Arsenal 2 Leicester 1
Arsenal clung desperately to all three points in a pulsating finish as two
bizarre second half goals turned their Highbury clash against Leicester into a
The Gunners seemed to be sailing to victory when a spectacular own goal by
Leicester captain Steve Walsh after 57 minutes added to David Platt's strike
nine minutes before the interval.
But then with 13 minutes left a shocking error by Arsenal's England goalkeeper
David Seaman handed Leicester's Neil Lennon a goal on a plate to reduce the
We then had an incredible series of Arsenal escapes as Leicester bombarded the
home goal in a reminder of the clash of the two sides at Filbert Street back in
This time there was no happy ending for Leicester who on the earlier occasion
pinched a point after being 2-0 and then 3-1 behind.
But Emile Heskey and Walsh both had opportunities to produce a carbon-copy of
that Filbert Street drama and Arsenal's Martin Keown also went within inches of
scoring an own goal as his side came under a frenzied attack.
Arsenal dominated the first half without ever hitting top form and after
Leicester goalkeeper Kasey Keller pulled off splendid saves from Ian Wright and
Marc Overmars, it was a surprise when Arsenal went ahead with David Platt
heading home a Bergkamp free-kick.
That was the first sign of fragility in the Leicester defence, the goal coming
from Robbie Savage's miskick and then Muzzy Izzett's handball.
Arsenal could easily have had more before the interval, with Ray Parlour
shooting just wide and Overmars failing to finish off Platt's through ball.
And the contest looked finished 13 minutes after the break when Steve Bould
pumped a long ball from within his own half to the edge of the Leicester penalty
box where Wright was making a token effort to put Walsh under pressure.
But the Leicester skipper completely panicked as Keller came out and he lifted
the ball over him and just under the bar.
But any hopes Arsenal had of strolling through to Sunday's North London derby
meeting with Spurs disappeared when Seaman put Leicester back in the match.
Bould's back pass was a routine affair but the England keeper failed to
control it and although he toe-ended it beyond the challenge of Heskey, he lost
it again as substitute Tony Cottee tackled him and the ball ran loose for Izzett
to lay on a simple chance which Lennon calmly put away.
After that the match could have finished at any score as Leicester threw
everybody forward and left themselves open to breakaways.
But Arsenal were so rattled in defence that they could not even think of
mounting meaningful counter raids.
Seaman somehow scooped the ball off the line after a corner by Steve Guppy
rebounded off both Matt Elliott and Walsh before hitting a post. Arsenal were at
full stretch in the closing minutes as their fans shouted at referee David
Elleray to blow the final whistle and there was one more Leicester chance -
wasted by Heskey no more than six yards out.
Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Winterburn, Vieira, Bould, Platt,
Wright (Anelka 74), Bergkamp, Overmars, Keown, Parlour.
Subs Not Used: Manninger, Upson, Marshall, Hughes.
Goals: Platt 36, Walsh 56 og.
Leicester: Keller, Walsh, Izzet, Lennon, Claridge (Cottee 68),
Heskey, Savage, Kaamark, Campbell (Parker 59), Elliott, Guppy.
Subs Not Used: Fenton, Arphexad, Wilson.
Booked: Campbell, Elliott.
Goals: Lennon 77.
Ref: D R Elleray (Harrow-on-the-Hill).