May 24, 2019

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Leicester dent Arsenal’s top-four hopes after 3-0 win

Leicester dent Arsenal’s top-four hopes after 3-0 win

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.

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