Welbeck propels Gunners back in title race: Five things we learned from Arsenal 2 Leicester 1
Danny Welbeck shows fairytales can happen, Leicester will not give up first spot easily and other things we learned from Arsenal 2 Leicester 1
By Editor Wayne Veysey
Wenger made the right substitutions
There were seven minutes left of normal time when Welbeck was summoned from the dugout for his first action in nearly 10 months. In a season of fairytales, a last-minute winner from a player who had not kicked a ball in anger in virtually a year was somehow fitting. Welbeck’s header from Mesut Ozil’s typically immaculate free-kick was deft and unsaveable. Credit to Arsene Wenger for putting his faith in a striker who had been sidelined for so long. With Theo Walcott, the second of the three substitutes, guiding in the equaliser, this was a day when Wenger got his selections spot on.
Leicester unlikely to abdicate lightly
This was cruel on Leicester. They were 1-0 up and solid as a rock until Danny Simpson was given his marching orders early in the second half. Arsenal peppered Kasper Schmeichel’s goal thereafter but once again Claudio Ranieri’s team showed they are wearing the crown lightly. The against-the-odds league leaders made up for what they lacked in ambition with their resilience and guts. They will not give up first spot easily.
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Arsenal back in title hunt
This felt like six points rather than three for Wenger’s team. Leicester would have gone eight points clear if they had held on to the advantage given them by Jamie Vardy’s first-half penalty. Arsenal were not at their fluent best but they could not be faulted for effort and rescued the three points with perseverance as much as potency. There was a sense their title challenge could have been over had they lost this match. As it is, they are just two points behind Ranieri’s side. Game on.
Ramsey should remain in the centre
Solid, controlled and creative, this was another fine central midfield display from Aaron Ramsey. One positive outcome of Arsenal’s midfield injury crisis has been the opportunity for the Welshman to have an extended run in his favourite position. With Francis Coquelin back and Santi Cazorla also on the comeback trail, Wenger will have some tough decisions to make about the composition of his midfield in the final months of the season. The manager should resist the chance to make Ramsey a wide boy again.
Kante is better than any Arsenal midfielder
There was no doubt about the identity of the man of the match. N’Golo Kante was head and shoulders above every other player on the pitch. The man who puts the ‘action’ into all-action midfielder devoured every blade of grass as he ended Arsenal attacks and started Leicester ones in the manner that has become familiar in his outstanding debut campaign in the Premier League. Arsenal do not have a midfielder as complete as the Frenchman.