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Premier League

Leicester City 3-0 Arsenal: Another dent for Arsenal as top four hopes fade away

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Arsenal’s hopes of finishing in the Premier League’s top four took another dent as they were beaten 3-0 by Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.

The Gunners had to play 55 minutes with 10-men after Ainsley Maitland-Niles was booked twice in the opening exchanges and from then on an already dominating Foxes side crushed their opponents.

Brendan Rodgers’ side might feel the scoreline didn’t adequately reflect their performance but this was down to some superb shot-stopping from rival goalkeeper Bernd Leno who kept them out with eight saves, including a couple of fine efforts to deny Wilfred Ndidi and Harvey Barnes.

Unai Emery’s side were restricted to tame efforts on the counter, while they did threaten at set-pieces when they got forward but in the end a Youri Tielemans header and two late strikes from Jamie Vardy ended their resistance.

Victory also allowed Brendan Rodgers revenge over Unai Emery after Emery’s Paris St Germain beat Rodgers’ Celtic 7-1 and 5-0 in the Champions League last season.

Impressive Leicester climbed to eighth, three points behind Wolves in seventh which may still give them a route to Europe.

From the start the hosts dominated as Jonny Evans headed straight at Leno before James Maddison’s effort was deflected wide inside the first 10 minutes.

Maddison and Tielemans impressed and created space to exploit with the former dragging wide from the edge of the box.

Arsenal had barely threatened but Alexandre Lacazette volleyed Alex Iwobi’s cross just wide from 12 yards after 23 minutes.

The Foxes, though, were far sharper, grittier and dynamic than the visitors – leaving abject Arsenal relying on Leno’s reflexes to stay level.

The previously quiet Vardy slipped in Maddison and Leno shovelled his low effort behind and, from the resulting corner, the goalkeeper turned Wilfred Ndidi’s header away.

Leicester were getting closer and Vardy lobbed over following Marc Albrighton’s pinpoint pass after 32 minutes.

Passive Arsenal had barely woken up for the early kick-off yet they created the best chance in the 35th minute.

The previously anonymous Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang slipped in Iwobi and he fired at Kasper Schmeichel’s legs with just the goalkeeper to beat.

But a minute later the Gunners’ afternoon continued to go downhill when Maitland-Niles was dismissed for the first time in his career.

Already on a yellow card for an early foul on Ben Chilwell, the midfielder flew into a late challenge with Maddison and was sent off.

With the initiative Leicester pressed again and Leno’s excellent low stop denied Vardy an opener three minutes before half time.

Harvey Barnes replaced Ndidi at the break as Leicester looked to go on the offensive while the visitors introduced Laurent Koscielny for Iwobi.

A Foxes breakthrough seemed inevitable given their dominance and it finally came after 59 minutes.

Leicester’s final ball had been poor before Maddison produced a sumptuous cross which Tielemans met on the run to nod into the bottom corner from 10 yards.

It was all the hosts deserved and it meant Arsenal have kept two clean sheets in their last 28 top-flight away games.

They would have conceded more had it not been for Leno though as, after he watched Tielemans curl inches wide with 18 minutes left, he was at full stretch to save from Pereira and Barnes in quick succession.

But Vardy netted with four minutes left when he latched onto Schmeichel’s long free-kick and headed in from six yards after his lob over Leno hit the bar.

The former England striker then made it 3-0 with the final kick, tapping in Pereira’s cross from close range.

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