English striker scores 95th-minute winner as No 2 Gunners beat leaders Leicester to close gap to two points
London: Danny Welbeck savoured the moment after crowning his comeback from a 10-month injury lay-off with a 95th-minute winner for Arsenal against EPL leaders Leicester City yesterday.
44th minute: Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy (left) shoots from the penalty spot to score his team’s first goal against Arsenal in an English Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium in London yesterday
Sidelined since April last year with a serious knee injury, the 25-year-old England striker came off the bench to head in Mesut Ozil's last-ditch free-kick and give the hosts a dramatic 2-1 win. It was the former Manchester United player's first league goal since December 2014 and it reignited Arsenal's title challenge, lifting them to within two points of Leicester with 12 games remaining.
70th minute: Arsenal’s Theo Walcott beats Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel (in purple) from close range to make it 1-1
“Dying seconds, we kept pushing, had chance after chance. It is the most important thing is to get the win. It's been a rollercoaster for me, a difficult moment, and my family and friends know what I have been through,” Welbeck told Sky Sports. His fellow substitute Theo Walcott, whose 70th-minute goal cancelled out Jamie Vardy's penalty opener for Leicester, paid tribute to his England colleague. “This man hasn't played for nine months and to get into the mix like that, special players come into big games. That could be massive,” he said.
95th minute: Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck (right) turns to celebrate after heading to score the match-winner against Leicester yesterday
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed that Welbeck's teammates had chanted his name as he returned to the changing room after the match. “In the last two days he was convincing in training. I planned to play him next week, but in the last two training sessions he was very sharp. Danny Welbeck is a great player,” said Wenger, conceding that defeat could have been fatal for his team's hopes of ending their 12-year wait for the English title.
Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri said he was 'very angry' with referee Martin Atkinson for send off defender Danny Simpson. “I don't know if in a normal match our two yellow cards was a sending off. They were normal fouls, but not yellow cards. The referee was too severe,” said Ranieri.