Odegaard proves worth over Maddison

Leicester had achieved three clean sheets in their last three matches and appeared coming into form but had a Europa tie on the Thursday. Would that count in Arsenal’s favour?

Arsenal are 14 points better off than at the same stage as last season. Leicester are 16 points worse off. And they were fourth for a large part of the run-in. A salutary tale.

Arsenal fielded the same starting eleven as Watford with Xhaka moving forward at times making it a 4-1-4-1.

Senegal’s Mendy and transfer target Maddison came in with Iheanacho leading the line, as chief Arsenal tormentor Vardy was out along with injury hit Evans and Fofana. Tielemans and Ndidi were rested for Rennes.

Martin Odegaard created six chances to Maddison’s two

How would Odegaard and Maddison, linked with Arsenal pre-season, compare? The Norwegian won six chances created to two for the Leicester man.

And Arsenal achieved their twelfth clean sheet of the season and had 21 attempts on goal in the game.

It was as if Arsenal had a gear in reserve, and after the second goas went in, Leicester rarely threatened Ramsdale’s goal.

Saka started brightly with an inside pass in the Leicester area.

And from a corner he won, Martinelli sent in a flat effort with some whip and Partey headed home with a five-yard run. It is Leicester’s weak spot with 20 goals conceded from set pieces.

Further Arsenal dominance enabled Partey to hit the junction of post and bar from a backheel via Xhaka.

Saka then took on half the Leicester defence and was halted by Mendy.

Maddison had a chance from a Dewsbury Hall cross but White executed a goal saving tackle.

Leicester came into it more after 25 – with Thomas and Barnes dominant on the left.

Albrighton sent in a curving cross and found Barnes with a header on target – tipped past the post by a flying Ramsdale.

From a scramble in the Leicester area White shot hard goalward, parried by Schmeichel and Partey headed towards goal on the six-yard box and Söyüncü was adjudged to have touched it after a three- minute forensic analysis by VAR.

From the penalty Lacazette lifted it high to Schmeichel’s right, breaking his goal drought.

Tierney saved a goal by coming in from the left and clearing from Barnes on the six-yard line.

After the game, Martin Odegaard said: “we have a lot of confidence in the team.”

Harvey Barnes said: “It was a tough game. There were spells where we were alright. But we gave away soft goals. We had a slow start. They were pinning us in. But after 25 we were camped in their half. The fact we played on Thursday is no excuse.

Brendan Rogers said: “We were disappointed with the penalty – so soft. It takes so long to look at it. After 2-0 we were chasing the game. We had the ball and didn’t penetrate. The set piece goal and penalty determined the game.

Mikel Arteta said: “People believe in what we are trying to do and work to what you want to do. The last few months we have been more consistent.”

Arsenal: 32Ramsdale, 17Cédric Soares, 4White, 6Gabriel, 3Tierney, 5Partey, 34Xhaka, 7Saka (Substituted for Pépé at 85’minutes), 8Ødegaard, 35Martinelli (Substituted for Smith Rowe at 78’minutes) 9Lacazette (Substituted for Nketiah at 88’minutes)

Leicester:1Schmeichel, 21Ricardo Pereira (Substituted for Justin at 61’minutes),18Amartey, 4Söyüncü Booked at 58mins),33Thomas, 24Mendy (Substituted for Ndidi at 61’minutes,22Dewsbury-Hall, 11Albrighton,10Maddison, 7Barnes. 14Iheanacho (Booked at 30min, Substituted for Daka at 74’minutes, Booked at 80mins)