that melee on Hackney Marshes next season.”
I don’t want to see a penalty given for those either, and I want defenders to be able to tackle. So yeah, on balance, I think that is better than the current situation.
31 min Now it’s Willian’s turn to overhit a cross, Luiz taking his corner down well beyond the back post and forcing another. Willian treks over to the other side to take it, and Evans gets a whack on the bonce from Tielemans, so the ref stops the game with Tierney preparing to shoot.
29 min Thomas fouls Cedric down the Arsenal right, but Pepe overhits the free-kick. Arsenal, though, keep Leicester pinned back, and Tierney opts to shoot from distance, the ball skipping off Tielemans’ knee and flying behind.
27 min Better from Arsenal, Smith Rowe setting a motion a succession of quick passes that ends with Xhaka feeding Willian, who shifts it and drills a decent shot just wide of the far post.
23 min “For those of us without subscription channels it’s Fulham vs Palace on the BBC,” emails David Wall. “Although he’s not playing today, I was wondering what people thought of Wilfred Zaha’s recent comments about taking a knee before kick-off becoming nothing more than a symbolic gesture. I worry that he might be right. After all, it’s not really led to any significant action to address racial inequalities in football and it’s been many months since it started. Raheem Sterling said on Newsnight soon after football restarted last year that the key issue was less about particular incidents of racial abuse (abhorrent as they are) but more about addressing the lack of diversity in boardrooms, management, and senior coaching roles. And especially so as that contrasted so much with the diversity you see among the players. That is something that could start to be addressed with a stroke of the pen by the Premier League, FA, and Football League by introducing mandatory diversity targets as conditions on taking part in their competitions. They can do that with things like stadium regulations so could easily do something similar with diversity requirements. Even if member clubs had to vote on proposals then, provided votes were public, which clubs would dare object? Yet aside from a mentoring programme little has changed. And while it’s old white guys doing the hiring then they’ll continue to choose predominantly middle age white guys for the key jobs. So while I’m not sure I agree that there is no point continuing taking a knee, Zaha has certainly got a point about it’s effectiveness so far.”
I think the first thing to say is that as a white man, I have no right to have any opinion on Wilfried Zaha’s opinion. I think it’s fair to say that the knee is only a start and a very small one because as Raheem Sterling says, we need to change a racist system, which is a monumental but essential task. Ibram X. Kendi’s book How To Be An Antiracist is brilliant on this and many other points – I implore everyone wondering how they can help to read it.
21 min Barnes has been silent so far but here he is now, coming in off the left and across the face of the box lamping an early wobbler that Leno has to fist away. That’s decent keeping because a less definitive bash and the ball might drop to a forward instead of flying to safety.
21 min Nice from Leicester, Iheanacho dropping off and collecting a pass on the burst, looking to loft a ball for Vardy, loitering around the back post, but sticking just too much on it.
19 min Ultimately Arsenal don’t have much without Saka. It’s absolutely astonishing how good he is and in how many positions.
18 min Leicester are sitting deeper now, the position of Ricardo and Barnes inviting Arsenal onto them. But that allows Willian to step infield and he flicks a decent ball outside Castagne for Tierney, whose cross goes behind.
16 min I don’t think there’ll be any argument that VAR got that call right, but it’s not argument for it: what we really need is an adjustment to the law, so that you only get a penalty if a goalscoring opportunity is denied, inside or outside the box. Otherwise it’s a direct free-kick.
15 min Pepe swings the ball in, and it’s headed behind for a corner which comes to nothing.
14 min NO PENALTY TO ARSENAL!
Yup, the contact was outside, so Arsenal have a free-kick on the edge, right-hand side.
13 min I think the contact was made by Ndidi, just outside the box, though the fall was inside…