Leicester 0 Arsenal 1: Martinelli's goal keeps title bid on track as Gunners edge past Foxes but VAR is involved again | The Sun

GABRIEL MARTINELLI delivered a perfect ten as Mikel Arteta’s away day specialists strengthened their grip on the title race.

The Brazilian international’s 46th minute winner was enough to secure Arsenal’s tenth Premier League victory on the road.

That’s more than they managed on their travels in the whole of last season.

And it means that victory at home to struggling Everton on Wednesday night will take them into the final three months of the campaign comfortably clear of second-placed Manchester City. 

It wasn’t the most convincing of performances from the League leaders but at this stage of the campaign it’s all about results.

And after briefly looking as if they were about to falter, back to back wins at Aston Villa and now Leicester have got them right back on track.


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Even another VAR row wasn’t going to disturb their progress as toothless Leicester failed to deliver a single shot on target all afternoon.

Yet they were made to work hard for their points after they dominated all the early possession without causing too many problems with their slick passing.

Martin Odegaard and Oleskandr Zinchenko were popping up all over the pitch as they tried to drag their opponents out of position.

But Leicester stuck gamely to their task and always managed to keep someone between the ball and their goal.

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So it wasn’t until the 18th minute that Arsenal’s first meaningful attempt arrived when Bukayo Saka looked to capitalise on Wilfred Ndidi’s slip.

But with England boss Gareth Southgate looking on from the directors’ box, Saka ‘s wayward shot from the edge of the area was never going to trouble keeper Danny Ward.

Ward had suffered an absolute shocker when Leicester were beaten 4-2 at the Emirates back in August and must have been fearing another test of his nerves from the League leaders.

And his heart was certainly in his mouth when Leandro Trossard curled one into his top corner after he had flapped tamely at Saka’s 27th minute corner.

But ref Craig Pawson was advised by VAR Michael Salisbury to take a look at the pitchside TV screen and eventually ruled that Ben White was impeding Ward when the ball had been delivered into his six-yard area.

It was a close call and one that certainly didn’t meet with the approval of Arteta.

And the Arsenal’s boss’ mood wasn’t helped five minutes later when Saka was bundled over from behind by Harry Souttar as he closed in on White’s cross.

It certainly looked like a penalty on the TV replays as Souttar appeared to stumble before dragging his opponent to the ground 

But the incident wasn’t even referred to Stockley Park as the travelling Gunners fans vented their anger at the officials.

They hadn’t forgotten how refs’ chief Howard Webb had apologised to their club two weeks ago after Brentford’s offside equaliser had been allowed to stand.

And this was doing nothing to dispel the paranoia of the online conspiracy theorists who are convinced that Arsenal are the victims of a referees’ conspiracy designed to stop them winning the league.

Yet Leicester were unable to take advantage of those reprieves despite the acres of space behind Arsenal’s back four as they looked to compress the game.

Kelechi Iheanacho did put the ball into Aaron Ramsdale’s net but was clearly offside when he raced on to Tete’s through ball.

And without the injured James Maddison to pull the strings, Brendan Rodgers’ team were sadly lacking in attacking ideas.

Tomorrow is the fourth anniversary of Rodgers’ appointment as Leicester boss and one he won’t be celebrating with much enthusiasm when he looks at the League table.

They have failed to keep a single Premier League clean sheet since returning to action after the World Cup and are still looking anxiously over their shoulders at the relegation zone. 

And any ideas of buying themselves a bit of breathing space were dispelled right at the start of the second-half.

Because whatever Arteta said to his players during the interval clearly worked and within 53 seconds of the restart they were ahead.

Gabriel’s long punt forward picked out Trossard on the left wing and when he slipped the ball through Souttar’s legs Martinelli raced in to steer an unerring shot beyond Ward’s reach into the far corner

It was the young Brazilian’s ninth goal of the season and well worth the pain of a whack on the ankle as he was caught by Ndidi’s follow through.

Saka thought he had doubled Arsenal’s lead ten minutes later when he tapped in from close range, but once again VAR was not his friend as Martinelli was confirmed to have strayed marginally offside in the build-up.

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Yet not even the injection of Jamie Vardy’s pace from the subs’ bench was going to spoil their day out as they comfortably saw the game out before hitting the M1 with the points in the bag.

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