Arsenal v Leicester City

Good day all, I hope you’ve all had a great weekend.

The Premier League is back and I have to say, I couldn’t be happier.

We got things underway with a Friday night kick off (7:45pm) against Leicester City.

If anyone expected this to be a straightforward opener they would’ve been absolutely astounded at how difficult it went.

Having kicked off, we were ahead after 1:34 when Lacazette headed home deftly to become one of the quickest players to score on their Premier League debut before being pegged back before the 5 minute mark – so Arsenalesque.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve all seen the score, the game, the highlights etc. but there are a few things I noticed throughout the game which I’d like to mention.

*Zonal Marking*
Arsenal have been huge advocates for this method of defending set pieces and, despite all of its flaws I think we have had quite a good record at defending set pieces over the years.

However, it seems that whenever we do concede it’s almost always the fault of our coaching staff and the system we implement which seems strange because it’s very rare that I see people praise Arsenal’s defensive structure when we do go through a season without conceding many goals through this medium.

I personally think the zonal marking system we use leaves a lot to be desired. Any team who does their homework will be able to set their team up to cause us issues, as was the case with Leicester on Friday.

Two of the three goals we conceded were from set pieces and both goals could’ve been prevented had we effectively man marked.

However, if we had implemented a zonal marking system properly we also could’ve prevented the goals so I see no reason for concern at this stage of the season.

*Our Passing Game*
We dominated the ball, that’s to be expected as Leicester were looking to defend deep, stay compact and use Vardy to counter. Although it was an effective way to play against us, they didn’t really catch us on the counter and cause too many issues on the night.

On the other hand, we played a very good passing game and used the ball well. Last season we could’ve been found guilty of lacking pace and incision with our passing but last night that didn’t seem to be the case.

There were a number of instances where our players exchanged passes on the edge of Leicester’s box which pulled their defenders out of place and allowed us to carve out good shooting opportunities.

Welbeck and Bellerin had chances I the first and second half respectively that on another day would’ve nestled in the back of the net.

*Lacazette’s Debut*
Lacazette made his debut in the Premier League and didn’t disappoint in my opinion.

He scored after 1 minute 34 seconds as mentioned earlier but generally he worked hard for the team and done well considering he didn’t get much service.

There were several occasions when he worked to win the ball back from their defenders and it allowed us to set up and continue to apply pressure in the middle and final third of the pitch.

Alex probably should’ve had more than just the one goal to his name as well.

Kolasinac, who impressed as well, had a chance to roll it into Lacazette’s path inside their box but instead decided to volley for goal, resulting in a corner for us.

There was also a chance at 3-3 where Giroud done well to play it back to Lacazette inside the box to the left before he had a great attempt palmed over by Schmeichel.

Overall, the game on Friday was an exciting curtain raiser which didn’t come without its difficulties.

We made it hard work for ourselves as sloppy mistakes lead to us trailing twice on the night but the mistakes were just that, mistakes. These aren’t things that should happen on a weekly basis and can also be worked on on the training ground.

What was pleasing to see what the way in which we created chances and used the ball.

It bodes well and when you consider the players we have to come back into the squad it seems we’re in a fairly good place.

Have a great week and I’ll be back to discuss the Stoke game next week.

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