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Arsenal back into top four as Alexandre Lacazette and Thomas Partey down Foxes

The Gunners claimed a convincing win over Leicester at the Emirates.

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Alexandre Lacazette was on target as Arsenal reclaimed a top-four spot with a comfortable 2-0 win over Leicester (Nick Potts/PA)

Alexandre Lacazette was on target as Arsenal reclaimed a top-four spot with a comfortable 2-0 win over Leicester (Nick Potts/PA)

Alexandre Lacazette was on target as Arsenal reclaimed a top-four spot with a comfortable 2-0 win over Leicester (Nick Potts/PA)

Alexandre Lacazette and Thomas Partey were on target as Arsenal reclaimed a top-four spot in the Premier League with a comfortable 2-0 win over Leicester at the Emirates.

The victory saw the Gunners climb back above Manchester United to return to the position they held going into the weekend, with a one-point advantage over Ralf Rangnick’s side and also with three games still in hand.

Partey gave Arsenal an early lead with an 11th-minute header and Lacazette scored from the penalty spot midway through the second half to seal all three points.

Lacazette’s goal was the French forward’s first since his spot-kick against Norwich on Boxing Day but he remains without a goal from open play since December 11 and, despite a run of impressive performances in recent weeks, his future at the club remains uncertain.

Manager Mikel Arteta said before the game that a decision over Lacazette will be made at the end of the season, but the 30-year-old put in another solid performance at number nine at the Emirates.

Arsenal have not finished in the top four since Arsene Wenger was in charge and last season did not qualify for Europe for the first time since the 1994-95 campaign.

Looking to respond to United’s dramatic win over Tottenham on Saturday, Arsenal found themselves up against an in-form Leicester side that had won five of their last six matches in all competitions.

The Foxes were unable to keep the Gunners at bay on Sunday, though.

After the initial exchanges, Arsenal took the lead when Partey rose above his marker to head in at the near post from a Martin Odegaard corner.

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Thomas Partey headed Arsenal in front (Nick Potts/PA)

Thomas Partey headed Arsenal in front (Nick Potts/PA)

Thomas Partey headed Arsenal in front (Nick Potts/PA)

Partey almost added a second less than 10 minutes later as Arsenal continued to push. When Leicester were unable to clear their lines, the ball fell to the Ghana international at the edge of the box and his curled strike rebounded off the woodwork.

Moments later, Gabriel Martinelli tested Kasper Schmeichel with a shot from close range, after referee Anthony Taylor waved away a penalty shout in the Leicester box for a coming together involving Bukayo Saka.

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After sitting inside their own half for much of the opening period, the Foxes managed to break forward and Aaron Ramsdale had to be alert when a long ball from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall found Harvey Barnes, with the Arsenal goalkeeper saving at his near post.

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Arsenal’s penalty was awarded after a lengthy VAR review (Nick Potts/PA)

Arsenal’s penalty was awarded after a lengthy VAR review (Nick Potts/PA)

Arsenal’s penalty was awarded after a lengthy VAR review (Nick Potts/PA)

Lacazette had an opportunity just before the half-hour mark to add to his tally of just five goals for the season. He set the shooting chance up well with his first touch but his low drive was too close to Schmeichel.

Barnes had another opening just before half-time, from a Marc Albrighton corner, but Ramsdale managed to tip the ball over the bar, and it proved to be the visitors’ best chance to level the scores.

Arsenal looked to start the second half in the same way they did the first, with Schmeichel being forced into a sprawling stop to prevent Saka’s awkward shot falling to a Gunners team-mate at the far post.

The second goal Arteta’s side were searching for arrived just before the hour from the penalty spot.

Leicester scrambled to defend an Arsenal corner, with Schmeichel first making a save before Partey sent a header goalwards that Foxes defender Luke Thomas hooked off the line to seemingly save the visitors from going 2-0 down.

However, there was a VAR review for a handball by Caglar Soyuncu in the area which appeared to impede Partey’s close-range header before Thomas made his clearance.

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Alexandre Lacazette scored Arsenal’s second from the penalty spot (Nick Potts/PA)

Alexandre Lacazette scored Arsenal’s second from the penalty spot (Nick Potts/PA)

Alexandre Lacazette scored Arsenal’s second from the penalty spot (Nick Potts/PA)

After a lengthy VAR check, the penalty was awarded and Lacazette fired the ball into the top corner to double his side’s lead.

Arsenal had a number of chances to add to their tally, including a block from Schmeichel to deny Emile Smith Rowe from a narrow angle, as the Gunners ran out convincing winners.

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