ARSENAL took another big step towards the Champions League with a comfortable 2-0 win over Leicester City.
Thomas got the Partey started with 11 minutes gone by heading in – a carbon copy of Gabriel’s at the King Power in October.
Arsenal moved back into the top four by beating LeicesterCredit: EPA
Thomas Partey rose to thunder in an 11th-minute openerCredit: AP
Partey turned provider, just about, for the second when his header flicked off Caglar Soyuncu’s hand and that was enough for the VAR to send Anthony Taylor to the monitor.
Here’s how SunSport’s Joshua Jones rated Mikel Arteta’s men…
Aaron Ramsdale – 7/10
Made a super save from James Maddison in the reverse tie to keep his clean sheet but almost gifted that man an equaliser when he palmed a low cross straight to him.
Back to his usual self with a flying reaction save to push over Harvey Barnes’ goal-bound header in style – which even drew a ‘wow’ from Brendan Rodgers. That was about it for ‘England’s No1’ as the home fans chanted.
Cedric Soares – 8
Knew he had his afternoon’s work cut out against one of the Premier League’s in-form wingers, Harvey Barnes.
But in truth he kept him quiet all game. That was his job and he did it perfectly.
Added a fine block in injury time to round off his stellar performance.
Ben White – 7
Bailed out Ramsdale with a huge tackle as James Maddison wriggled and was about to pull the trigger.
No messing with his defending, didn’t give Kelechi Iheanacho a sniff – nor sub Patson Daka.
Gabriel – 6
First piece of notable action was an embarrassing scream as he collapsed to the turf off the ball on the halfway line after a flick of Iheanacho’s hand to his face.
Other than that, a pretty quiet evening for the Brazilian.
Kieran Tierney – 6
Marc Albrighton was never going to burst past him with speed but look to be creative and deliver early crosses. But the Scot was wise to it.
Made a critical interception at the back post as Barnes looked to drag his team back into it.
Finished with the armband again and should have it permanently next season.
Thomas Partey – 9
February’s player of the month carried on his fine form by pressing on Leicester’s Achilles heel and heading in at the near post from a corner.
He almost had his third Arsenal goal but clipped an effort against the post then Caglar Soyuncu’s hand and Luke Thomas combined to clear his header off the line.
A dominant display, doing his regular defensive duties excellently – really operating at his best right now.
Granit Xhaka – 7
Operated in a more slightly advanced No8 role early on to see more of the attacking action – and played it well, getting into good areas and helping boss the midfield battles.
Escaped a silly yellow card for catching the ball before it sailed over his head for a throw.
Ben White refused to give Kelechi Iheanacho or Patson Daka a sniffCredit: Reuters
Partey and Granit Xhaka enjoyed plenty of success in midfieldCredit: AFP
Bukayo Saka – 8
What a special talent this lad is. His blistering pace, quick decision-making ability and brimming confidence makes for a deadly cocktail.
It was his drive and threat that spearheaded the Gunners from the first whistle and he could – maybe should – have had a penalty.
Was in the wars as Leicester resorted to hauling him to the turf to slow him down in his fresh wheels, unsurprisingly.
Martin Odegaard – 8
Like his pal Saka beside him, Odegaard is pivotal to the way this exciting Arsenal team play – helped by having magnets in his boots.
His vision is so good, he plays passes the Leicester defenders, 60,000 in the Emirates and maybe even some team-mates don’t spot.
Showing good leadership as one of the more experienced men in this side despite his tender age.
Gabriel Martinelli – 8
Made a lively start down the Arsenal left and provided the perfect cross to set up the opener.
Gave Ricardo Pereira a torrid time of it – the right-back was replaced on the hour – and continued to be a thorn down that side until he was subbed.
Martin Odegaard ran the show in midfieldCredit: EPA
Gabriel Martinelli caused Ricardo Pereira plenty of problemsCredit: Getty
Alexandre Lacazette dispatched his penalty away confidentlyCredit: Getty
Alexandre Lacazette – 6
Largely uninvolved as the best attacking play happened around and behind him.
Escaped a yellow card for a needless, cynical foul on Marc Albrighton in midfield.
He miscued his shot which ultimately led to the penalty… but stuck it away in style for his fourth Prem goal of the season.
Emile Smith Rowe (for Martinelli, 78 mins) – 7
Nicolas Pepe (for Saka, 85 mins) – 6
Eddie Nketiah (for Lacazette, 88 mins) – N/A
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