Arsenal 2 Leicester City 1
Walcott 70, Welbeck 90+4, Vardy 45

Danny Welbeck came off the substitutes bench and in the fourth minute of the four of time added on, headed a late dramatic winner to give Arsenal a crucial three points. Welbeck last put on the famous red and white shirt ten months ago in April having sustained a knee injury which at the time Arsene Wenger felt would keep him out of the game for a matter of weeks at most. Ten long months later, and Welbeck had been back in training, but wasn’t thought to be ready to take part against Leicester. Sitting on the substitutes bench however, Welbeck watched on as Jamie Vardy won and converted a controversial first half penalty. The complexion of the game changed when Danny Simpson collected two needless second half yellow cards and was given his marching orders. Ten man Leicester were then on defensive duties for over half an hour. Time enough however for Theo Walcott to level, yet with over 20 minutes still to play, the game appeared to be heading for a draw. Pouring forwards at will and desperately searching for a winner, the Gunners were thwarted by desperate defending and some excellent saves from Kasper Schmeichel. With seconds on the clock remaining however, Welbeck nodded in from Mesut Ozil’s free kick for a dramatic winner to settle this fascinating top of the table clash.

The Foxes now see their lead at the Premier League summit cut to two points, with this latest loss coming on the back of Arsenal’s 5-2 win at the King Power stadium last September.

Having beaten Manchester City last weekend, and going into this clash at the Emirates stadium, Leicester’s momentum had been building. Their football here showed a tenacious resilience, which the Gunners found difficult to contend with at times. That last kick, tackle, run, chase, the Foxes were all over the lush Emirates surface, yet Arsenal should have taken the lead with barely a minute on the clock.

Ozil found Alexis Sanchez, who then switched the ball to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right. The Gunners’ man raced away and tried to pass into the area when a shot seemed the better option. From the resulting corner, Alexis hustled a header just wide od Schmeichel’s upright.

The key to the Foxes drive was once again the energy of N’Golo Kante. One particular first half strong stop as Aaron Ramsey tried to cut loose, emphasised the desire of the visitors.

However, the France midfielder should have been the source of an Arsenal penalty and a yellow card for his handling of the ball. Ozil’s neat back flick fell for Oxlade-Chamberlain. The Arsenal man played the ball to be met with Kante’s outstretched arm, yet referee Mike Atkinson waved play on.

Playing a high line nearly cost the Foxes as Ramsey surged through. Schmeichel saw the danger and raced off his line to make a slide tackle block on the Wales midfieler. Any Arsenal player with pace would have stolen in.

That theory about Petr Cech saving Arsenal 10-15 points a season was in action again when Cech got down low to Vardy’s header and produce a smart low save.

Leicester’s defence where holding firm. Oxlade-Chamberlain knew he had to legs to get beyond Christian Fuchs to cross but Giroud was hurried into his shot.

Alexis seems to be slowly coming back from his two month calf injury, yet appears to still be suffering a little. The Chile striker wasn’t demanding the ball or pressing as is his way. His shot from Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross hit a Foxes defender for corner from which Giroud headed over the bar.

When Giroud finally managed to beat Schmeichel with deft header, he looked on in amazement as he had just strayed offside. Francis Coquelin was getting overloaded in midfield, and his frustration got the better of him when he impeded Riyad Mahrez to be shown a yellow card.

Kante tested Cech with a curling effort which the Arsenal keeper kept his eye on to glove away for a Leicester corner.

As the end of the first half approached Monreal stuck out a leg which Vardy didn’t need a second invitation to fall from, despite there being minimal if no contact. Up stepped Vardy to send Cech the wrong way from the penalty spot for his 19th goal of the season.

Wenger was forced to take off Laurent Koscieny for Calum Chambers Chambers at the interval as Ramsey got the Gunners search for a leveller off with a shot struck just wide of the upright

Only Simpson knows what he was doing impeding Alexis to be shown a yellow card, only to be followed moments later for catching Giroud for a second yellow card and sending off which would ultimately cost ten man Foxes

In between, Mahrez made an embarrassing claim for a penalty, which Atkinson knew was a dive!

Attracting the shall we say robust attentions of Robert Huth and Wes Morgan, Giroud was having to be patient and disciplined. The France striker headed over from Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross after some neat build up play.

Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri replaced the fading Mahrez with the burly Marcin Wasilewski, with the intention to prevent the Gunners from surging forward. Just past the hour mark, Wenger brought on Walcott for Coquelin. The bold move would prove to be pivotal in the Gunners resurgence.

Vardy had reminded Arsenal of his continued threat with a shot which had Cech stretching. However with their next move, Arsenal were level!

Hector Bellerin had run himself tirelessly as is his way, and his cross into a congested Leicester area got knocked back from Giroud’s header and cushioned perfectly for Walcott to place his shot past the spread dive of Schmeichel.

Arsenal sensed more goals, as the Foxes just sensed to hold on. Danny Drinkwater’s high X rated high tackle on Ramsey, was missed by Atkinson, but will surely get the attention of the FA video panel.

It was all Arsenal as Walcott, Alexis and Ramsey with a beautiful curler searched for a winner.

With seven minutes of normal time remaining, Welbeck reaplaced Oxlade-Chamberlain and to great welcome back cheers from the Emirates faithful. Per Mertersacker saw his header from Ozil’s cross glance just wide and you sensed the desperation in the crowd.

From Monreal’s cross, Giroud headed to Welbeck, but the returning England man couldn’t get real contact with his effort

Schmeichel then denied Giroud’s goal bound effort with a low save of the highest order, and that seemed to be that. Only it wasn’t! Ramsey tried to pass the ball in from Monreal’s cross and Schmeical clawed away Alexis’s goal bound effort.

When Wasilewski crudely stopped Ramsey, Ozil stepped up to take the free kick. We were into the fourth minute of time added on. As the German flighted the ball into the danger zone, the Foxes defence switched off, and that was all the time Welbeck needed to head in the late winner and his first goal of the season.

The win when asked for may have been late in coming, but it will nevertheless speak volumes as Arsenal lay down a marker of intent in a fascinating title race.