Arsenal's slim hopes of securing a top-four finish were dealt yet another blow as they fell to a 3-0 defeat against a breathtaking Leicester City side at the King Power Stadium.
The hosts began on top, dominating possession and creating a handful of good chances through the likes of Wilfried Ndidi and Jamie Vardy, but neither could find a way through the impressive Bernd Leno. Arsenal were struggling, and things got even worse as right-back Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent off after 35 minutes for two yellow cards, giving the Gunners a mountain to climb after the break.
It seemed just a matter of time before Leicester were rewarded for their dominance, and the goal finally came shortly before the hour mark as Youri Tielemans found himself unmarked in the box to power his header home.
They remained on top and grabbed a late second as Vardy's lobbed effort came back of the bar, only for the Englishman to head into an empty net. Vardy made it three shortly after, pouncing on Ricardo Pereira's cross to net another tap in and cap an excellent performance.
Check out our breakdown of the game below.
Key Talking Point
Leicester remain in pursuit of seventh place, but this was a performance of a team pushing for the Champions League. To dominate Arsenal in every aspect of the game is no mean feat, but Leicester looked to be doing so without even breaking a sweat.
So much has gone right for the Foxes in 2019. Brendan Rodgers has helped the team rediscover their excitement and confidence, whilst the squad has been boosted massively by the impact of both Tielemans and Harvey Barnes, who were two of several players to enjoy stunning showings against Arsenal.
Unai's lost his head to Brendan Rodgers. PL gold.— Kieran (@KieranMoore_12) April 28, 2019
Leicester under Brendan Rodgers will be a problem next season.— Young King (@RukahsUrama) April 28, 2019
Starting XI: Schmeichel (7); Pereira (7), Evans (7), Maguire (6), Chilwell (7); Albrighton (6), Tielemans (8*), Choudhury (8), Ndidi (7), Maddison (7); Vardy (8).
Substitutes: Barnes (7), Mendy (N/A), Gray (N/A).
STAR MAN - Youri Tielemans
It does not matter what it costs, Leicester must sign Tielemans this summer.
The Belgian has been outstanding in his first few months in England, and his showing against Arsenal was yet another example of why fans across Europe have been raving about Tielemans for years. Alongside James Maddison, he dictated the tempo of the game and managed to find his way into space time after time.
Tielemans finally starting to show a bit of that potential that football manager and fifa furnished him with— Smudge (@AlexSmith0997) April 28, 2019
Rodgers is gonna enjoy with Maddison and Tielemans (if they can sign him) next season. No idea what he can realistically achieve, but the football will be good— FΔHI 驪 (@feeFahifofum) April 28, 2019
His goal was a fair reward, as he found himself free in the box to head home a cross from Maddison. If Leicester can sign him permanently, the pairing of Tielemans and Maddison could dominate the Premier League for the next decade.
Key Talking Point
There has been a joke on social media that nobody wants to finish in the top four, but there almost seemed to be an element of truth to that about Arsenal at the King Power Stadium.
Unai Emery set up with both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in attack, and it cost him. They sacrificed a body in midfield, and neither Granit Xhaka nor Lucas Torreira could come close to keeping up with Leicester. Their inability to contain the Foxes saw Maitland-Niles caught out and sent off, and their top-four hopes are in real trouble.
I fully blame Emery for losing the top 4. Can't lose 3 matches in a row when you're playing Palace, Wolves and Leicester. Hope we lose to Valencia as well, we dont deserve to be in the Champions league.— Bosscielny (@beji_10) April 28, 2019
Why what’s the point in being in the champions league when we’re getting embarrassed week in week out by the likes of wolves Leicester and palace— Curtis (@curtis_harper) April 28, 2019
Starting XI: Leno (8*); Maitland-Niles (3), Mustafi (6), Papasthopoulos (6), Kolasinac (6); Mkhitaryan (5); Torreira (5); Xhaka (5); Iwobi (5); Aubameyang (5), Lacazette (5).
Substitutes: Koscielny (6), Guendouzi (6), Nketiah (N/A).
STAR MAN - Bernd Leno
With Arsenal's outfield contingency all failing to turn up, it was left to Leno to try save the day. The German was excellent throughout, making numerous elite saves to deny Leicester's stars throughout the entirety of the game.
However, there was nothing he could do to prevent Leicester's three goals. His defence in front of him seemed to have no idea how to manage the task at hand, and Arsenal could have easily lost this by a far greater scoreline if Leno was not awake.
Shocking...only one player worth this club is Leno— Bekim (@Bekims) April 28, 2019
Hang ur head in shame Except for Leno— KC (@Neil_KC_JONES) April 28, 2019
Arsenal will certainly attract plenty of fury from their fans after this performance, but Leno should be exempt. He did all he could against Leicester, but his output was simply not matched by any of his teammates.
Arsenal host Valencia in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday, before switching back to Premier League action against Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.
As for Leicester, they will travel to face Manchester City on Saturday, in another game which could prove crucial at the top of the table.
Source : 90min