Arsenal beats Leicester 2-0 to maintain grip on 4th place
LONDON (AP) — Arsenal maintained its grip on fourth place in the Premier League thanks to a 2-0 win over Leicester on Sunday, with the Gunners enjoying their best run of the season.
Thomas Partey netted early and Alexandre Lacazette added a second-half penalty as Arsenal secured its fifth straight league win.
It kept Arteta’s team one point above fifth-place Manchester United and with three games in hand.
“We have a very strong belief in the group and play with a lot of confidence,” midfielder Martin Odegaard said. “We just have to keep going.”
Leicester’s hopes of securing a European place are quickly fading, though, with the team’s weakness from set pieces proving costly again.
Partey headed in the opener in the 11th minute after shaking off a defender to meet Gabriel Martinelli’s corner at the near post.
The second goal resulted from a free kick into the area. Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel saved the initial effort from Ben White but Partey’s header from the rebound glanced off the outstretched hand of Caglar Soyuncu before being cleared off the line.
After a lengthy VAR review, referee Anthony Taylor watched the incident on a pitchside monitor before awarding a penalty for handball.
Lacazette fired his spot kick high into the net, with Schmeichel complaining that he used a stutter-step in the run-up. It was the French striker’s first goal in 10 games, although he provided seven assists in that stretch.
Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith-Rowe made his return from a bout with COVID-19 by coming on as a second-half substitute and forced a good save from Schmeichel in the 83rd.
The hosts largely dominated the first half, with Partey hitting the post from the edge of the area, but Leicester forced Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale into a superb save in the 36th.
Harvey Barnes’ header was heading toward the top corner but Ramsdale reacted quickly to palm the ball over the bar at full stretch.
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers was so sure the ball was going in he raised both arms in celebration on the sideline, before turning away in disbelief and mouthing “wow.”
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