Leicester’s increasingly forlorn-looking pursuit of Premier League leaders Manchester City suffered a big blow Sunday afternoon as Arsenal came from behind to claim an impressive 3-1 victory at the King Power Stadium.
For Nigerian internationals in the fold of the Foxes, Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho, it was another bad day in the office after the midweek Europa League defeat against Slavia Prague.
Ndidi in particular let his fans down, conceding a late first half penalty after Nicolas Pepe’s cross struck him in the hand in the box. Alexandre Lacazette duly slotted the ball home pass goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
James Maddison’s creative energy in the midfield was noticeably missing on Sunday, with Kelechi Iheanacho failing to replicate it as his replacement. The Super Eagles forward even fluffed the last minute chance to reduce the shoreline to a decent 3-2 outing.
On a miserable afternoon at the end of a dire week for the Foxes, they also had influential winger Harvey Barnes carried off on a stretcher with his leg in a brace to add to their already considerable injury problems.
Things had started well for the hosts, who were given an early tonic for their midweek Europa League exit as Youri Tielemens was allowed to run unchecked down the right before firing a low shot into the far corner with just six minutes played.
Arsenal refused to be adversely affected, though, and took control of the game with impressive attacking intent and far greater fluency than Leicester.
David Luiz brought them level, finding space in the box to steer a header in from Willian’s free-kick.
Alexandre Lacazette then put them ahead after the video assistant referee (VAR) judged that Ndidi had blocked Nicolas Pepe’s shot in the box with an outstretched arm.
It was second time lucky for the Gunners, who had earlier had a penalty awarded on the pitch but then downgraded to a free-kick after VAR decided the offending tackle on Pepe had taken place just outside the area.
Ivory Coast forward Pepe got in on the act himself, tapping into a largely unguarded net after Willian’s pass had deflected his way.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta actually chose to rest a number of key players yesterday, including Bukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose late winner had won their Europa League tie against Benfica on Thursday.
Arsenal move up to ninth, eight points off the top four but with a renewed interest in events above them in the table.
C’Palace 0-0 Fulham
Leicester 1-3 Arsenal
Tottenham 4-0 Burnley
Chelsea 0-0 Man Utd
Sampdoria 0-2 Atalanta
Crotone 0-2 Cagliari
Inter 3-0 Genoa
Udinese 1-0 Fiorentina
Napoli 2-0 Benevento