Leicetser's draw vs. Arsenal should have been much more
A point against Arsenal -- a team Leicester hasn't beaten in the league since 1994 -- is clearly a superb result but one that will probably disappoint manager Nigel Pearson.
Once again, Leicester will get branded "resilient" and "well organised," but let's be honest, these are backhanded compliments -- ways for the media, or opposition managers, to imply the underdog successfully bridged the gulf in class. That doesn't mean they are not accurate adjectives, but you rarely hear the Premier League's big boys dubbed hard-working or gutsy.
Leicester was both against Arsenal, but there's no denying they were also wasteful. In particular, Leonardo Ulloa -- who got the Foxes' equaliser with a neatly-placed header -- had a wonderful opportunity to hand them a 2-1 lead.
Ulloa has now scored in both home games, so most will maintain his record 8 million pound transfer fee was money well spent. However, after a neat one-two with Riyad Mahrez and having left Callum Chambers on his backside, the Argentine should have finished past Wojciech Szczesny, who went down too early. Had Ulloa been just a touch more composed (and perhaps gone across the goal), Leicester could have edged ahead.
Given Dave Nugent also missed from clean through against Chelsea, with the scores at 0-0, Pearson might feel Leicester should have had a few more points on the board. The signs are clear that City can stay up, but chances really must be converted. You would expect most Premier League strikers to put away the ones Ulloa and Nugent fluffed.
I know this sounds overly critical, but when you are striving to survive in the Premier League, every single goal matters. It is all too easy to conclude draws with Everton and Arsenal and a spirited loss at Stamford Bridge, warrants a successful start to the season. After all, Leicester has two points more than most expected before a ball was kicked.
Yet the Foxes had absolutely nothing to lose in their opening three games. Intensity is bound to drop, especially once the promotion high wears off and that winning feeling from the Championship fades. History tells us that in the crucial relegation six-pointers, tension tends to creep in and chances dry up. Thus, Leicester must be wary of spurning the ones they do create, even at this early stage of the season.
The Arsenal draw was a genuine opportunity for Leicester to record their first Premier League victory. City dominated the second half, and like Ulloa, Jamie Vardy also had a decent effort saved after he was put through (perhaps a touch too early) by Nugent.
As confident and solid as Leicester looked, though, Arsenal appeared disjointed. Arsene Wenger will surely be concerned by the club's lack of clean sheets so far. Plus, though Alexis Sanchez got his first league goal, the Gunners seemed uncomfortable without a lead striker.
Olivier Giroud's broken leg is a huge problem for them. His selfless ball-winning skills allow Arsenal's pacey midfielders to push forward. Their movement and quick feet are what cause defenders headaches. Yaya Sanago is no Giroud (and Giroud is no Robin van Persie). I think Wenger's failure to land either Mario Balotelli or Loic Remy will end Arsenal's title hopes.
Still, let's not put Leicester's point solely down to Arsenal's below-par performance. City, even with serial stifler Esteban Cambiasso on the bench, held their own in midfield and did so without the injured Matty James, too. They didn't show Arsenal any respect, nor did defenders Wes Morgan and Liam Moore struggle to marshal Mezut Ozil, Santi Carzola or Aaron Ramsey, none of whom looked up for the physical battle.
Leicester also once again displayed 'bounce-back-ability.' For the second consecutive home game, they fell behind but hit back within a matter of minutes. Not too many sides that go down pick up points when they drop the first goal. In fact, having geekily done the math, since the advent of the Premier League, it happens just 12 percent of the time.
Leicester already has two comeback points to their name, which will delight Pearson. But if you want to survive, it is imperative to turn ballsy draws into wins. The Arsenal point will be heralded as a bonus, but I am sure Pearson will argue City played well enough to take all three points.
The Foxes now go to Stoke -- never an easy place to win and the scene of Leicester's relegation to League One in 2008 -- before Manchester United's visit to the King Power Stadium (in arguably a relegation dogfight!). If Leicester is clinical, more points will follow. If they aren't, "passionate," "well-organised" or "gutsy" displays won't be enough to stop them tumbling down the table.