Martinelli scores as Arsenal go five points clear with victory at Leicester

Martinelli scores as Arsenal go five points clear with victory at Leicester

Gabriel Martinelli scored the decisive goal as Premier League leaders Arsenal kept Manchester City at bay with a narrow victory at Leicester.

The Gunners were the better side at the King Power Stadium but left with a hard-fought 1-0 win courtesy of Martinelli's effort early in the second half.

The game lacked much of the drama witnessed in Arsenal's last-gasp victory at Aston Villa a week ago but it does ensure Mikel Arteta's side remain top of the table heading into their home clash with struggling Everton on Wednesday night.

Oleksandr Zinchenko was on the scoresheet in the vital win at Villa Park and was made captain here as a mark of respect on the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine.

The Ukraine international was named in a side showing just one change from the 4-2 win at Aston Villa as Martinelli returned in place of Eddie Nketiah.

Thomas Partey was fit enough for a late substitute appearance on his return from injury while James Maddison missed out entirely for Leicester due to his continuing knee trouble.

Arsenal started well and were dominant in the opening stages, with a fine Leandro Trossard strike seemingly giving them the lead just before the half-hour mark.

The Belgium forward collected the ball on the edge of the box and curled home a fine effort only to see it ruled out by VAR for a Ben White foul on Danny Ward in the build-up.

Leicester had the ball in the net moments later but it was a more clear-cut decision for the officials to chalk it off for an obvious offside against Kelechi Iheanacho.

The away side had dominated possession in a goalless first half but it did not take long for them to break the deadlock following the restart.

The second half was not a minute old when Trossard's pass through the legs of Harry Souttar picked out Martinelli, who finished well from an acute angle.

The Brazil forward required lengthy treatment having been trod on by Leicester skipper Wilfred Ndidi as he tucked away the opener but was able to continue.

Leicester almost responded in kind with Tete just inches away from turning home a Harvey Barnes cross to the back post.

Bukayo Saka bundled home a close-range effort that was ruled out as Martinelli had been marginally offside as he played the ball to the England forward.

Zinchenko then stung the palms of Ward as Arsenal chased a second but, as the half wore on, the hosts sensed a point could be in the offing.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall arrowed just wide of Aaron Ramsdale's right-hand post as Jamie Vardy - with 11 goals in his previous 15 appearances against Arsenal - replaced Iheanacho.

The visitors, though, stemmed any late Leicester pressure to claim an 18th league win of the campaign and remain on course for a first title in 19 years.