Craig Shakespeare’s Leicester City will be scratching their heads as to just how they walked away from Friday’s Premier League opener against Arsenal without a single point to show for their efforts.
There were lead changes galore, starting with Arsenal’s new record signing Alexandre Lacazette and finishing with their near-100 goal Frenchman Olivier Giroud, and it could have so easily been a completely different final narrative for The Foxes on a different night.
Jamie Vardy excelled, netting a brilliant brace, while Marc Albrighton and new defensive signing Harry Maguire impressed in a valiant effort from the visitors.
Can hold his head high despite conceding four goals. The Danish international’s goal was constantly peppered with efforts from Gunners players, and he was up to the task; Schmeichel made six saves from the 10 shots on target overall and was left completely exposed by his defence for Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey’s goals.
Not easy to deal with the abundance of threats coming his way when his right-sided partner, Riyad Mahrez, offered close to nothing defensively. Put in a reasonable shift.
Did well to keep in Marc Albrighton’s cross in the build-up to the opener, heading across goal to set up Shinji Okazaki. Looks confident in the challenge and made some crucial blocks. Could be a long-term replacement for Wes Morgan/Robert Huth based on this performance.
Lost sight of Alexandre Lacazette for the opener and was unable to deal with the aerial presence of Olivier Giroud for the game’s deciding moment.
Always threatening with his long throws and crossing, but gave possession away under the growing pressure from the home side far too often.
Worked himself into the ground for his side. Crossed from deep at will, putting in the ball that lead to the opener and got the assist for Jamie Vardy after picking up on Granit Xhaka’s sloppy pass inside the Arsenal half.
Struggled to make a mark on proceedings as Arsenal found their rhythm and dominated possession. Not particularly effective with the ball, connecting with a mere 13 of his 21 passes, but did add three tackles as he desperately tried to help Leicester hang onto a late lead.
Hard to notice him in the first half as Arsenal dominated the ball – an observation which holds some substance after noting that he connected just 11 of his 16 attempted passes – but his absence was felt after going off on 82 minutes. The Foxes subsequently crumbled, conceding two late goals after taking off a midfielder for a striker (Kelechi Iheanacho) while trying to preserve a lead. No Leicester player made more tackles.
Not at his high-flying best but added moments of quality that could have ended up decisive on a different night. Played a brilliant ball over the top for Jamie Vardy in the second half, only for Petr Cech to come off his line and sweep up, and got an assist on the corner for the Englishman’s second. A little wasteful in possession, though, and was bullied off the ball a few times.
While commentators focused on Kelechi Iheanacho’s signing and when he’ll be put on, Shinji Okazaki reminded everyone of the qualities that makes him a vital asset to Leicester City. Drops off Jamie Vardy to help his midfielders and is a complete nuisance in the box for opposition markers, staying sharp to get into a good position and finish for the early equaliser. Taken off on 72 minutes.
Two shots, two goals. Jamie Vardy was unlucky not to leave The Emirates as the show stealer, as he was clinical with his finishing and, as usual, a huge threat in behind the open spaces Arsenal offered when their back three split to spread Leicester out.
Seemed a sensible move to get the extra midfielder on the pitch. Daniel Amartey did well initially, laying on two tackles and offering protection to the Leicester defence, but a subsequent substitution from Craig Shakespeare would be the turning point.
Would never have envisioned coming off the bench with eight minutes to go and seeing his new side concede twice within two minutes to throw away the lead, all while hardly even having a kick.