Arsenal back in top four as Alexandre Lacazette and Thomas Partey beat Foxes
Alexandre Lacazette and Thomas Partey were on target as Arsenal reclaimed a place in the Premier League’s top four with a comfortable 2-0 win over Leicester at the Emirates.
The win saw the Gunners rise above Manchester United to return to the position they held at the start of the weekend, with a one-point advantage over Ralf Rangnick’s side and also with three games still to go. Classes.
Partey gave Arsenal an early lead with an 11th-minute header and Lacazette scored from the penalty spot midway through the second half to seal the three points.
Lacazette’s goal was the French striker’s first since his spot-kick against Norwich on Boxing Day, but he has remained goalless in open play since December 11 and, despite a string of impressive performances in recent weeks, his future at the club remains uncertain.
Manager Mikel Arteta said before the match that a decision on Lacazette would be made at the end of the season, but the 30-year-old put in another strong performance at number nine at the Emirates.
Arsenal have not finished in the top four since Arsene Wenger was in charge and last season failed to qualify for Europe for the first time since the 1994-95 campaign.
Seeking to respond to United’s dramatic victory over Tottenham on Saturday, Arsenal found themselves facing an in-form Leicester side who had won five of their last six matches in all competitions.
The Foxes couldn’t keep the Gunners at bay on Sunday, however.
After early exchanges, Arsenal took the lead when Partey rose above his marker to head to the near post from a Martin Odegaard corner.
Thomas Partey led Arsenal ahead (Nick Potts/PA)
Partey almost added a second less than 10 minutes later as Arsenal continued to push. When Leicester couldn’t clear their lines, the ball fell on the Ghana international at the edge of the box and his curling shot bounced off the woodwork.
Moments later, Gabriel Martinelli tested Kasper Schmeichel with a shot from close range, after referee Anthony Taylor ruled out a penalty in the Leicester box for a close involving Bukayo Saka.
After sitting in their own half for much of the opening period, the Foxes managed to break through and Aaron Ramsdale had to be alert when a long ball from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall found Harvey Barnes, the Arsenal keeper saving at his near post.
Arsenal’s penalty was awarded after a lengthy VAR review (Nick Potts/PA)
Lacazette had the opportunity just before the half hour mark to add to his total of just five goals for the season. He placed the shot chance well with his first touch but his low drive was too close to Schmeichel.
Barnes had another opener just before half-time, from a Marc Albrighton corner, but Ramsdale managed to swing the ball over the bar, and that proved to be the visitors’ best chance of winning. even the scores.
Arsenal looked to start the second half in much the same way as they did the first, with Schmeichel forced into a sprawling save to prevent Saka’s clumsy shot from falling on a Gunners team-mate at the far post.
The second goal sought by Arteta’s side arrived just before the hour mark from the penalty spot.
Leicester raced to defend an Arsenal corner, Schmeichel first making a save before Partey sent a header towards the goal which Foxes defender Luke Thomas snagged on the line to seemingly save the visitors from losing 2-0.
However, there was a VAR review for a handball from Caglar Soyuncu into the area that appeared to hinder Partey’s point-blank header before Thomas made his clearance.
Alexandre Lacazette scored Arsenal’s second goal from the penalty spot (Nick Potts/PA)
After a lengthy VAR check, the penalty was awarded and Lacazette fired the ball into the top corner to double his side’s lead.
Arsenal had a number of chances to add to their tally, including a Schmeichel block to deny Emile Smith Rowe from a narrow angle, as the Gunners lacked convincing winners.
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