Mahrez, Vardy Lead Leicester in Famous Win Over Arsenal

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Second half goals from Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez earned a much-improved Leicester City a deserved 3-1 win over Arsenal.

Second half goals from Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez earned a much-improved Leicester City a deserved 3-1 win over Arsenal at the King Power Stadium on Wednesday.

The hosts took the lead early on through former Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho and should have extended their lead heading into the half time break after working Petr Čech hard in the Arsenal goal.

Former Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the equalizer with his second bite of the cherry just before the hour mark. However, Leicester replied with less than 15 minutes to play when Vardy converted his penalty after Demarai Gray was fouled by Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the box.

At the end of the second half, Mahrez shaped the ball onto his right foot, dummied inside and finished beautifully to seal all three points for Leicester.

Arsenal showed brief glimpses of danger in the opening stages, but could not create any chances as Leicester looked lazy in defense.

The Foxes sprung to life on 12 minutes when Adrien Silva played in Jamie Vardy, who replicated his famous runs in-behind of years gone by and produced a good save from Petr Čech.

From the resulting corner, Leicester took the lead when Fousseni Diabaté knocked a header down to Iheanacho, who let the ball run across his body and smashed home from close range.

Things very quickly turned from bad to worse for Leicester as Konstantinos Mavrapanos saw red for bringing down Iheanacho, who was clean through on goal with no other defenders to beat. 

Due to the red card, Arsenal sacrificed Danny Welbeck – who was replaced by Skhodran Mustafi between good chances for Harry Maguire and Iheanacho.

The latter was particularly impressive having stepped in to replace the injured Shinji Okazaki. He showed great energy, enthusiasm and confidence in an impressive display, particularly in the early stages of the game. 

Arsenal had a rare chance to equalize 10 minutes before the break, when Leicester goalkeeper Eldin Jakupović made a good save down to his right to deny Mkhitaryan, before stopping Aubameyang’s rebound. Arsenal showed another brief glimpse of a threat despite only having ten men.

Leicester closed the half with good momentum going forward and would have been disappointed not to add to their tally before the halftime whistle. The Foxes had Čech working very hard throughout the first half.

Iheanacho created a glorious chance to extend their lead in stoppage time in the first half, when he won the ball in midfield and has a fantastic chance to play through Vardy. However, the Nigerian youngster tried an audacious effort from 45 yards and his reaction showed that he instantly regretted his decision.

The Gunners were lucky not to go 2-0 down just three minutes into the second half when Vardy played in Diabaté, but Mustafi recovered to clear the youngster’s effort off the line.

Arsenal drew themselves level shortly afterwards as Aubameyang produced a good save from Jakupović but turned the ball in from close range to salvage an equalizer for the visitors.

The goal was the Gabon international’s 22nd goal of the season across all competitions and has now started to justify his hefty price tag.

Arsenal could have gone on to score a winner when Sead Kolašinac played a raking pass to Mkhitaryan, but the Armenian fired his effort over the crossbar.

Wenger’s men slowly built momentum through the second half, with some promising attacking moves, but could not create too many strong chances as they desperately searched for a winner.

The game turned on its head once again soon after, when Mkhitaryan was adjudged to have fouled Gray in the box and referee Graham Scott did not hesitate in pointing to the spot.

Vardy stepped up to calmly stroke the ball into the top left corner and restore the Foxes’ lead. 

Leicester were seeing the game out in style, when Mahrez sent Calum Chambers for a burger as he turned inside and fired home to ensure a much needed win after a week of speculation around Claude Puel’s future.

The Foxes have picked up their first victory against Arsenal in 23 attempts and will now travel to Wembley on Sunday as they take on Tottenham Hotspur. Meanwhile, Arsenal will travel to Yorkshire as they face Huddersfield Town.

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