The history books will record that three points were duly gained. They will contain scant reflection on this match which will be no bad thing. Utterly forgettable is the best that can be used for the majority of Arsenal’s performance, made to quiver defensively far too often than ought to be the case.
Post-match, Arsene Wenger didn’t seek to disguise his relief at winning.
“I feel that we were in control for the first half but when we were in control they had one or two good chances on the counter-attack.
“In the second half we lost our cohesion, our technical superiority and Leicester was always dangerous going forward. At 2-1 we became a bit nervous but overall what was important for us was to get the three points.”
Nigel Pearson will take more from the game in the long-term than Wenger. Confidence is such a precious commodity once more, the five-match unbeaten run did not offer any substance to belief with performances seeming to be more crucial to that than results.
More worryingly for the manager is that the ill-fortune which has dogged the season in terms of injury has once more started to clasp the squad closely to its bosom.
Aaron Ramsey’s hamstring twanged ten minutes or so after coming on and the Welshman departed for the treatment room. How long he will stay is anyone’s guess but three months is new three weeks.
Relief comes with Alexis Sanchez’s injury being attributed to nothing more sinister than a knock. How run of the mill that turns out to be is in the hands of the medical team.
Wenger noted that he contemplated removing the Chilean at half-time but fell prey to believing Alexis on the extent of his injury. It is a mistake every manager makes yet one which matters only when it affects key players.
Alexis himself lamented his enthusiasm on social media after the match. It’s the sort of thing you could imagine Ian Wright doing such was his desire to play.
Few players emerged with enhanced reputations last night, indeed only Wright seems to have endeared himself to the crowd with an honest opinion about Spurs in a half-time pitchside chat.
Arsenal were susceptible to the counter-attack with the omission of both Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck meaning the absence of a genuine target man. As quickly as Arsenal put the ball forward, it seemed for a while to return with utmost speed.
David Ospina was taking cheer from another clean sheet but Leicester received their due reward with Andrej Kramaric’s goal. It might have been the second or third with wayward finishing and deflections saving Arsenal as many times as the abilities of the Colombian.
Calls for Wojciech Szczesny to return to the first XI will be answered this weekend but I am far from convinced it will be anything but a 90-minute moment.
Defensively, Arsenal were exposed down both flanks with Riyad Mahrez the main danger for the visitors. Fortunately, Per Mertesacker is returning to his previously calm and measured self, leaving the quivering wreck that haunted the defence far behind.
Bright spots came from the goals and Mesut Ozil’s range of passing. The German stood accused of not performing at White Hart Lane; nothing unusual in that it was the same that could have been levelled at the entire XI.
His rasping drive was parried into the path of Theo Walcott for the second; amends made for wasting the genius of Ozil’s pass although, in fairness to Walcott, it was Mark Schwarzer’s face that stopped the ball not any moment of goalkeeping magnificence.
With Larent Koscielny’s goal apparently pumping Arsenal to the top of the goalscoring from set-pieces charts, these were rare moments of brightness.
Yet we are fast approaching the point in the season where results matter more than performances. We’re not quite there yet and in any case, winning ugly requires some semblance of form. Perhaps last night was just the first fumble at regaining belief after the crushing blow of losing the North London Derby.
And perhaps that is the context in which solace can be found. The stepping stone that this season was hoped to be turned out to be based in nothing firmer than shifting sands. Whether it shifts backwards or sideways will be determined by results between now and the end of May. It seems unlikely to be viewed as moving forward.