Leicester City 0-2 Arsenal: Fuchs own goal and Nketiah strike seal EFL Cup win

By Sports Desk September 23, 2020

Arsenal are into the EFL Cup fourth round after Christian Fuchs' own goal and a late effort from Eddie Nketiah handed them a 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium.

Mikel Arteta made seven changes to the side that beat West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday and his new-look XI struggled to lay a glove on the hosts during a tepid first half. 

They improved after the break, though, and opened the scoring shortly before the hour mark when Fuchs inadvertently put through his own net after Nicolas Pepe's shot had come back off the post.

Nketiah bundled home from close range in the 90th minute to seal the win and ensure Arsenal made it three wins from three at the start of the 2020-21 season.

Both goalkeepers were called into action inside the opening 10 minutes, Danny Ward tipping over Reiss Nelson's fizzing drive from distance and Bernd Leno denying Kelechi Iheanacho at the other end. 

The lively Nelson missed a glorious opportunity to open the scoring shortly after the half-hour mark, firing wide from 12 yards after finding space at a corner. 

Leicester almost went into the interval ahead but James Maddison's curled effort from 20 yards crashed back off Leno's left-hand post. 

After a sedate opening to the second period, Arsenal forged ahead in the 57th minute. Pepe's initial shot was pawed away by Ward, but the Ivorian's follow-up shot from an acute angle flew back off the post into Fuchs and over the line.

Wes Morgan denied Arsenal a second, heading Nketiah's looping effort off the line, while Ayoze Perez inexplicably headed wide 10 minutes from time in what was comfortably the Foxes' best chance of the game. 

Nketiah then added Arsenal's second late on, scuffing home from inside the six-yard box after substitute Hector Bellerin's mazy run, with Daniel Amartey somehow failing to clear the danger. 

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    "Ridiculous" was a word used by Frank Lampard to sum up N'Golo Kante last week - and with good reason. 

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    Kante's "quietly influential" form has helped Lampard's side to a strong start to the season that has left some to bill Sunday's derby clash with Tottenham as something of a title showdown – or at least a game that could well highlight which of the two has the best chance of dethroning Liverpool. 

    A win for either side will move them top of the table after 10 games, but Kante's recent performances might just indicate Chelsea have the edge.

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    In 2018-19, Maurizio Sarri preferred Jorginho at the base of midfield, with Kante generally shifted to the right of a three. 

    The system was hardly a failure: Chelsea returned to the Champions League, won the Europa League and only lost the EFL Cup final on penalties to Manchester City. Few, though, ever thought it brought the best out of Kante. 

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    N'Golo Kante's touch maps by season, from 2018-19 (L) to 2020-21. The shift from the right-hand side towards the base of midfield is clear.

    He is averaging 82 touches per 90 minutes in the Premier League, the highest figure he has ever posted for Chelsea, five more than in his title-winning debut season in 2016-17. He is also averaging 67 passes per game, more than he ever has before for the club.

    In other words, Kante is very much at the heart of Lampard's Chelsea.

    He is also back to his exceptional defensive levels in 2020-21, averaging three interceptions per game – again the most in his Chelsea career – as well as three tackles, his highest figure under Lampard.

    The caveat is his passes in the final third have dropped by an average of six per game compared to last season and by nine compared to 2018-19, but the creative talent at Lampard's disposal means the burden of attacking is no longer on Kante's shoulders.

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