Arsene Wenger’s team last night managed to snatch victory against a tenacious Leicester City with an own-goal deflected in off defender Robert Huth; who was arguably the away team’s best player as the centre of their concerted effort of resistance. Despite having nearly 70 per cent possession, Arsenal failed to break down the Foxes back line until the 86th minute, when Nacho Monreal’s wayward effort hit the unfortunate German defender’s chest deflecting past Kasper Schmeichel and finding the bottom corner.
However, Leicester also threatened twice with Riyad Mahrez forcing Petr Cech into a fine save with a fierce half-volley from 10 yards and then had furious penalty appeals turned down at the closing minutes.
Alexis Sanchez crashed a long-range effort off the crossbar on the stroke of half-time.
Before the match, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger insisted that qualifying for a 20th successive season of Champions League football was still possible, but dependent on a “perfect run-in”. The result means Arsenal are now four points off fourth-place Manchester City and six off third-place Liverpool, though the Gunners have two games in hand on Jurgen Klopp’s side.
An act of deception executed with lousy timing created an embarrassing incident in the final moments of the game as a frustrated Christian Fuchs directed a throw-in towards the head of Sanchez at point-blank range, after the Arsenal man had been standing on the byline in an attempt to put the Austrian off. Sanchez, who was hit on his shoulder but belatedly went down holding his face, was booked for the incident.
“We showed resilience in our defending, but we have not got any points on the board to show for it. We restricted them and were cruelly beaten by a deflected shot. We have got a dejected dressing room in there,” said Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare after the game.