Thursday, March 30, 2023

Leicester 0 – Arsenal 0 | The Patterned Pitch At The King Power Was Better Viewing

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Jon Depp (JD)
Eccentric writer, effervescent blagger. What he lacks in cheekbones, he makes up by being cheeky. The footballing Jack Sparrow pompously navigating the high-waves of journalism. 2015 International Football Blogging Award Finalist, the pin-up boy of The 4th Official.

It’s only the second game of the season, and Arsenal and Leicester already find themselves in a position of circumspection. Arsenal were wedgied by Liverpool – an act of pulling up the material of someone’s undergarment tightly between their buttocks as a practical joke – very American, very Stan Kroenke. While the defending champions were handed a humbling at the KCOM (formerly known as the KC stadium), by Hull. Both teams hurting, and with their tales between their legs, this was always going to be a game where it could have been decided by who makes the least of mistakes, and as things stood, neither made more than the other, as the match ended poised at 0-0. Not an ideal start for the two table toppers from last season. A few chances, a lot of half-chances, a couple of penalty decisions that could have gone either way, but ultimately not showing enough enterprise despite their endeavours.

The 4th Official takes a look at all the collective graft of the Leicester and Arsenal and handpicks the best and the worst amongst the lot.


#1 Laurent Koscielny

‘Kos the Boss’ lived up to his name, as the Frenchman brought with him the authority that Arsenal so embarrassingly lacked. In a game that hinged on who blinked first, the 2016 European Championship finalist made Leicester’s eyes water, with his clenched-teeth persistence, to deny Vardy and company time and time and time again. Threw his body around like there was no tomorrow, a valiant effort from the stand-in Arsenal captain, who led by example.

#2 Petr Cech

What can you say about Petr Cech that hasn’t already been said? A stalwart between the posts, he came back strongly after Phil Coutinho and the Liverpool team left him bedazzled a week ago at the Emirates. The last line of defence stood tall and warded off some peppering of long-range punts from outside the box.

#3 John Ledwidge, The Groundsman

They said, this match was like watching grass grow. I disagree vehemently. The crisp green, diagonally running diamond patterns on the pitch was a sight to see. Felt like rolling around in the grass with sprinklers going off all around, and making a jolly good day out of it. John Ledwidge? Legend, more like.


#1 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

The Ox’s middle name is ‘Oxlade’ when it should be ‘runs into cul de sacs’. Once deemed to be one of the brightest wide-forward in the country, and now isn’t even half-way better than Raheem Sterling (which, honestly, he never was despite what Arsenal fans would lead you to believe). Called to action by Wenger, but is his usual meandering way, didn’t provide much in terms of tangible forward play. Has all the potential to be the next Xherdan Shaqiri.

#2 Jaime Vardy

To say he’s had a hit and miss start would be being dishonest, since he’s been mostly missing everything that has been coming his way – from scuffed shots, to air shots, to wayward ones, this hasn’t been the same ‘chat s**t, get banged’ bravado that made him one of the most prolific strikers in Europe last season. There’s enough evidence to suggest that he may not be another Kevin Phillips, the original one-season-wonder, but the longer he goes without scoring the more pressure he’s putting on himself. And that pressure is telling.

#3 Francis Coquelin

He can count his blessing that he stayed out there for as long as he did. Wanton in the tackle, could have easily been booked thrice.

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