Leicester City 0-0 Arsenal: Controversial stalemate at the King Power Stadium

Leicester City kicked off their Premier League home campaign with a goalless draw against last season's runners-up, Arsenal, in a controversial match at the King Power Stadium.

At the centre of the controversy was referee Mark Clattenburg, who waved off two penalty incidents for the Foxes.

The first, and most controversial of the two, came three minutes from time when Danny Drinkwater was taken down by Laurent Koscielny inside the area. On first glance, it looked like a stonewall penalty for the Premier League champions, however replays showed that Koscielny had timed his challenge perfectly, and Clattenburg had made the right call.

The second incident came moments after Ahmed Musa entered the match. After cutting past Hector Bellerin, the Nigerian international was then blatantly fouled by the young Spaniard inside the area, but like the first incident, Clattenburg waved play on despite the uproar from the crowd, and the Leicester players.

Riyad Mahrez had the best chance of the match when last years PFA Player of the Year skimmed past the Arsenal defence, to face one-on-one with Petr Cech, however the winger’s shot was well saved by the Arsenal keeper.

Theo Walcott had multiple chances for Arsenal, however the winger was met with an inform Kasper Schmeichel, who did well to make save after save against an all guns blazing Arsenal team.

Nearly the perfect start

The Premier League champions started off on the back foot as Arsenal sprinted out of the starting block with a deadly attack. Santi Cazorla could had given the Gunners the lead just two minutes in, however his strike from outside the box was deflected by Wes Morgan.

After the frantic start, both teams started to release their foots off the pedal, but Arsenal were still looking for that early goal. Bellerin almost scored an unlikely goal 16 minutes in, when the Spanish international was left wide open at the far post, and Alexis Sanchez picked out the Arsenal graduate with a great cross, but Bellerin’s header was well parried by Kasper Schmeichel, and the danger was hoofed up field by Robert Huth.

Arsenal keep attacking

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was next to test the Leicester goal, when the inform winger cut in from his left to curl in a fierce shot from outside the box, however the Englishman’s shot curled too little, and the ball flew past the far post.

Schmeichel was forced into action again in the 30th minute when Cazorla’s free kick from 40-yards out nearly flew into the bottom corner of the Leicester goal, as not one player made contact with the ball, forcing the Danish keeper to make a great reaction save.

A controversial decision

There was a moment of controversy three minutes from time when Koscielny looked to have fouled Drinkwater in the penalty box after a classic Leicester City counter attack, but Clattenburg allowed play to continue, allowing Arsenal to clear the ball out of their half. Video replays showed that Koscielny managed to get a touch off the ball, before bringing down Drinkwater.

Injuries for the hosts

Mendy had to be substituted off | Photo: Leicester City
Mendy had to be substituted off | Photo: Leicester City

Leicester were forced into a change 52 minutes in when new signing, Nampalys Mendy, picked up an ankle injury after landing awkwardly after an aerial due with Alexis.

Francis Coquelin was lucky not to have been sent off, after the French midfielder fouled Mahrez on the edge of the box after receiving a yellow card half way through the first half. However the referee gave Coquelin a final warning, and from the resulting free kick, Mahrez skimmed the frame of the bar with a well placed free kick.

The atmosphere heats up

The atmosphere and passion at the King Power Stadium had cranked up to 11, however the action on the pitch had dropped considerably. Arsenal had solidified at the back, stopping all Leicester attacks, whilst the Gunners in turn had returned to their slow, indirect style of play that was frustrating their own fans.

Arsene Wenger brought in some fresh legs on the 72nd minute mark, as Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil replaced Granit Xhaka and Cazorla. The change made an immediate impact as Walcott was played through on goal by Ozil, however his curling strike flew straight into the palms of Schmeichel.

Arsenal were playing on overload going into the final 10 minutes, as Bellerin was being deployed as an extra midfielder. Walcott again came close to breaking the deadlock after the speedy winger was played through by Wilshere, but his goal-bound shot was expertly blocked by the Leicester captain, and out for a corner.

More controversy

The home team and fans were in uproar again at Clattenburg when substitute Musa was fouled by Bellerin inside the penalty box, and similar to the incident in the first half, the referee dismissed Leicester’s cries.

Mahrez could had bagged a late winner for the champions when the Algerian winger burst through the Arsenal defence, but his shot from close range was saved by Cech, and Musa didn’t take his chances on the rebound.

Arsenal and Leicester City both lay in joint 12th place after both sides picked up their first point of the 2016/17 Premier League season.