Manager Brendan Rodgers made one change to the side that beat Zorya Luhansk 3-0 in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, with James Justin coming in in place of Kelechi Iheanacho for a change of formation that saw Harvey Barnes lead City’s attacking line.
Striker Jamie Vardy, meanwhile, was fit enough to be named on the substitutes’ bench after a calf problem kept him out of the Foxes’ last two fixtures.
The opening 75 seconds saw Leicester keep hold of the ball before a poor clearance from Arsenal stopper Bernd Leno fell to James Maddison, whose effort from distance curled into the side-netting.
Arsenal thought they had taken the lead on four minutes, when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tapped home Alexandre Lacazette’s flick-on, but it was disallowed for offside after the linesman’s flag went up – a decision also confirmed by VAR.
A spell of Arsenal possession yielded some half-chances, with Jonny Evans doing well to block Héctor Bellerín’s cutback before Wesley Fofana threw himself in the way of a 20-yard strike from Bukayo Saka.
Saka had another opportunity shortly after, forcing Kasper Schmeichel into his first save of the game on 21 minutes, then just moments later, Aubameyang headed over from six yards out after meeting a Kieran Tierney cross from the left wing.
The presence of experienced left-back Christian Fuchs proved to be enough to put Lacazette off on 29 minutes, as the former Austria skipper forced the Arsenal No.9 to glance his header wide from just four yards out.
The Gunners had plenty of possession in first period, but City stood strong and headed into the interval at 0-0, and after the break, it was Maddison that swapped with Barnes to spearhead the Foxes attack.
Maddison’s shift into a central position created two opportunities inside the first 10 minutes of the second half, as he first saw an audacious lob saved by Leno before his deflected strike flew wide of the target a minute later.
On the hour mark, Rodgers introduced Vardy in place of Dennis Praet, creating a focal point for the Foxes for the remaining 30 minutes plus stoppage time.
A fine save from Schmeichel kept the scoreline level on 68 minutes as the Denmark international ‘keeper palmed away Bellerín’s volley from an Aubameyang cross at the back post.
With 15 minutes to play, Cengiz Ünder made his third appearance for the Club, injecting energy into City’s attack, and were it not for a heavy touch, he may have had a goalscoring opportunity after latching onto Vardy’s pass.
However, the two substitutes combined again on 80 minutes with devastating effect. Ünder’s off-the-shoulder run saw him latch onto Youri Tielemans’ ball into the channel before the Turkey international’s first-time pass found Vardy, whose diving header made it 1-0 to City.
A battle ensued, as Arsenal set about claiming a point from the fixture, but it was City who created the best opportunity of the closing stages. Substitute Marc Albrighton controlled well before finding Vardy, who was denied by Leno while one-on-one.
Cengiz Ünder set up Jamie Vardy as both substitutes registered goal involvements.
The introduction of Jamie Vardy on the hour mark, and then Cengiz Ünder 15 minutes later, proved to be the perfect concoction for City to go on and claim the win.
It was a fiercely tight contest, with Arsenal dominating in the first half before City were exceptional after the break.
And their efforts were rewarded with all three points when Ünder’s first-time pass was headed home by Vardy, who rounded off a ruthless attack.
Tony Cottee selected Christian Fuchs as his Man of the Match against the Gunners.
Speaking on LCFC Radio, summariser Tony Cottee said: “It’s a difficult one. It’s great to see Jamie Vardy back in the goals and Youri Tielemans and Papy Mendy have played well in midfield. The main players have been in the centre of defence, but I’m going to give the Man of the Match to Christian Fuchs because he has been outstanding defensively and made that goal-saving clearance in the first half."
Where do we stand?
Jamie Vardy & Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers brought Jamie Vardy on with 60 minutes on the clock, and the City No.9 was on the scoresheet 20 minutes later.
A 1-0 success in the capital sees the Foxes move up to fourth in the Premier League table, with 12 points from their opening six 2020/21 fixtures.
Jamie Vardy nets his sixth Premier League goal in five 2020/21 appearances.
The Foxes head to Greece on Thursday for their second UEFA Europa League Group G tie – a clash with AEK Athens at the Olympic Stadium (5:55pm kick-off) – before visiting Elland Road to take on Leeds United on Monday (8pm kick-off).
All times GMT.
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