LONDON (UK) – Tied at 1-1 in the last few seconds of stoppage time against league-leading Leicester City, the Arsenal Gunners needed a miracle against the ten-man Foxes.
Thirty minutes after Leicester’s Danny Simpson received a red card, forcing the Foxes to play with one fewer man, and an equalizer from striker Theo Walcott bringing the Gunners level in the 70th minute, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger played one final card to play in the hopes of preventing another promising Arsenal EPL title campaign slip thru his fingers.
Enter Danny Welbeck.
Welbeck, a very talented striker acquired during the transfer window in 2014 from longtime bitter rival Manchester United, suffered a knee injury that forced him to miss the final portion of 2014-15 and most of 2015-16, came in for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 83rd minute in the faint hopes of saving Arsenal’s fading league title hopes.
And boy, did he ever.
With Arsenal pressing forward and pinning the short-handed Foxes back in their end during stoppage time. Leicester seemingly on the verge of vanquishing Arsenal on their own pitch was SOclose to clinching a proverbial league-clinching and points-separating three points in North London.
And then it happened.
Off of a Mesut Ozil free kick, Welbeck redirected the ball past Foxes goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel in the waning moments of stoppage time to fire the Gunners past the league leaders and right back into the middle of a suddenly-thick EPL title race.
With Arsenal’s 2-1 result over LFC, couple with fellow North London derby rival Tottenham’s 2-1 win at the Ethidad over Machester City, Spurs, Leicester and Arsenal are now separated by a razor-thin margin of two points, with the Foxes having 53, Spurs and Arsenal both tied at 51.
Due to Tottenham’s +9 goal differential advantage over Arsenal, Spurs are one spot from the top, with Arsenal being third-placed.
While Welbeck’s heroic’s may have helped keep Arsenal in the title hunt, upcoming fixtures at Manchester United (2/28), Tottenham (3/5), Everton (3/19) sandwiched in-between Champions League legs with Barcelona (2/23 in North London and 3/16 down in Camp Nou) and up-coming FA Cup matches vs. Hull City, Arsenal faces a brutal gauntlet of fixtures as opposed to Tottenham and Leicester.
No doubt that Arsenal is back in the EPL title hunt thanks to the magical Welbeck. Hopefully, he and the Gunners have a few more tricks up their proverbial sleeve.