Jamie Vardy scored late on as Leicester City took advantage of Eddie Nketiah’s red card to draw 1-1 with Arsenal.
Eddie Nketiah’s red card proved costly for Arsenal as Jamie Vardy’s late goal salvaged a 1-1 draw for Leicester City in the Premier League.
Mikel Arteta’s side looked set to make it four league wins on the spin on Tuesday, thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 21st-minute goal.
Yet, just four minutes after coming on, substitute Nketiah received his marching orders for a rash tackle on James Justin – referee Chris Kavanagh consulting VAR to deem the youngster’s tackle worthy of a straight red.
And Leicester made their numerical advantage count with six minutes remaining – Vardy’s goal standing after a long VAR check for offside as the Foxes claimed a valuable point.
Leicester started brightly, yet they were behind when the impressive Bukayo Saka fooled Jonny Evans and teed up Aubameyang for a simple finish.
Aubameyang would have returned the favour if not for Caglar Soyuncu’s intervention soon after, before Kasper Schmeichel denied Alexandre Lacazette.
Kelechi Iheanacho had a goal disallowed due to a foul, while Lacazette should have done better with a header at the other end.
Schmeichel again had to be alert to prevent David Luiz extending Arsenal’s lead after the break, with Iheanacho then directing a close-range volley at Emiliano Martinez.
Lacazette thought he had nudged in Arsenal’s second with 22 minutes remaining, only for the offside flag to cut short his celebrations, and his replacement Nketiah lasted just a matter of minutes before he was sent off.
Leicester made Nketiah’s mistake count nine minutes later – Vardy tucking in from Demarai Gray’s cross, with VAR unable to confirm whether Ayoze Perez got a touch on the way through, which would likely have led to the goal being ruled out for offside.
What does it mean? Arsenal’s Champions League hopes dealt a blow
Arsenal would have been heading into sixth place, just three points behind Manchester United and six adrift of Leicester, had they held on, but as it is they stay seventh, with Wolves able to move five points clear of the Gunners should they beat Sheffield United on Wednesday.
Leicester, meanwhile, stay fourth, with Chelsea having gone above them thanks to an earlier win over Crystal Palace.
Saka answers Arteta’s call
While one Arsenal youngster – Matteo Guendouzi – finds himself out in the cold, Saka is thriving. Arteta asked the teenager to improve his all-round game after scoring his first league goal in the win over Wolves on Saturday, and on Tuesday the winger was in superb form in the first half, combining brilliantly with Lacazette and Aubameyang in the final third.
Nketiah’s nightmare cameo
Arsenal’s second-half display left a lot to be desired, though they did look comfortable until Nketiah lunged in recklessly on Justin and put his side on the back foot – a mistake the Gunners ultimately paid for.
Key Opta Facts
– Arsenal remain unbeaten in 23 home league games against Leicester (W19 D4).
– Leicester City have scored 18 goals in the final 15 minutes of their Premier League games this season, more than any other side.
– Aubameyang is just the second Arsenal player to score 20+ Premier League goals in consecutive seasons, after Thierry Henry (five in a row between 2001-02 and 2005-06).
– Only Kevin De Bruyne (19) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (14) have provided more assists among Premier League players in all competitions this season than Saka (12).
– Only Aubameyang has been involved in more goals for Arsenal this season in all competitions (25) than Saka (16 – 4 goals, 12 assists).
It is the small matter of the north London derby up next for Arsenal, with a win potentially crucial in their bid for Europe. Leicester, meanwhile, face relegation-threatened Bournemouth.