Leicester City 2 Arsenal 0
Vardy 68 Maddison 75

Arsenal were blown away by an impressive Leicester City side with two quality goals from Jamie Vardy and James Maddison, to go into the international break with a loss and a sad indictment of play for Unai Emery’s side. In the second year of a two year deal, Emery was brought in to succeed Arsene Wenger who enjoyed 22 years at N5, but the results by his successor suggest that there remains much work to be done. Fifty Arsenal games now under his belt and Emery’s numbers show no improvement on Wenger’s final fifty games. In truth, the Gunners had been drifting for a lot longer than that. The Foxes on the other hand won the Premier League three years ago with Arsenal the only side to beat them at home and away that year. This Arsenal side however are so far off the Premier League pace, one has to wonder what can be done to galvanise the likes of Pierre-Emercik Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil into action. The early phases of play at a rain sodden King Power stadium suggested that the Gunners three man defence – David Luiz, Rob Holding and Calum Chambers might have suited the visitors. Goalless at the break, Vardy fired in after some neat passing through a stationary Arsenal defence. Vardy then turned provider after another slick move that was once the Arsenal hallmark for Maddison to strike low past Bernd Leno.

At least we got to see Ozil make a rare start with Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira behind him, while Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac provided the width. It was all cagey early stuff and although Kasper Schmeichel had the pick the ball out of his net from Aubameyang, the Gabon striker was just off side. The desire of Harvey Barnes, Vardy and Maddison who in particular, and who are happy under with life under Brendan Rodgers  made for a start contrast for the Arsenal players who have seemingly fallen out of love with Emery’s methods and the apparent confusion in team tactics. There is no clear identity under Emery and his inability to field his best eleven because he doesn’t seem to know what that is, does not bode well when Arsenal next feature in the Premier League at home to struggling Southampton.

The clamour for Emery to be replaced growslouder, but the noises from the club hierarchy suggest that he will be given time. There is an apparent £6m fee that Arsenal might have to pay to facilitate the departure of their head coach, but that might seem to be small change with what cost the ongoing damage of two Premier League points from the last twelve available could do to this side.  A sizeable travelling contingent travelled up to the very wet East Midlands, and for then to see Arsenal have just one shot on target coming in the 20th minute from Lacazette, is just not good enough.

Emery for all his coaching deficiencies, as shown by results in the Premier League and his ongoing linguistic ineptitude responded to the growing calls for him to be relieved of his duties.

“For me, as a coach, it’s about continuing stronger and improving with our players. I am speaking with the club to stay calm and to stay patient to improve and recover some confidence with some circumstances. We have young players who are improving and growing up with us. We are receiving criticism but I know that’s my job. I’ve had lots of moments like that but I’ve recovered by working to get confidence, being together with the club and players.”

Of the criticism of him, Emery was forthcoming.

“I accept it all. I accept the applause and I accept it when they criticise us. I know when we win, they are going to be happy and when we lose, they are going to be sad. It’s normal. We need to stay calm and also to keep improving things. Today we got one step ahead by being together and being strong defensively. But we lost because we were playing a very strong team in a good moment.”

The Arsenal board won’t quite be in panic mode, but knowing how these things transpire, they will quite possibly have taken stock on what has taken place to date under Emery, and what they may need to do to make a quick decision on whether things will remain the same, or whether now may be the right time for a change.

Best not buckle then.