Premier League champions Leicester City and last season’s runners-up Arsenal are still waiting for their first win of the new campaign after a goalless stalemate at the King Power Stadium.
Both teams were aiming to bounce back from opening-weekend losses, to Hull City and Liverpool respectively, but could not find a breakthrough in a fiercely-contested game.
Referee Mark Clattenburg was the villain for Leicester fans after denying strong penalty claims in each half, first when Laurent Koscielny tangled with Danny Drinkwater then late on when Hector Bellerin appeared to upend Ahmed Musa.
Leicester striker Jamie Vardy failed to punish the club he turned down this summer when he shot wide from close range as Claudio Ranieri’s side started to exert a measure of control after the break.
Arsenal keeper Petr Cech saved crucially from Riyad Mahrez in the dying seconds while Arsenal had opportunities of their own as they enjoyed the better of the first half, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shooting narrowly wide.
Arsenal fans were not celebrating a hard-earned point at the final whistle – they were busy venting their fury at manager Arsenal Wenger’s lack of activity in the transfer market.
Wenger was urged, loudly and in very industrial terms, to start spending some money as Arsenal fought through a spell of late Leicester pressure.
It left Arsenal without a win from their first two games and means they are already five points behind Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea – and indeed Hull City.
And there can be no doubt Arsenal’s fans have a valid point when they question why Wenger has not beefed up his squad more, certainly with more than the £35m acquisition of midfielder Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach.
Wenger is hoping to complete a £25m deal for Valencia’s German central defender Shkodran Mustafi but there is also a need for further class in attack to augment, and perhaps replace, Olivier Giroud.
This is a defining season for Wenger so it could be said he faces a defining few days in the transfer market.
Arsenal’s fans certainly know it. Wenger must surely know it too as he listened to those angry voices in the travelling support tucked away in a corner of the King Power Stadium
Leicester going nowhere
Leicester may not defy the odds and all logic to win the title this season – but there is no reason to believe they will simply fall away after the glory of that Premier League title campaign.
Ranieri’s side may still be awaiting their first win of the season but there was plenty to suggest this will be another campaign to enjoy for the fervent Foxes fans who create such atmospheric surroundings at the King Power Stadium.
Leicester may not have been at their vibrant best but they matched Arsenal and showed real resilience and character to apply pressure themselves in the second half after the Gunners enjoyed the best of the first half.
They may have lost N’Golo Kante to Chelsea but Nampalys Mendy looked a decent replacement before his injury and, while Vardy and Mahrez could not apply finishing touches as they did last season, they will on enough occasions to win matches.
And with the old firm of Wes Morgan and Robert Huth back together in central defence, some of the steel that was missing in defeat at Hull City – and that served them so well last term – was restored.
Koscielny makes the difference
Arsenal’s soft centre was brutally exposed by Liverpool in the 4-3 defeat at Emirates Stadium last Sunday – leading to much criticism of Wenger’s decision not to play Laurent Koscielny.
Wenger decided Koscielny was not ready after his Euro 2016 exertions with France, even though Per Mertesacker and Gabriel were both long-term injury casualties. It backfired as both Calum Chambers and 20-year-old Rob Holding, a £2m buy from Bolton, struggled badly.
Koscielny’s return brought authority to Arsenal’s defence and also helped guide Holding through a spell of heavy Leicester pressure, particularly distinguishing himself with a lunge that forced Vardy to shoot high and wide.
He is a fixture in Arsenal’s central defence – now Wenger must provide him with quality support.
Man of the match – Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal)
Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri: “I am very happy. We didn’t concede. We closed very well all the space and created clear chances to score. It was a draw but I think our fans enjoyed the match. Vardy scored against Manchester United, and he works so hard. I am happy with him.”
On the penalty appeals: “Difficult to say. My philosophy is it’s a penalty when the referee blows his whistle and that’s it.”
On the injury suffered by Mendys: “I don’t know how bad. the ankle twists a little. Tomorrow we will see.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “I think overall it was a good performance, a good match between two good teams. It was a game of top level intensity and I believe we responded well to last week’s disappointment.
“Leicester are a good team – they did not win the league and only lose three games last season for nothing.
“We had to fight until the end. We could have lost or won it in the last 20 minutes. We wanted to win the game and we finished with five attacking players on the pitch.”
The stats you need to know
This was the first 0-0 draw between Leicester City and Arsenal in the Premier League since January 2001.
Leicester are on a 20-game winless run against Arsenal in the Premier League (D6 L14).
Arsenal have never lost a Premier League game at the King Power Stadium, drawing three and winning 5-2 there last season.
Leicester City had their first shot on target of the game in the 92nd minute.
Leicester are unbeaten in 16 home Premier League games (W10 D6) since losing 5-2 to Arsenal last season.
The last time Arsenal had just a single point after two Premier League games was in the 2011-12 season (they went on to finish third).
Vardy is still yet to register a shot in target in the Premier League this season.
Arsenal have drawn four away Premier League games in a row for the first time since August 2007.
Kasper Schmeichel is only the second Leicester goalkeeper to keep a Premier League clean sheet against Arsenal – the other was Simon Royce in January 2001.
Leicester are away at Swansea next Saturday and the Gunners are at Watford – both 15:00 BST kick offs.
Match ends, Leicester City 0, Arsenal 0.
Second Half ends, Leicester City 0, Arsenal 0.
Offside, Leicester City. Daniel Drinkwater tries a through ball, but Andy King is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Daniel Drinkwater (Leicester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Rob Holding (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Rob Holding (Arsenal).
Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt saved. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Daniel Drinkwater.
Attempt saved. Theo Walcott (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Mesut Özil.
Attempt blocked. Daniel Drinkwater (Leicester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Riyad Mahrez.
Substitution, Leicester City. Ahmed Musa replaces Marc Albrighton.
Rob Holding (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Daniel Drinkwater (Leicester City).
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Kasper Schmeichel.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Wes Morgan.
Attempt blocked. Theo Walcott (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Héctor Bellerín with a through ball.
Mesut Özil (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City).
Substitution, Arsenal. Olivier Giroud replaces Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Attempt saved. Theo Walcott (Arsenal) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Francis Coquelin.
Substitution, Arsenal. Mesut Özil replaces Santiago Cazorla.
Substitution, Arsenal. Jack Wilshere replaces Granit Xhaka.
Nacho Monreal (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City).
Attempt missed. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Marc Albrighton.