Home sports Brendan Rodgers responds to Mikel Arteta jibe with Granit Xhaka admission

Brendan Rodgers responds to Mikel Arteta jibe with Granit Xhaka admission

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Brendan Rodgers responds to Mikel Arteta jibe with Granit Xhaka admission


Brendan Rodgers got the better of Arsenal counterpart Mikel Arteta as Leicester won a tactical battle on Sunday.

The Foxes edged a 1-0 win courtesy of Jamie Vardy’s winner leaving a frustrated Arteta bemoaning Rodgers’ negative setup.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Arteta said: ”We were very on top of the game, we restricted them to nothing. We scored a goal from the set-piece, I don’t know how it got disallowed.

“In the second half and it was about being patient and waiting for the right moment against a team that wanted to defend really deep.

“They didn’t have any shots on target and they were just waiting for a mistake to go on the break, and the moment we had a minimal mistake with no pressure on the ball, trying to step in, they caught us with the space at our back and we lost the game.”

Leicester got the better of Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal

Arteta clearly gave little credit to Rodgers’ tactical setup, highlighting that they offered very little in terms of attacking intent.

But, after the game, Rodgers highlighted how he set his side up to exploit the Gunners’ new setup with a midfield three.

The introduction of Thomas Partey saw Arteta switch to four at the back – but it also allowed the visitors to press Granit Xhaka and exploit his role in the new setup.

Asked if he changed his tactics in response to Arsenal ’s set-up, Rodgers told BBC Sport: “No, I think it was obviously a different set-up [from Arsenal] but how our organisation was it was able to cope.

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The Foxes were able to press Granit Xhaka and make his life difficult in a midfield three

“It was just a few little changes, Xhaka coming out to the side meant that Dennis [Praet] could then press him instead of having to go on to the full-back, so that was just about detail.

“But apart from that it was about closing the lines, making sure our concentration was good, and then when we had the ball looking to play through.”

Rodgers also outlined their plan to press from goal-kicks – something which paid off as they kept Arsenal at bay.

Jamie Vardy scored the winner for the Foxes

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“It’s the first time they have lost [at home] this calendar this year, it tells you how strong they’ve been,” Rodgers said in his post-match press conference.

“The game was always about denying space. In lots of games we’ll always put pressure high up the pitch and look to win the ball back.

“When you’re playing against the quality of Arsenal and the speed of Arsenal then we decided to press from the static goal kick where we could. Then if not, recover into that medium, resting phase of pressure and making sure your lines are tight.

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“They actually played in a slightly different structure to what we anticipated but our set-up still allowed us to cope with that.

“When you come away to the big teams you’ve got to have high-level concentration. You’ve got to defend well, you’ve got to be concentrated, everyone has to do their job, and then you know with your quality you’ll be able to play yourself into the game.

“Play through the pressure well, deal with it, then know our quality will get us opportunities and thankfully it worked out well for us.”

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