By Isaac Moore at Meadow Park
Arsenal Under-21s suffered a disappointing defeat at home to Leicester on Monday night.
Leicester took the lead in the sixth minute through a Tom Hopper strike and never looked back after that. A brace either side of half-time from Ryan Watson secured the three points for the visitors. Michael Cain completed the scoring with 10 minutes remaining.
The defeat leaves Arsenal still in 16th position in the Under-21 Premier League and, with just two games remaining, a place in the top half now looks unlikely.
SETTING THE SCENE
Steve Gatting made three changes to the side that beat Manchester City exactly a week ago. In came Tafari Moore, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Alex Iwobi in place of Hector Bellerin, Isaac Hayden and Jack Jebb.
Arsenal's evening got off to a shaky start. In the sixth minute Hopper robbed Tafari Moore of possession and slotted under Matt Macey to give the Foxes an early lead. The visitors nearly caught Arsenal cold for the second time inside the opening 20 minutes when Jak McCourt's short free-kick found Watson in space and his low drive had to be pushed away by Macey.
The Gunners struggled to find any rhythm in the first half and were pinned back by a well-organised and powerful Leicester side. Watson warmed the palms of Macey before Moore was forced to make a last-ditch tackle to deny Hopper his second.
But the Foxes' second did come four minutes before the break. Arsenal could only clear a corner as far as Watson who allowed time to turn and drill past Macey.
Arsenal improved after the break but the damage was already done. Thomas Eisfeld manoeuvred himself some room before picking out Kris Olsson and the Swede drove wide of the near post.
Leicester put the game beyond Gatting's side just before the hour. Arsenal seemed to stop after Stefan O'Connor had fouled McCourt. Watson didn't and he drifted past three Arsenal defenders before sending a tame effort through the legs of Macey.
Arsenal's best chance of the game came on 76 minutes when Olsson combined with substitute Glen Kamara before crossing for Zak Ansah whose diverted effort clipped the crossbar. Leicester then immediately countered and Jacob Blyth crashed a shot onto Macey's bar before Arsenal scrambled clear.
Substitute Cain rounded off a comprehensive win for Leicster in the 80th minute when he somehow squeezed a low effort past Macey at the near post.
- O'Connor Yellow Card
- Maitland-Niles 70
- Iwobi 70
- Kamara 70
- Lipman 70
- Jack McCourt 80
- St. Ledger
- Watson Goal! Goal!
- Blyth 83
- Hopper Goal!
- Joe Dodoo 71
- Cain 71 Goal!
- Dawson 80
- Barrington 83