Well, no one expected another comeback like last weekend’s at Stoke but the boys pulled it out of the bag and came back from 0-2 down to secure us another point and amaze the Sky commentators once again, extending our reign as the only unbeaten club in all competitions this season.
Another cracking performance by Mahrez started our comeback, converting a penalty after Drinkwater was bundled over in the box. Vardy again added to the euphoria, latching onto a Mahrez flick-on to score the all-important equaliser. With these two always looking for the ball and putting in fantastic work-rates game after game, we’ve got ourselves what seems to be the perfect goal-scoring duo.
But Ranieri is cautious in light of his recent successes with reports suggesting he tried to encourage the squad with the promise of pizza if they managed to achieve their first clean sheet of the season, adding “We need to start games better so we are not always fighting back.” It is true; if we look at what we’ve achieved so far, imagine how hard fighting back against us would be if we took a 2-0 lead!
We had another potential challenge mid-week with a second meeting with the Hammers in the Capital One Cup. And what’s even better is that this time we beat them with a team showing 10 changes, with the two goals coming from Joe Dodoo and Andy King. I think, as I mentioned earlier in the season, that this is key for Ranieri. You never know what’s going to happen through the season but we know we have back-up which can deliver, and deliver against in-form teams like West Ham. Ranieri is said to be ‘delighted’ to have some selection headaches for the Arsenal match after a series of great performances across the board. What a great situation for a manager to be in!
It was always going to be a good rematch and we’re level-pegging in the league, with West Ham just overtaking us last weekend on goal difference so I suspect many of us were expecting an extra time or penalty finish. I must say I’m looking forward to welcoming the Hammers back just after Easter.
This weekend we meet Arsenal for the first time in 2015/16 and these always prove to be thrillers. With the King Power Stadium sold out it is going to a match filled with passion from both players and fans alike as we defend our unbeaten record. Our last couple of matches against the Gunners have been pretty close with the home match last season finishing all square.
Of course, we’ve got a history with Arsenal. Well, I have, after scoring the equaliser in the seventh minute of added time when we met almost 20 years ago: one of my most memorable moments at LCFC as we achieved a 3-3 draw in the first few weeks of the 1997/98 season.
Back then they were our ‘bogey’ team and the only big team in the Premier League we just couldn’t defeat. Bergkamp was absolutely superb; he was on fire and gave one of the best individual displays I’d ever seen, scoring all 3 of Arsenal’s goals that day. I was up against Ian Wright, who could always be a bit of a handful. Heskey managed to get us the first goal in the 84th minute to make it 1-2 and we thought that would be it, but there were a few more minutes and, as it turned out, 3 more goals to come!
The current squad (and fans) have so much spirit and that puts us in a great position. We’re fighting for points from every match and we’re fighting until the end. It almost seems that we perform best when we have the pressure of a comeback to contend with, and come back we have. But this weekend it could be dangerous to let Arsenal run away in the first half and rely on the success of our ‘comeback kings’…although it can be done, I’ve been there!
We’ll be gunning for you Mr Wenger and some of Arsenal’s recent performances have been a tad lacklustre so let’s see what they do in the face of the Foxes’ pace, passion and performance.