LONDON, United Kingdom, Oct 23 – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil stole the show as Arsenal swept to their 10th successive win with a dominant 3-1 victory against Leicester on Monday.
Unai Emery’s side trailed to Hector Bellerin’s first half own goal at the Emirates Stadium.
But Ozil, captaining Arsenal on his return to the side after back spasms, produced a majestic display to lead the Gunners’ impressive fightback.
Ozil, shrugging off his poor start to the season, equalised just before half-time and played a key role in Aubameyang’s second half double.
Gabon striker Aubameyang scored twice in quick succession after coming off the bench, ensuring Arsenal won 10 consecutive matches in all competitions for the first time since 2007.
They have scored 30 goals in that blistering streak and climb to fourth place in the Premier League, just two points behind leaders Manchester City.
On the 69th birthday of Emery’s predecessor Arsene Wenger, this was the kind of swashbuckling show that recalled Arsenal’s glory days under the Frenchman.
It was the perfect start to a hectic week that sees Arsenal travel to Portugal for a Europa League tie against Sporting Lisbon on Thursday before returning to domestic action at Crystal Palace on Sunday.
Emery has made a remarkable impact since replacing Wenger in the close-season.
The Spanish manager’s two-game losing streak at the start of his Arsenal reign is now a distant memory as Gunners fans start to dream of a title challenge after their seventh successive league win.
Initially, Arsenal struggled to get up to speed and Kelechi Iheanacho made a break behind Stephane Lichtsteiner, leaving him trailing in his wake as he cut into the area for a shot that was deflected over by Rob Holding.
Iheanacho threatened again moments later, taking possession on the edge of the area before unleashing a curling effort that Bernd Leno pushed away.
– Driving forward –
Leicester had a strong claim for a spot-kick when Holding raised his arm above his head and clearly handled as he jumped to meet Jamie Vardy’s flick on, yet referee Christopher Kavanagh waved play on.
Harry Maguire’s towering header forced a good save from Leno and Leicester’s pressure reaped a tangible reward in the 31st minute.
Wilfried Ndidi’s pass picked out Ben Chilwell, who made a superb run in behind Bellerin and drilled a low shot that deflected off the Arsenal defender on its way past the wrong-footed Leno.
Stunned into action by that setback, Arsenal nearly snatched an immediate equaliser when Granit Xhaka’s free-kick was tipped over by Kasper Schmeichel.
Suddenly, Arsenal were driving forward with purpose and they drew level on the stroke of half-time.
Ozil was the catalyst as his pass sent Bellerin away down the right and when the defender crossed into the Leicester area, it was the German midfielder who timed his run perfectly to guide a delicate finish into the far corner.
Ndidi led the Leicester response with a powerful header that rattled the bar from James Maddison’s corner.
But Emery sent on Aubameyang for Lichtsteiner after 61 minutes and it the match-winning switch paid instant dividends two minutes later.
Ozil played a superb pass to Bellerin and the Spaniard’s low cross was just right for the unmarked Aubameyang to slot home from close-range.
Aubameyang was in the right place at the right time again in the 66th minute as Arsenal conjured up another incisive raid.
This was Arsenal at their finest as Ozil and Lacazette combined to carve open the Leicester defence in a blur of flicks and tricks, presenting Aubameyang with a simple chance to tap in his eighth goal of the season.
Rounding off a depressing evening for Leicester, Vardy was forced off, leaving the visitors, who had already made all their substitutions, down to 10 men for the final minutes.