Premier League leaders Arsenal eked out a tight 1-0 win over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Mikel Arteta’s side flew out of the traps, mounting pressure on Leicester’s backline from the get-go, yet intricate build-up plays failed to pay dividends in the early stages.
Despite enjoying much of the ball and keeping Brendan Rodgers’ team pinned to their opening third, the Gunners couldn’t find space between the lines, with the hosts staying firm in the opening 25 minutes.
However, winter arrival Leandro Trossard scored a beauty in the 26th minute after picking up a pass from Granit Xhaka at the edge of the penalty area.
The Belgian unleashed a thunderbolt into the top left corner of Danny Ward’s goal, only to see VAR rule it out for a foul in the build-up.
Ben White committed a clear foul on the Leicester goalkeeper after a corner-kick delivery from Bukayo Saka.
Arsenal continued to dominate proceedings for the remainder of the first half but struggled to create enough meaningful opportunities.
Leicester headed into half-time on level terms, but it was only a matter of time before their defensive approach backfired on them.
The Gunners took a well-deserved lead straight out of the dressing room, with Gabriel Martinelli latching onto a delightful through ball from Trossard, curling it into the right side of the net.
Saka doubled Arsenal’s lead only four minutes later, but the VAR room intervened again, disallowing his strike of an earlier offside.
Rodgers’ side never found a way to threaten Aaron Ramsdale, with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s long-range attempt midway through the second half closest they came to bringing things back to square one.
Arsenal seemingly settled for a narrow lead for the remainder of the game, giving up ambitions to add to the tally.
Luckily for Arteta, his side’s lack of scoring aspirations in the final 20 minutes didn’t come back to haunt him.
The north London outfit extended their lead at the top of the Premier League standings to five points, at least before Manchester City’s trip to Bournemouth later today.
Aaron Ramsdale (NA/10) – It’s impossible to rate the Englishman’s performance as he didn’t have to make a single save today.
Ben White (5/10) – Made an unfortunate mistake that disallowed Trossard’s goal but still had a decent showing.
Gabriel Magalhaes (7/10) – Won virtually every battle with Kelechi Iheanaco and looked calm and composed with the ball at his feet.
William Saliba (7/10) – Unlike some of his displays in 2023, the Brazilian delivered an assured performance at the King Power.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (7/10) – Absolutely crucial to Arsenal’s offensive movements, constantly offering himself in the front third, which didn’t come at the expense of his defensive contribution.
Granit Xhaka (6/10) – Could’ve made better choices on several occasions. Slow to distribute the ball in transition but still made virtually no mistakes.
Jorginho (6/10) – Like his abovementioned colleague, the former Chelsea man often lacked pace, though his passing was as precise as ever.
Martin Odegaard (6/10) – Given the season he’s having, today’s performance failed to live up to his standards.
Bukayo Saka (6/10) – Had numerous wayward passes and shots in the first half but raised to the occasion as the game progressed.
Leandro Trossard (7/10) – Unlucky to see his outrageous strike overturned. Dispossessing him today proved impossible for Leicester’s defenders.
Gabriel Martinelli (8/10) *MOTM* – Grabbed an all-important winner and created all sorts of problems for the home side’s backline all day long.
Eddie Nketiah (5/10)
Thomas Partey (NA/10)
Takehiro Tomiyasu (NA/10)
Danny Ward (7/10) – Pulled off numerous decent saves but also had some shaky moments. Powerless to stop Martinelli’s goal.
Timothy Castagne (4/10) – Despite his massive defensive effort, the Belgian spent almost the entire match in his opening third.
Harry Souttar (5/10) – Did well against a mobile Arsenal frontline but struggled with the ball at his feet.
Wout Faes (7/10) – Made several crucial blocks and interceptions. One of his best showings since the league resumed.
Victor Kristiansen (5/10) – Often caught off guard by Saka but still made some impressive recoveries.
Denis Praet (3/10) – Completely disconnected from the game.
Wilfred Ndidi (6/10) – His defensive workload was admirable. Unfortunately, his passing wasn’t at the highest level.
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (5/10) – Blew up a few decent chances to catch Arsenal on the break. Hesitant and uneventful with the ball.
Harvey Barnes (2/10) – Hard to remember the time he had possession close to the Gunners’ box.
Kelechi Iheanaco (3/10) – Though he was full of trying, a lack of support from his teammates often let him down.
Tete (2/10) – A near-anonymous performance from the left-footed winger.
Jamie Vardy (2/10)
Youri Tielemans (4/10)
Patson Daka (2/10)
Boubacary Soumare (3/10)
Ricardo Pereira (NA/10)
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