Arsenal came from behind to claim a 3-1 away win over Leicester City, lifting themselves up into the Premier League’s top half and keeping their slim top four hopes alive.
Mikel Arteta made six changes to the team that beat Benfica in the Europa League on Thursday with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka dropped to the bench for the trip to the King Power Stadium.
The Foxes took the lead after just six minutes when some slack defending from Arsenal allowed Youri Tielemans to drive into the penalty box and find the far corner of the net with a low finish past Bernd Leno.
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Arsenal looked to have been given a way back into the game when Nicolas Pepe was fouled in the box, but VAR was used to adjudge that the contact had in fact occurred outside the area with a freekick awarded instead.
However, the visitors drew level after 39 minutes when David Luiz pulled away from his marker at a freekick to glance home a header from a Willian delivery. Alexandre Lacazette completed the turnaround from the spot when VAR was used to spot a handball by Wilfred Ndidi just before the break.
Harvey Barnes was forced off through injury not long into the second half and Arsenal rubbed salt into the wounds moments later, scoring a third through Pepe after good work by Martin Odegaard and Willian.
The result takes the Gunners up to ninth place in the Premier League table and sees Arteta’s men close the gap on West Ham United in the final Champions League spot to eight points.
TALKING POINT - Injuries threaten to derail Leicester City’s season
This was a disastrous afternoon for Leicester City. Not only did they suffer a damaging defeat, their already lengthy injury list was added to as Harvey Barnes and Jonny Evans were forced off. The injury to Barnes in particular was most concerning, with the 23-year-old stretchered off in the second half. Brendan Rodgers already has James Maddison, James Justin Wesley Fofana, Ayoze Perez and Dennis Praet missing through injury. After their Europa League exit to Slavia Praha, these troubles threaten to derail Leicester City’s season.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Willian (Arsenal)
Your eyes are not playing tricks on you - Willian was indeed the best player on the pitch. The Brazilian has faced criticism for his underwhelming performances in an Arsenal shirt this season, but he played a key role in the Europa League fightback against Benfica during the week and carried that form into this match, contributing assists for two of the Gunners’ three goals. Are we finally starting to see why Arteta was so keen to bring Willian to the Emirates Stadium?
Leicester City - Schmeichel 5, Castagne 6, Evans 6, Soyuncu 6, Thomas 3, Ricardo 5, Ndidi 4, Tielemans 7, Barnes 5, Iheanacho 4, Vardy 4. Subs - Albrighton 6, Amartey 5, Under 5.
Arsenal - Leno 5, Cedric 5, Luiz 7, Mari 6, Tierney 7, Xhaka 8, Elneny 7, Pepe 8, Smith Rowe 6, Willian 8, Lacazette 7. Subs - Odegaard 7, Thomas 5, Aubameyang 5.
Arsenal's Brazilian defender David Luiz celebrates
Image credit: Getty Images
7’ GOAL! Leicester City 1-0 Arsenal: It's an early breakthrough and it has gone the way of the Foxes! Tielemans was given so much space to drive into down the right, he burst into the Arsenal penalty area and found the far corner of the net with a low finish! Good strike, bad defending!
13’ PENALTY KICK TO ARSENAL! Tielemans trips Pepe inside the area and the referee points to the spot!
15’ NO PENALTY! The referee has overturned his own decision and it will instead be a freekick to Arsenal right on the edge of the box. The contact was from Ndidi, not Tielemens.
39’ GOAL! Leicester City 1-1 Arsenal: The Gunners are back on level terms! Willian picked out the run of Luiz inside the penalty area, the Brazilian defender lost his marker and flicked a header into the far corner of the Leicester City net! Very clever set piece from Arsenal!
41’ Smith Rowe has gone down! This is a concern for Arsenal in the aftermath of the equaliser. Smith Rowe is down on the ground holding his leg. Might he have to come off? Indeed, Odegaard is coming on for him.
45’ VAR check! This could be a penalty kick to Arsenal. Ndidi's arms were very high as he attempted to a block a shot and the referee has been pulled over to the monitor to have a look. It’s been given!
45+2’ GOAL! Leicester City 1-2 Arsenal: What a turnaround at the end of the first half! Lacazette steps up and finds the corner of the Leicester City net with a powerful strike. Schmeichel went the wrong way, but he likely wouldn't have saved it even if he'd gone the right way!
49’ Now Barnes is down! The Leicester City winger looked to over-extend his knee and this could be another injury problem for Rodgers. It looks like Barnes will have to come off here. What a shame.
53’ GOAL! Leicester City 1-3 Arsenal: It's a third goal for Arsenal and Pepe has the ball in the back of the net! It was the winger who surged forward, played the pass to Odegaard who flicked the ball out to Willian. He squared it back for Pepe who had the simple task of finishing!
This is Arsenal’s first away win over Leicester City since September 2015 and their first away win over a team in the Premier League’s top three since January 2015.
Nicolas Pepe has scored four goals in his last seven Premier League starts for Arsenal, as many as in his previous 21 starts combined.
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