Jamie Vardy scored twice as Leicester inflicted a blow to Arsenal’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League with a dominant victory at the King Power Stadium.
The unmarked Youri Tielemans headed in a cross from James Maddison just before the hour mark, before Vardy struck late on with a header and a tap-in from close range.
Arsenal played almost an hour of the contest with 10 men after Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent off.
A third successive Premier League defeat left them a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who face Manchester United at Old Trafford at 16.30 BST on Sunday.
Leicester still have a slim chance of finishing seventh – they are five points behind Wolves – which could earn a Europa League place depending on the outcome of the FA Cup final.
Arsenal’s task was made significantly more difficult after Maitland-Niles was sent off for the first time in his career following two bookings in the space of 28 minutes – for a soft foul on Ben Chilwell and then needlessly scything down Maddison near the halfway line.
However, a three-goal margin flattered Arsenal and, even with a full complement of players, it is difficult to envisage a different outcome such was the conviction of the performance of Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester.
Arsenal were indebted to goalkeeper Bernd Leno for a string of fine saves, the pick a magnificent one-handed diving effort to paw away a Wilfred Ndidi header.
Deja vu for Gunners and Vardy
Arsenal fans must be fed up with the sight of Vardy, such is the England’s striker’s potency against them.
He has scored eight goals in as many matches against the Gunners – and now has 10 in his past nine appearances against any opposition.
While much has been made of the young squad that Rodgers will seek mould at Leicester, 32-year-old Vardy remains an influential presence.
He may not quite have the explosive pace which fired Leicester to the title in 2015-16, but the intelligence and timing of his runs remain sharp.
His first goal came after he lifted the ball over Leno, watched it rebound against the crossbar, then headed it home.
His second, in the fifth minute of stoppage time, was a routine finish from Ricardo Pereira’s low cross.
Emery must remedy away-day blues
Arsenal have won only twice away from home in the league this season.
On the evidence of this performance, it appears as much as mindset issue as personnel for Unai Emery’s side.
Where the Gunners brim with vim and vigour in the confines of Emirates Stadium, that seemingly dissipates on the road as caution infects their approach.
There was notable reluctance – even before Maitland-Niles was sent off – for players to express themselves. It was safety and conservatism over risk-taking and ambition.
Fatigue, given their Europa League run – they play the first leg of the semi-final against Valencia on Thursday – was perhaps a prohibitive factor in this instance, but the trend for the season has already been established.
Can Leicester hold on to Tielemans?
“Sign him up, sign him up, sign him up,” sang the Leicester fans with added gusto after Tielemans scored and again at the full-time whistle.
The 21-year-old Belgium international oozed class with a mature midfield display, capped by a powerful header.
Tielemans has been directly involved in seven goals in his past nine league games, with three goals and four assists.
He joined Leicester on loan from Monaco in January until the end of the season.
Rodgers will surely be eager to sign the talented youngster, although more eye-catching performances mean he is not be short of suitors.
Man of the match – James Maddison (Leicester)
Rodgers revival continues – the stats
- Only Liverpool and Manchester City have earned more Premier League points than Leicester since Brendan Rodgers took charge in March (16).
- Leicester have won back-to-back home league games against Arsenal for the first time since November 1983.
- Arsenal have lost three consecutive league games, while conceding at least three goals each time for the first time since May 1966.
- Arsenal have lost four of their last five Premier League games, as many as they had in their previous 29 in the competition.
- Only Manchester United (6) have been shown more red cards than Arsenal (5) among Premier League sides in all competitions this season.
Arsenal host relegation strugglers Brighton next Sunday (16:30) while former Liverpool manager Rodgers takes his Leicester side to Manchester City on 24 hours later on Monday 6 May (20:00).