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Arsenal rekindle European hopes with 3-1 win at Leicester

LEICESTER, England (Reuters) - Arsenal revived their hopes of playing in European competition next season after goals from David Luiz, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe helped them to a 3-1 win at Leicester City in an entertaining Premier League clash on Sunday.

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The result lifted Arsenal two places up to ninth on 37 points from 26 games while Leicester stayed third on 49 points after suffering a second setback in three days following their Europa League elimination.

The Foxes produced another poor performance after Thursday’s 2-0 home defeat by Slavia Prague sent them crashing out of Europe’s second-tier competition, where Arsenal progressed into the last 16 with a 4-3 aggregate win over Benfica.

Lacazette said two successive wins would boost Arsenal’s confidence in their bid to climb higher up the standings.

“We want to go as high as possible in the league and the reaction today after the goal we conceded was really good,” the French striker told BT Sport.

“We know it’s really important now, we have March, April and May to finish well. Comeback wins in two successive games will be a massive confidence boost.”

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers rued his team’s poor first half and a serious-looking injury to midfielder Harvey Barnes, who could be out of action for up to six weeks.

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“It looks like Harvey Barnes is going to need an operation on his knee,” Rodgers told the BBC. “I just spoke to the doctor; he might be out for six weeks. That’ll be a huge blow for us.

“It’s been unfortunate but it’s the uniqueness of the season. We haven’t cried about it all season, we’re not going to start now.

“I thought we didn’t play well in the first half. We didn’t have the ball enough and I expected us to pressure them more. We were too static and I thought we looked a little tired.”

Leicester took a sixth-minute lead at King Power stadium as Youri Tielemans robbed two Arsenal players of the ball on the right flank and cut inside the area before he fired a low shot into the far corner.

The Gunners equalised in the 39th when Luiz headed a Willian cross into the bottom right corner and Lacazette turned the tide in first-half stoppage time as he drilled in a penalty after a VAR check showed Wilfred Ndidi had handled the ball in the area.

Poor defending cost Leicester again in the 52nd minute as they allowed the visitors to break through the middle before Willian slipped the ball to Pepe and the Ivorian forward tucked it into an empty net from two metres.

Arsenal held on comfortably in the closing stages and missed chances to win by a bigger margin as Kieran Tierney volleyed just wide from 20 metres and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came close with a fizzing low shot.

Kelechi Iheanacho summed up Leicester’s afternoon in the last minute of stoppage time when he blazed the ball over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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