Tag: Laurent Koscielny

Premiership: Arsenal 2-1 Leicester

Arsenal moved back into the Barclays Premier League top four as they edged out bottom club Leicester 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners, beaten by Tottenham in the north London derby on Saturday, looked to be in control after first-half goals from Laurent Koscielny and Theo Walcott.

However, Croatia forward Andrej Kramaric netted his first Leicester goal after 61 minutes to reduce the deficit, while Arsene Wenger’s side survived some late pressure and some five minutes of stoppage time to secure victory which moves them back above Spurs and Manchester United, who play on Wednesday.

The result was harsh on Nigel Pearson’s side, showing plenty of industry for their under-fire manager, who came down from the director’s box to orchestrate the second-half recovery.

Leicester, winless in 16 games against Arsenal since November 1994, had enjoyed a promising start as a deflected effort from Riyad Mahrez flew across the Arsenal six-yard box.

There were alarm bells in the home penalty area again after 11 minutes when the Algerian forward burst clear down the right and fired a low shot through the legs of David Ospina, which flew just wide of the far post.

Arsenal slowly built some sustained possession, with fit again Alexis Sanchez central to their positive momentum.

In the 15th minute, Walcott latched onto a through pass from Mesut Ozil, but Foxes goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer was out quickly to make a smart block with his chest.

Ozil, fit again following nearly three months out with a knee injury, played a neat exchange with Sanchez at the edge of the Leicester box, before stepping inside and sending a toe-poke shot towards the bottom right corner, which Schwarzer palmed away at full stretch.

From the resulting corner, Arsenal took the lead after 27 minutes.

Ozil floated the ball towards the near post, where Koscielny got clear of his marker to fire past the keeper from point-blank range.

Leicester looked to regroup, and Mahrez curled a 20-yard effort wide after more patient build up from the Foxes, who had lost their last three Premier League matches.

Arsenal, though, doubled their lead in the 41st minute.

Ozil was given space some 25 yards out and drilled in a left-foot shot which Schwarzer could only parry.

The ball dropped to Walcott, who dispatched it on the volley back into the bottom left corner for a third goal in four games.

Arsenal felt they should have been awarded a penalty at the start of the second half when the ball clearly struck Leicester defender Danny Simpson on the arm from Sanchez’s pass, but referee Mike Jones was not convinced.

Leicester continued to look for a way back into the match, with an angled pass from Simpson picking out Matty James in the right side of the penalty area, but the midfielder could not bring the ball under control.

On the hour as former Arsenal defender Matthew Upson limped off, replaced by Marcin Wasilewski, Ospina got down quickly to beat away a low drive by Kramaric, whose cross was then headed over by Per Mertesacker.

Arsenal were punished for some slack defending from the corner as it bounced around a crowded penalty area before being buried into the bottom left corner by Kramaric for his first Leicester goal since a B£9million January move from Rijeka.

The Gunners looked to reassert themselves, as Santi Cazorla tested Schwarzer with an angled drive before, after 68 minutes, Sanchez was replaced by Olivier Giroud.

Mahrez curled a 20-yard effort inches wide before Leicester broke quickly again in the 71st minute, with Ospina just getting his fingers to a chip from Kramaric.

Arsenal had to replace substitute Aaron Ramsey, who had not been on the pitch for more than 10 minutes, when the Wales midfielder pulled up with what looked like a hamstring problem. Matheiu Flamini came on.

Leicester refused to lie down, but this time, there was to be no late capitulation from the Gunners, who host Middlesbrough in the FA Cup fifth round on Sunday.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Arsenal 3-0 Stoke

Arsenal climbed above neighbours Tottenham and into fifth place in the Premier League with a dominant display against Stoke.

Laurent Koscielny took advantage of slack marking to head the hosts into an early lead from Sanchez’s cross.

The Chile international then finished off a neat move with Tomas Rosicky to double Arsenal’s lead before half-time.

Sanchez, 26, added his second goal of the game and 18th of the season from a free-kick shortly after the break.

It proved a relatively routine victory for an Arsenal side and for David Ospina, who retained his place after the 2-0 FA Cup third round win over Hull.

It was the 26-year-old Colombia international’s first Premier League start, with Wojciech Szczesny dropped to the bench following reports he was caught smoking in the showers after the New Year’s Day defeat at Southampton.

Stoke were given early warning of Arsenal’s intent when Sanchez and Tomas Rosicky forced goalkeeper Asmir Begovic into saves in the opening five minutes.

And within 60 seconds Koscielny took advantage of Arsenal’s third corner of the match by heading in Sanchez’s delivery.

Arsenal were forced to substitute defender Matthieu Debuchy when he dislocated his right shoulder in a challenge from Marko Arnautovic and collided with the advertising boards behind the goal.

Stoke created little throughout the game and their first real chance came when Glenn Whelan blazed a smart free-kick from Bojan over the bar on 25 minutes.

Peter Crouch also headed a tame effort wide from an Arnautovic cross.

Sanchez then stretched Arsenal’s lead with his 17th goal of the season – a low shot in to the bottom left-hand corner after a smart one-two with Rosicky on the edge of the area.

Soon after the break, Sanchez was among the goals again. His free-kick squeezed through the wall and Begovic was unable to stop the ball crossing the line via his body and a post.

By then, the game was over as a contest but Stoke rallied.

Geoff Cameron had a goal ruled out for offside when he strayed ahead of the Arsenal defence from Crouch’s flick-on.

And, as full-time approached, substitute Stephen Ireland forced Ospina into his only real save of note with a low right-foot effort.

Read more at BBC Sport