Victor Kristiansen

Arsenal Take The Points At King Power Stadium

Gabriel Martinelli's strike at the start of the second half was the difference at King Power Stadium as Premier League leaders Arsenal sealed a 1-0 win over Leicester City on Saturday.
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City’s 2022/23 top goalscorer, James Maddison, missed out of this clash – dedicated to the Football v Homophobia campaign – through illness, as Dennis Praet came in. Wilfred Ndidi, also back in the XI, captained the Foxes, wearing an armband emblazoned with the colours of the Ukraine flag, while Brendan Rodgers donned a pin badge handmade by Ukrainian children displaced by the war. A banner stating ‘football stands together’ was displayed on the big screens ahead of kick-off too. 

Arsenal, in the title race’s hotseat, arrived on Filbert Way determined to edge closer to a first Premier League triumph since 2004. The north Londoners’ possession stats touched 75 per cent in the first 15 minutes, with the Foxes struggling to build any forward momentum. Wout Faes halted Leandro Trossard’s low drive early on, before Victor Kristiansen and Harry Souttar combined to blockade Bukayo Saka’s route to goal. Mikel Arteta’s leaders were dominant, but couldn't pierce through.

It's that time of year now for Arsenal. Every swing of fortune is significant. The title race is on a knife edge and, when Trossard arrowed the ball into Leicester’s top corner 26 minutes in, the Gunners’ lead over second-placed Manchester City briefly swelled. The footage was about to be inspected in minute detail, though, with the referee being encouraged to consult the pitchside monitor. As Danny Ward punched Saka’s corner away to Granit Xhaka – who then fed Trossard to shoot – Ben White had a grip of Ward’s other arm. The visiting supporters clearly thought it was harsh, but the goal was disallowed. 

Arsenal’s net bulged moments later too, but when the linesman’s flag was raised to deny Kelechi Iheanacho a fourth goal in five games, there were less protests from the Blue Army. He’d gone too soon. Nevertheless, it was a stylish dinked finish from the Nigerian, who nears his 200th LCFC appearance. City had withstood waves of Arsenal pressure in the first half. Just one minute into the second, Leicester were behind. Gabriel Magalhães’ ball was commuted forwards, along the left, by Trossard, who threaded it past Souttar. Martinelli collected it, angling the ball around Ward’s grasp and into his far bottom corner.

Leicester looked to respond, with Harvey Barnes charging down the other left wing. His deep ball so nearly found Tetê at the far post too. The former Shakhtar Donetsk and Lyon man, however, couldn’t get there. It was opening up. Martin Ødegaard then cut through City’s rear-guard to locate Martinelli, who teed up Saka for an easy finish 10 yards out. The England man strayed offside and the flag went up, correctly, again. Oleksandr Zinchenko – wearing his country’s colours after being handed Arsenal’s captain’s armband for the day – then tested Ward from range. City’s No.1 did well to palm it out wide, and not into the vicinity of either Saka or Trossard in the box.

Gabriel also had a free header, which he steered straight at Ward after Ødegaard’s free-kick from the left. Rodgers – on the eve of his four-year anniversary as Leicester manager – turned to his bench and pointed towards Youri Tielemans and Jamie Vardy. With 11 goals against Arsenal in his career, the sight of Vardy lurking outside of the box will have struck fear into the visitors’ hearts. But it was actually Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall – on his 50th Premier League outing – who went close next, skidding a low daisy-cutter wide.

Before long, Patson Daka, Boubakary Soumaré and Ricardo Pereira were on the pitch as well for City. Equipped with five additional minutes, the hosts were frustrated by Arsenal, who saw out the game to go five clear at the league's summit. 

Major moment – Martinelli's strike

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Gabriel Martinelli

Gabriel Martinelli's strike in the 46th minute settled matters.

Reaching the interval still level was noteworthy for the Foxes, who had absorbed plenty of pressure in the first half. To immediately go behind so soon in the second half, through Gabriel Martinelli's precise finish, was a bitter blow. 

Where do we stand? – 14th in the table

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Kelechi Iheanacho

Kelechi Iheanacho had an effort chalked off for offside in the first half.

Leicester are sat 14th in the Premier League with 25 points from 24 games. 

Coming up – Blackburn in the FA Cup

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Leandro Trossard

Wilfred Ndidi & Wout Faes stay close to Leandro Trossard.

Blackburn Rovers, of the Sky Bet Championship, visit King Power Stadium on Tuesday in the fifth round of the Emirates FA Cup (7:30pm kick-off). The Foxes then head to St. Mary’s Stadium to tackle Southampton in the Premier League next Saturday (5:30pm kick-off). All times GMT.

The details

Leicester City Crest





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