Arsenal continued their fine run of form and reclaimed fourth spot with a convincing 2-0 victory over Leicester at the Emirates in the Premier League on Sunday.
Goals from Thomas Partey and Alexandre Lacazette were enough to ensure the Gunners leapfrogged Manchester United into the top four, putting them back in control of the race for Champions League football next season.
Arsenal took the lead on 11 minutes when Partey headed home from Gabriel Martinelli’s corner. Leicester almost grabbed an equaliser but for Aaron Ramsdale whose wonderful acrobatic save denied Harvey Barnes, whose header was destined for the top corner.
The Gunners doubled their lead just before the hour mark.Caglar Soyuncu was penalised for handball in the box and Alexandre Lacazette converted expertly from 12 yards, picking out the top corner and leaving Schmeichel helpless.
Arteta’s men face a quick turnaround with Liverpool the visitors to the Emirates in the Premier League on Wednesday night. As for Leicester, they travel to Rennes for the second leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League tie on Thursday evening, where the Foxes will take a 2-0 aggregate lead.
Is fourth place Arsenal’s to lose? There may only be a single point separating the Gunners from United in fifth however, Arteta’s side have three games in hand on their closest challengers and they must make them count. The first is against Liverpool and there is no denying the size of the task facing them there. If they want to be the best, they must beat the best. The glitz and glamour of the Champions League has been absent from the Emirates for too long. Arteta is on the cusp of taking them back to the promise land. Arsenal, and only Arsenal, can stop them from turning the dream into a reality.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Martin Odegaard (Arsenal) The 23-year-old Norwegian was one of the most sought-after young talents in Europe when he joined Arsenal. He has taken a while to settle into the Premier League, however it’s safe to say we are now seeing why he is rated so highly. He glides effortlessly across the turf possessing excellent ball control, vision and precision. Odegaard created five chances in the first half alone and racked up the most passes in the final third. There is an air of maturity and wisdom beyond his years. Should he continue with this level of performance, Arsenal will see the gem they are holding in their hands.
Arsenal: Ramsdale 8, Cedric 7, White 7, Gabriel 7, Tierney 7, Xhaka 7, Partey 7, Saka 7, Odegaard 8, Martinelli 8, Lacazette 7. Subs: Pepe 6, Smith Rowe 6, Nketiah 6.
Leicester: Schmeichel 7, Ricardo 6, Soyuncu 5, Amartey 5, Thomas 6, Mendy 6, Dewsbury-Hall 6, Albrighton 6, Maddison 6, Barnes 6, Iheanacho 5. Subs: Justin 6, Ndidi 6, Daka 5.
11’ GOAL! Arsenal 1-0 Leicester (Partey): The deadlock is broken and you cannot say it’s not been deserved. Martinelli whips an inviting corner into the near post, it’s a perfect height for Partey who gets in front of his man and glances the ball into the back of the net. Advantage Arsenal inside the opening quarter of an hour!
57’ PENALTY TO ARSENAL! After looking at the monitor, referee Taylor adjudges Soyuncu to have handled the ball after Schmeichel’s save. The centre half is booked, Arsenal have a penalty!
59’ GOAL! Arsenal 2-0 Leicester (Lacazette pen) The Frenchman makes no mistake from 12 yards and doubles Arsenal’s lead in emphatic style, smashing the ball expertly into the top corner leaving Schmeichel with absolutely no chance!