Pepe shines as Arsenal come from behind to stun injury-hit Leicester

Date published: Sunday 28th February 2021 1:58 - Rob McCarthy

Nicolas Pepe TEAMtalk

Nicolas Pepe was the difference as he won a penalty and scored Arsenal’s third in a 3-1 Premier League win at injury-hit Leicester on Sunday.

The Foxes took the lead through Youri Tielemans early on before a David Luiz header and Alexandre Lacazette’s penalty gave the Gunners the lead at the break.

The points were wrapped up shortly after half-time when Pepe struck from close range to move Mikel Arteta’s men into the top half of the table.

Despite their bright start, it was a disastrous day for Leicester, who also lost Harvey Barnes and Jonny Evans to injury.

Barnes, Ricardo Pereira and Timothy Castagne all returned for the home side to face the Gunners.

The trio were second-half substitutes in Thursday’s 2-0 Europa League defeat to Slavia Prague, while Kelechi Iheanacho was also given a start.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka were on the bench for Arsenal, as Lacazette, Willian, Pepe, Mohamed Elneny, Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari came in following the Gunners’ 3-2 Europa League win over Benfica.

Tielemans opened the scoring for the Foxes after seven minutes when he burst down the right, cut inside and drilled low past Bernd Leno.

Arsenal levelled six minutes before the break when Luiz headed in the impressive Willian’s free-kick.

Alexandre Lacazette TEAMtalk

And Lacazette’s penalty put the visitors 2-1 up in first-half stoppage time after Wilfred Ndidi handled Pepe’s shot.

More injury woe for Foxes

The in-form Barnes was carried off five minutes into the second half after appearing to injure his knee stretching for the ball.

The Gunners went further ahead in the 52nd-minute when the excellent Pepe swept home from close range after Willian’s deflected pass found him unmarked.

Leicester were hit with another injury blow when Evans limped with 20 minutes to go.

A toothless Foxes side failed to trouble Leno in the second period, while substitute Aubameyang almost added a fourth for the visitors late on.

The defeat leaves Leicester looking over their shoulder in the race for the Champions League football, while it also boosts Arsenal’s hopes of a top-six finish.

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