By Rob Kelly
We delivered a performance mixing both silk and steel to see off Leicester in the lunchtime kick off at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
Having coming flying out of the blocks, we found ourselves two goals to the good within 18 minutes after goals from Gabriel and Emile Smith Rowe.
After that, Aaron Ramsdale took over, making a series of superlative saves – including one to deny James Maddison that took the breath away – as we held firm under pressure to claim a big three points.
Coming into this game on the back of an eight-game unbeaten run, and buoyed by recent victories against Aston Villa and Leeds, we oozed confidence right from the off.
Within 60 seconds, Bukayo Saka – in his 100th appearance for the club – twisted and turned in the Leicester area, and his low cross hit Daniel Amartey and nearly squeezed past Kaspar Schmeichel.
But within minutes we had the early goal that our fast start merited – and once again it came from a set piece, Saka’s inswinging corner from the right being met by Gabriel, who diverted it into the far corner.
That makes it four matches in a row where we’ve scored from a corner, a very handy trick to have in your arsenal.
But we did not sit back on our lead, instead pushing on in search of another and playing with real authority with Thomas Partey soon testing Schmeichel with a firm, goalbound shot.
Eventually our incessant pressure told as we broke on the counter, Partey feeding Saka who raced towards the Foxes box before finding Alex Lacazette. As the striker looked to force his way into the area, the ball broke to Smith Rowe and he made no mistake in slotting it home.
This was brilliant, stirring stuff from Mikel Arteta’s side but we were still indebted to Aaron Ramsdale for maintaining our first-half clean sheet, first diving at full stretch to push Kelechi Iheanacho’s shot around the post.
The second save, though, was even better – and one that will arguably go into the annals of great Arsenal saves as he flung himself to his left, right on half time, to claw away James Maddison’s free kick, before getting up and scrambling Jonny Evans’ follow-up on the post.
After the interval, Leicester upped the tempo and put us under concerted pressure, with Luke Thomas soon shooting just wide after being played in by Youri Tielemans.
Ramsdale then made a fine stop at the near post to deny Ademola Lookman, and was soon sharply off his line to block Harvey Barnes’ effort after he burst into the area.
But we remained a threat ourselves, and came close to a third when Martin Odegaard’s corner was met by Aubameyang at the far post but Schmeichel made a sharp save.
For all Leicester’s efforts to find a way back into the game, we stood firm to claim the points and extend our unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions.
WHAT IT MEANS
We’re back in N5 next weekend for Mikel Arteta’s 100th match in charge, as Watford visit Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.