Facing what was another crucial showdown on Saturday afternoon, Arsenal picked up a 1-0 victory away at Leicester as the Gunners maintained their two-point buffer at the top of the Premier League table.
Putting in another professional display outside of north London, it was Gabriel Martinelli who proved to be the match-winner as the 21-year-old produced a smart finishing seconds after the half-time break.
While Mikel Arteta’s side might have been left frustrated midway through the first-half as Leandro Trossard’s wonder goal was ruled out for an alleged foul on Danny Ward, Arsenal once again underlined their title credentials.
Extending their stay at the top of the Premier League table and not really having to get out of second gear for large spells, the Gunners also piled more pressure onto an inconsistent Leicester squad.
With the Foxes laying to offer a single shot on target, Saturday’s hosts are still firmly looking over their shoulder at a potential relegation scrap.
In a showdown between two sides battling it out at opposite ends of the table, we have taken a look at the main talking points from the King Power.
Another hurdle that Arsenal climb over
Although Arsenal might have opened February by collecting just a single point from their first three Premier League matchups, the Gunners have managed to prove that was nothing more than a brief wobble.
Finding what was a crucial 4-2 victory away at Aston Villa last weekend, Arteta was calling on his side to put in a far more professional display on Saturday afternoon.
Still holding a two-point buffer over defending champions Manchester City and in the midst of what has become a famous campaign at the Emirates, Arteta’s youngsters would have been glad to breeze past a potential banana skin here.
Recording their first Premier League clean sheets since their 2-0 victory away at bitter rivals Tottenham on January 15th, the English heavyweights have also been handed what has been a largely favorable fixture list over the coming weeks.
Welcoming Everton to north London in midweek and looking to claim some immediate revenge on the relegation scrappers, Arsenal will also be excited to get their Europa League knockout stage adventure underway next month.
Martinelli is refinding his form at a crucial time
While Martinelli might have marked his return from the World Cup’s winter break with another eye-catching Premier League flurry, the 21-year-old did open February in the midst of what had been an extended rut.
However, although Arsenal’s homegrown superstar might have been enduring an eight-match run without a strike before getting on the scoresheet in the Gunners’ 4-2 victory away at Aston Villa last weekend, it appears that Martinelli has refound his best form at a crucial time.
While it might have been England ace Bakayo Saka who has received the most praise in Arsenal’s shock title charge this season, Arteta has been quick to state that Martinelli has a crucial role to play over the coming months.
Producing a wonderful slotted finish just moments after returning from the half-time break, the Brazilian international really did impress on his return to Arteta’s starting XI here.
Now nothing nine Premier League strikes this season and enjoying what has become his brightest run in north London, Martinelli has now bagged back-to-back top-flight strikes for the first time since opening 2023.
Leicester still seeking stability
While Leicester might have opened February in the midst of what had become an eye-catching Premier League flurry, the Foxes have largely come crashing back down to earth over the past week.
Although Brendan Rodgers’ side might have gained a string of praise following their stellar 4-1 romp against Champions League contenders Tottenham on February 11th, the one-time Liverpool boss still finds his side looking over their shoulder at the drop zone.
Blown away at Old Trafford last week as they were hit with a 3-0 drumming at the hands of Manchester United, Leicester once again failed to lay down any kind of blow here.
Now suffering back-to-back Premier League defeats, the former top-flight champions now hold just a three-point buffer from slipping into the relegation zone and there could once again be some growing pressure on Rodgers’ shoulders.
Failing to create a single shot on target at the King Power and with attacking talisman James Maddison missing out here, it is fair to say that Leicester are still seeking some much-needed stability in 2023.
Leicester: Ward, Castagne, Souttar, Faes, Kristiansen, Praet, Ndidi, Dewsbury-Hall, Tete, Iheanacho, Barnes
Subs: Daka, Pereira, Soumare, Tielemans, Vardy
Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Xhaka, Jorginho, Odegaardm Saka, Trossard, Martinelli
Subs: Partey, Nketiah, Tomiyasu
Goals: Martinelli (46′)
Yellow Cards: Martinelli
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Craig Pawson