Arsenal produced another fight as three goals in 17 minutes on either side of the half gave them a 3-1 win at Leicester to keep the Fox out of second.
After two late goals earned them a spectacular Europa League victory over Benfica in the middle of the week, Arsenal had to come back from behind to earn three points at King Power Stadium.
Youri Tielemans put Leicester in the lead (6) with a good finish in the lower left corner, thanks to a largely open and poor Arsenal defense, but the visitors equalized David Luiz’s smart header on a free kick from Willian ( 39).
VAR had previously rightly denied Arsenal a penalty for Wilfred Ndidi’s elbow on Pepe just outside the box, but the two were involved again as Pepe’s shot hit Ndidi’s hand in the surface, spotted by VAR, allowing Alexandre Lacazette to score on the spot (45 +2).
Pepe extended Arsenal’s lead with a simple close-range finish from center Willian (52), in a game where both teams felt the impact of Thursday’s Europa League games as Emile Smith Rowe , Jonny Evans and Harvey Barnes all got injured.
The result means Leicester remain third, with Chelsea six points behind but with one game underway, while Arsenal are in ninth place above Tottenham for at least a few hours.
Leicester: Schmeichel (6), Castagne (6), Soyuncu (5), Evans (5), Thomas (4), Ndidi (5), Tielamans (6), Pereira (5), Iheanacho (5), Barnes (6), Vardy (5)
Submarines: Albrighton (6), Under (5), Amartey (5)
Arsenal: Leno (7), Soares (6), Mari (7), Luiz (7), Tierney (7), Elneny (6), Xhaka (7), Willian (8), Smith Rowe (6), Pepe (8) , Lacazette (7)
Submarines: Odegaard (7), Partey (6), Aubameyang (NA)
Man of the match: Nicolas pepe
How much character have Arsenal shown again?
Leicester had won six of their seven Premier League games immediately following a European game this season, while Arsenal had lost six of their seven such games, and this competition followed that trend from the start.
After Leicester won the ball just in the half of Arsenal, Tielemans ran unopposed into the penalty area, Jamie Vardy occupying the attention of Pablo Mari and Luiz to the left of the penalty area, and has hit in the lower left corner at 12 yards. It was a clinical finish for the Belgian, but Arsenal rolled out the red carpet with dismal defense.
Tielemans believed he awarded a penalty minutes later for fouling Pepe, but VAR showed that it was actually Ndidi’s contact that knocked the Arsenal man down, just outside the box. repair.
Arsenal showed his character to force his return to the game – Pepe was beaten by full-back Thomas on the right, while Willian started to impress after receiving criticism recently for his performances – and they got their leveler six minutes from halftime. .
After winning several free kicks down the right flank, Arsenal finally made a successful delivery, as Luiz took off the Leicester defense to hang on to Willian’s square cross, heading to the lower left corner in front of Kasper Schmeichel.
Progress is rarely linear with Arsenal – Smith Rowe was sent off moments later with a groin injury – but they got into the half ahead thanks to another decent VAR call. Pepe’s shot was blocked by Ndidi’s outstretched arm in the box, initially undetected before referee Paul Tierney and VAR David Coote stepped in, before Lacazette converted.
After Barnes was brought on a stretcher with a worrying knee injury, Arsenal opened up a two-goal cushion early in the second half.
Man of the match Pepe fed sub Martin Odegaard, which slid Willian at an angle on the left sideline, and his cross swerved from Tielemans and onto the path of Pepe who was waiting to return home after a few yards .
Pepe has scored four goals in his last seven Premier League starts for Arsenal, as many as in his previous 21 starts in the competition combined, while Willian has now provided more assists than any other Arsenal player this season with five.
Leicester have made four changes since the midweek loss to Slavia Prague; Castagne, Pereira, Barnes and Iheanacho came in replacing Amartey, Under, Choudhury and Albrighton, were all on the bench.
Arsenal have made no less than six changes since the midweek victory over Benfica; Cédric Soares, Mari, Elneny, Willian, Pepe and Lacazette entered, replacing Bellerin, Gabriel, Ceballos, Saka, Odegaard and Aubameyang. Thomas Partey remained on the bench, as it was Willian’s first Premier League start since December 19.
Evans was subsequently injured – only Crystal Palace (nine) have more current injuries than Brendan Rodgers’ side (eight) – as Leicester struggled to bring Vardy into the game to form their own comeback.
Arsenal saw the game professionally, with under-Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang shooting right off the edge, showing their character and the benefits of rotating with a busy schedule.
Leicester, who was knocked out of the Europa League in midweek, now has the task of staying in the top half with a growing injury list, hoping to avoid the 2019/20 meltdown that saw them get out of the Champions League. places despite a big cushion at the end of winter.
What the managers said …
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers: On Barnes’ injury: “It’s not good news, it looks like he needs to have an operation, so it will be a minimum of six weeks. I think it’s around his cartilage. He had a shock to his knees a few weeks ago, today he had a challenge and it only made matters worse.
He’s gonna need this fixed. He had some trouble with that, that’s why we tried to get him back on Thursday, but unfortunately it’s bad for him, and a big blow for us.
“We’re kept to the bare minimum, we’ve worn it all season and the players have been great. It’s absolutely fair. My players so far have been brilliant, but when you miss the influential players and that you can’t change, that makes it difficult. “
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta: “I’m happy with the performance of the team, the character, the poise that we showed. Coming here after a very short turnaround, and coming down very early, but I think we showed some really good times, we were solid and dominated the game., and overall deserved the win.
“I think the team is clearly improving, taking a direction that I like – all the time I say the same thing: it’s about consistency. We always give things to the opponents, against Benfica and still today ‘yeah, and that’s something we have to eradicate. to give ourselves the best possible chance. “
- Leicester suffered back-to-back defeats in all competitions for the first time since December, as they lost two for the last time in a row at King Power Stadium in October (a three-part streak).
- It was Arsenal’s first away win against a team starting the day in the top three of the Premier League table since January 2015 (2-0 against Manchester City) – they were winless in their Last 14 matches to come today (D3 L11).
- Alexandre Lacazette has converted his five penalties for Arsenal in all competitions, while only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (13) has now scored more goals for the Gunners than Lacazette (11) this season.
Leicester now travel to Burnley on Wednesday at 6 p.m., live on Sky Sports Premier League, before heading to Brighton on Saturday 6 March at 8 p.m., live on Sky Sports Premier League.
Arsenal will face Burnley on Saturday March 6 at 12:30 p.m. in the Premier League, before heading to Olympiakos in the Europa League for the last 16 first leg on Thursday March 11 at 8:00 p.m.