Arsenal secured an outstanding 2-0 win over Leicester on Saturday afternoon as goals from Gabriel and Emile Smith Rowe scored to temporarily move the Gunners up to fifth in the table.
Mikel Arteta saw his side produce their most complete performance of the season last time out in the Premier League as Ason Villa were beaten 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium, which reflected in his starting lineup.
Alexandre Lacazette kept his place in the team as the manager fielded him and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up front. Benjamin White recovered from illness to take his place in defence and Nuno Tavares continued at left-back as Kieran Tierney didn’t recover from a bruised ankle in time.
Arsenal player ratings vs Leicester as Gabriel and Emile Smith Rowe score in superb 2-0 Premier League win as Aaron Ramsdale stars
Arsenal got off to the perfect start as a towering leap from Gabriel saw him glance Bukayo Saka’s inswinging corner into the far corner beyond a stranded Kasper Schmeichel.
It was dreamland for the visitors just 18 minutes in as this time Emile Smith Rowe got in on the act. Lacazette lost possession in the box but the ball fell to the Arsenal No.10 who calmly slotted home.
Aaron Ramsdale pulled off one of the saves of the season to keep Arsenal in the game just before half-time, which was the start of some relentless Leicester pressure that carried over well into the second half.
There was nearly a third when Schmeichel saved Aubameyang’s effort off the line but it was undoubtedly the hosts who were on top for large spells, only to be denied each time by the magnificent Ramsdale. Those early goals and the goalkeeper’s heroics ensured the Gunners’ unbeaten run extended to nine matches with a 2-0 win.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Aaron Ramsdale (GK) – 10/10 – Could he be any better than his outstanding distribution was showing? Absolutely he could. When the season concludes and the highlight reels are made, that save will be the only one. One repeat. For an hour.
He was quite literally perfect. Kept Arsenal in it was some unreal saves and picked out some unbelievable passes. England’s number one.
Takehiro Tomiyasu (RB) – 7/10 – Showed some intelligent reading of the play with a few well-timed tackles and interceptions.
Benjamin White (CB) – 7/10 – He and Gabriel are such a wonderful pairing. The two bring the best out of each other and White’s clever positioning had the Leicester strikers dropping deep to receive possession. There were, however, a few clumsy and unnecessary fouls on the edge of the box.
Gabriel (CB) – 9/10 – A colossus at the back. Was brilliant in both boxes and all the grass in between. Kept Jamie Vardy quiet, won every duel and scored a superb goal to set Arsenal off. He won every challenge and every header.
It’s remarkable that Gabriel is only 23 years old.
Nuno Tavares (LB) – 8/10 – So willing to drive with possession, the confidence Nuno Tavares showed was demonstrated with a few clever carries into the final third to relieve pressure. Strangely enough, his biggest flaw was the simple stuff.
Bukayo Saka (RM) – 7/10 – Really exciting on the ball and looked a threat every time moves went down his right side. Some of his out to in runs were brilliant and Luke Thomas had a tough evening keep track of the 20-year-old on his 100th appearance for the club.
Thomas Partey (CM) – 8/10 – Kept peeling off into smart areas and springboarded some dangerous moves in transition, particularly the one that opened up for the second goal.
Really tidy in possession throughout but his involvement off the ball was perhaps best of all. When Arsenal regained control he was in the thick of it.
Sambi Lokonga (CM) – 7/10 – Some of his control was excellent as Sambi shook off a number of challenges to keep Arsenal ticking over. Wasn’t his best match in terms of distribution but kept providing an option in the middle and made the team more secure.
After the break Arsenal sat deeper and deeper and Sambi got lost in the centre of the park.
Emile Smith Rowe (LM) – 8/10 – Another outstanding display from Smith Rowe who drove at the Leicester defence at every opportunity. The timing of his runs were so intelligent and he took his goal like a seasoned professional.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST) – 7/10 – Took up a variety of position at the King Power Stadium: he came short to link, drifted out to the left to cover Smith Rowe and pressed from the front as the focal point. Very effective performance and was clearly shattered near the end.
Alexandre Lacazette (SS) – 7/10 – Drifted off into the right pocket superbly and looked more like a striker than a No. 10, instigating press well and combining with Bukayo Saka on that right side. Intensity levels dropped a touch in the second half an was replaced as Arsenal began losing control in midfield.
Martin Odegaard – 8/10 – Didn’t bring greater energy in the duels but added key composure on the ball in vital moments that helped Arsenal retain possession and play out of the Foxes’ heavy pressure.
Played some lovely disguised passes and added some of his trademark silkiness on the ball. Hugely positive impact.
Nicolas Pepe – N/A – Not on long enough for a rating.
Sead Kolasinac – N/A – Not on long enough for a rating.