February 14, 2016 – English Premier League, Week 26
Arsenal 2-1 Leicester
In dramatic fashion Arsenal stormed back to erase a 1 goal deficit and take the lead with just seconds remaining in one of the most important matches of the season. Leicester, who for their part played a very tough game defensively and was a man down for a good 30 minutes of the match, couldn’t keep the Gunners from the goal line and in the end lose a bit of their grip on the title race. It was a bananas match any way you look at it. You had a controversial penalty shot called, a red card shown, a few amazing saves by each side, and an incredible story in Danny Welbeck’s substitution winner.
- The first half was a pretty fair bout between two excellent clubs, but Leicester seemed to have the better chances. Arsenal’s world-class goalkeeper, Petr Cech, was forced into a couple of good saves, most dangerously padding a cross/shot from Kanté over the bar. If a cross/shot accidentally goes in how do you react? It’s like when you say a joke and someone laughs and repeats your joke but they repeat something totally different than what you actually said. So uncomfortable.
- While Arsenal were attacking right before halftime, Leicester’s Morgan rode Ozil like a pony at the petting zoo just outside the Leicester box. Inexplicably, play moved on which led to a fast break by prolific penalty-producer Vardy. Vardy literally has drawn more penalty shots alone than all other 19 premier league teams combined (thanks, Opta) and was successful once again by kicking the back of Nacho Monreal’s legs in the box and falling over. An argument can be made that Nacho shouldn’t have even put himself in that situation, but Vardy’s ‘clever’ footsmanship worked none-the-less and a penalty was given. He drilled it past a wrong-footed Cech and the away side was up 0-1.
- At halftime Wenger brought on hair-blessed Calum Chambers at center-back to replace the ailing Koscielny. The fresh legs and better haircuts on the pitch seemed to spark the Gunners to life. A shot by the maddeningly good but inconsistent Ramsey and a quick Leicester yellow card gave the Gunners some early second half momentum. It was almost all blown though not long after that when Leicester’s Mahrez nearly drew another penalty shot on a Daytime-Emmy-worthy dive but the fickle ref didn’t blow his whistle.
- The entire match changed course dramatically when Leicester’s Danny Simpson grabbed and pulled to the ground Olivier Giroud and earned his second yellow card, which if you’re new to this whole thing means he earned a red and was sent packing. Leicester, now down to 10 men, were forced to sit back and pray Arsenal would continue finishing like a dolphin trying to ride a bike.
- Arsene Wenger made his second switch of the match, bringing on striker Theo Walcott for defensive-midfielder Coquelin. It almost immediately paid off. A deft cross by the speedy-Spaniard Bellerin was nodded gracefully into the path of the streaking Walcott who banished the ball into the back of the net. A beautiful equalizer for Gunner fans and just the spark they needed.
- Arsenal attacked relentlessly while Leicester parked the bus completely. The usually deadly Alexis Sanchez couldn’t quite do anything with the final ball, often looking like he had to pee very badly. A few other great chances went begging until Giroud’s bullet strike heading for the bottom left corner was amazingly saved by a desperately diving Leicester keeper.
- The match looked to end in a draw when in the closing seconds Leicester’s Marcin Wasilewski executed a move which from now on can only be described as “putting peppers on the Nachos” and giving Arsenal one last set-piece chance at the win.
- Ozil arched a fateful cross into the box and Danny Welbeck, subbed in late in the game for his first appearance for the gunners in almost a year, redirected the ball beautifully into the back of the net. The tinderbox crowd erupted and Gunner fans across the world all said “NO F*CKING WAY” at the same time altering the course of time and causing the upcoming leap year day to be cancelled in entirety.
As an emotional Gunner fan and totally not biased at all writer I have to say this was the most exciting game I’ve watched in a long time. Arsenal should take this momentum into the chase for the title, but as everyone should not forget Leicester is still top of the table and in control of their destiny. What a time to be alive.
Danny Freakin’ Welbeck with the epic game winner at the end of stoppage time. He’s thinking “I GOT A HOT BELLY NOWWWWWWW!”
“That hug looks so wonderful!” – Nacho Monreal looking on as Petr Cech grants Welbeck his much deserved ‘one hug per season’