Martinelli repays Arteta faith to keep Arsenal top

25 Feb 2023
Premier League - Leicester City v Arsenal

Manager's decision to restore Brazilian pays off as win at Leicester maintains two-point lead over Man City

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A change of selection from Mikel Arteta paid off as Arsenal beat Leicester City 1-0 at King Power Stadium to remain top of the Premier League. 

The Arsenal manager recalled Gabriel Martinelli to the starting XI in place of Eddie Nketiah as the Brazilian played up front for the first time with Leandro Trossard

The pair combined 51 seconds into the second half for the only goal, Trossard's clever pass finding Martinelli, who finished well.

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It was Martinelli's ninth league goal this season, his best return at Arsenal.

A 10th away win of the season, more than they managed in the whole of 2021/22, gives Arsenal 57 points.   

Leicester remain in 14th place with 24 points, but are only three points above the bottom three.

Arsenal left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko was handed the captain's armband in Ukrainian colours as part of the clubs' tributes to the nation a day after the first anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion.

City respond with ease

Manchester City responded in perfect fashion though, as they comfortably dispatched AFC Bournemouth 4-1 at Vitality Stadium, their 200th away win in the Premier League.

Julian Alvarez, Erling Haaland and Phil Foden netted in the first half. Haaland's goal was his 27th in the Premier League this season, breaking the club record of 26 set by Sergio Aguero in 2014/15.

A second-half own goal from Chris Mepham added to City's lead, but Jefferson Lerma's fierce shot denied Ederson a 100th Premier League clean sheet.

The champions maintain the two-point gap behind Arsenal, while AFC Bournemouth remain 19th on 21 points, one behind 17th-placed Leeds United

The top two

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
1 Manchester City MCI 38 +61 89
2 Arsenal ARS 38 +45 84
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Leeds and West Ham exit bottom three

At the other end of the table there were vital victories for Leeds and West Ham United that lifted them out of the relegation zone they had fallen into last week. 

Junior Firpo cut inside to score the only goal for Leeds to beat bottom-club Southampton and hand new head coach Javier Gracia a debut victory. A first win in 11 matches lifts Leeds to 17th on 22 points, while Saints have 18. 

Under-pressure David Moyes changed his tactics with a back four and was rewarded with two goals in just over two second-half minutes from Danny Ings.

The forward bought from Aston Villa in January scored his first goals for the club on the way to a crucial 4-0 win over Nottingham Forest.

Declan Rice curled in a superb third and Michail Antonio struck against his former team to seal the victory that takes West Ham out of the relegation zone and up to 16th to on 23 points.

Forest remain 13th but now have 24 points, only four above the relegation zone. 

Dyche tastes first Goodison defeat

Villa ended Everton manager Sean Dyche's perfect record at Goodison Park with a 2-0 win that sent the Toffees back into the bottom three.

Ollie Watkins scored for the fifth Premier League match in a row to give Villa the lead from the penalty spot after Idrissa Gueye had brought down John McGinn.

Emiliano Buendia's brilliant run and finish secured the three points that send Everton down to 18th, on 21 points. 

Villa remain 11th with 31 points.  

The relegation fight

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
12 Chelsea CHE 38 -9 44
13 Wolverhampton Wanderers WOL 38 -27 41
14 West Ham United WHU 38 -13 40
15 Bournemouth BOU 38 -34 39
16 Nottingham Forest NFO 38 -30 38
17 Everton EVE 38 -23 36
18 Leicester City LEI 38 -17 34
19 Leeds United LEE 38 -30 31
20 Southampton SOU 38 -37 25
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Stalemate at Selhurst Park

Liverpool were unable to go four points from the top four as they and Crystal Palace shared a goalless draw at Selhurst Park.

The scoreline was probably not a surprise as Palace have registered only two goals in their last six home matches, while Liverpool have scored only four goals in their last six matches. 

Palace spurned the best chances in the first half, while Liverpool twice hit the woodwork. They have now struck the post or bar 14 times this season, a joint-high.

Liverpool move above Brighton & Hove Albion into seventh on 36 points. Palace, who are still looking for their first league win of 2023, remain 12th on 27 points, six above the relegation zone. 

Thriller in store on Sunday

The only Premier League fixture on Sunday is an engrossing encounter as Tottenham Hotspur host Chelsea

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Spurs are looking to consolidate their place in the top four. A third consecutive home win would close the gap on third-placed Manchester United to four points.

Graham Potter is looking to steer Chelsea to a first win in five matches.

After this match, Man Utd and Newcastle United will seek to lift the first domestic cup of the season in the EFL Cup final. 

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