Jamie Vardy’s late equaliser gave Leicester City a vital point to keep their Champions League hopes on track and end Arsenal’s recent winning streak. The Gunners looked on course for a fifth successive victory to maintain their own outside chance of a place in Europe’s elite competition next season after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang swept in his 20th league goal of the season in the first half. Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel kept Arsenal at bay with a string of fine saves before the interval, twice denying Alexandre Lacazette as well as Bukayo Saka – and it proved to be a vital contribution.
Arsenal were reduced to 10 men with 15 minutes left when Eddie Nketiah was sent off four minutes after coming on as substitute for a high challenge on James Justin, and Leicester cashed in when Vardy slid home Demarai Gray’s cross in the 84th minute, the goal finally awarded after a lengthy VAR check for offside. It was Vardy’s 22nd league strike of the season and restored his two-goal advantage over Aubameyang at the top of the Premier League scoring charts. Leicester drop to fourth, four points ahead of Manchester United having played a game more, but this was an important point that left Arsenal frustrated in seventh.
Arsenal’s recent run of league wins, away at Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers and at home to Norwich City, sparked hopes they could force their way into the Champions League places, especially with the lingering possibility of Manchester City being banned from the competition. Their hopes will have risen once more as they held the lead in impressive fashion but in the end Vardy’s equaliser left manager Mikel Arteta cutting a frustrated figure at the final whistle.
There is, however, still plenty to admire about how Arsenal are developing under Arteta, especially teenager Saka, whose superb delivery for Aubameyang’s goal was his 12th Premier League assist this season, with only Kevin de Bruyne (19) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (14) ahead of him. Arsenal have a potent striker in Aubameyang and there is a tempo and focus about their play that certainly has Arteta’s stamp – he will still feel the pain of those lost points so late on.