Arsenal 1 Leicester City 0
Huth og 86

It was a relieved Arsene Wenger who saw his side leave it late to grab all three points against Leicester City at the Emirates stadium on Wednesday night. Nacho Monreal struck a shot which appeared to be going wide until that is it clipped Robert Huth and flew past the dive of Kasper Schmeichel. The Foxes were distraught and having come to stifle the attacking Gunners’ instincts, had to accept their second defeat under Craig Shakespeare. The match match ended with something of a farce when Alexis Sanchez was yellow carded having persistently not retreated from Christian Fuchs’ throw in. Fuchs then appeared to directly hit Alexis, but was ape sanction. The Gunners remain in sixth spot on 60 points, five points off Manchester City in fourth but with game in hand. Wenger was delighted with his side’s endeavours.

” We took the initiative, we lacked a little bit of change of pace and penetration – you could see we had a few heavy legs. But you could see we were serious and didn’t give chances away. Maybe we lacked a little bit of speed in our game to get them out of position – but they defend well and are very difficult to get out of position.

” In the end, I think the win rewards the team who took the initiative in the game. Overall, we are very happy with that because we knew the three points would be very difficult tonight. Let’s not forget as well that we played on Sunday afternoon and Leicester did not play at all at the weekend. They had good preparation for the game and we knew we had a little handicap on that front.”

Wenger started with Theo Walcott, Alexis and Mesut Özil in attack, with Kieran Gibbs and Hector Bellerin providing the width in another three man defence. Lacking height, it seemed illogical to aim high balls into a City side with Huth, and the solidity of Yohan Benalouane keeping the Gunners at bay.

Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez fizzed for the visitors, with the latter forcing Petr Cech to make an excellent reflex save midway through the first half. France Coquelin had earlier stung Schmeichel’s hands with no Arsenal player able to capitalise on the loose ball and Theo Walcott’s run and improvised effort deserved reward.

Alexis seemed to be in another dimension as he uncharacteristically kept giving the ball away. His shot from Monreal’s pass struck the bar as the half ended goalless.

Bellerin and Granit Xhaka went close for the home side after the break, with Laurent Koscielny’s header from Bellerin’s cross lacking power to beat Schmeichel.

Gibbs made way for Danny Welbeck, and his link up play with Ozil and Alexis saw the England striker fire across goal, and then cleared for a corner. The visitors sat deep and concentrated on keeping a clean sheet, but Monreal’s effort off Huth would win it for the Gunners to keep alive the top four ambitions for Wenger’s side.

” We have one advantage, and that is of clarity. We have to win our games, so that is why we know we cannot be happy with a 0-0 – we have to take a gamble to try to win the game at any cost, ” noted Wenger.

” I finished with four at the back because when I took Gibbs off we moved to a four. We finished with four strikers: Welbeck, Giroud, Alexis and Ozil, plus we also had Ramsey who is quite offensive. We finished with four at the back because we absolutely had to win the game.

With the North London derby next up at White Hart Lane on Sunday, Wenger was at pains to point out that his focus is on the Gunners and not on Spurs’ title hopes.

” We play for ourselves, not others. In life, you work for your own achievements, not for others. What is important is that we go there, try to win the game and focus on our own performance. We do not want to go into any speculation on that. Sport is great but you’re never happy when others do badly and you do badly. You’re happy when you do well.”