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Arsenal 4 – 2 Leicester

Gabriel Jesus was red hot as he struck his first two competitive goals for Arsenal and came up with two assists in a dramatic 4-2 win over Leicester on a sweltering afternoon at the Emirates Stadium.

The Brazilian was unfazed by the heat hitting 33C in north London, bending in a brilliant opener with the help of a slight deflection (23) before nodding in his second (35) after Jamie Vardy unintentionally flicked a corner to the back post to mark his first Emirates Premier League appearance as a Gunner in style.

Vardy had a penalty decision given and then rightly taken away after VAR Mike Dean advised referee Darren England to re-assess the minimal contact between Ramsdale and the striker just before half-time. Temperatures rose in the stadium when a replay was shown on the big screen, with the Foxes frontman loudly booed.

The action and goals continued to flow after the break, with Leicester twice getting a foothold in the match and Arsenal twice swiftly striking back. First, an own goal from the otherwise impressive William Saliba (53) was countered two minutes later by an equally bad blunder from Leicester ‘keeper Danny Ward, which allowed Jesus to tee up Granit Xhaka to sweep in. And then James Maddison’s drive (74) was followed within 60 seconds by Gabriel Martinelli’s second of the season.

Granit Xhaka is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring Arsenal's third goal
Granit Xhaka is mobbed by his teammates after scoring Arsenal’s third goal

Arsenal could easily have scored more – Xhaka and Jesus hit the woodwork in either half – but two wins from two builds their early-season confidence, while Leicester – who have only signed back-up ‘keeper Alex Smithies in the transfer window – were again exposed by a set-piece and looked in need of additions.

Player ratings

Arsenal: Ramsdale (6), White (7), Saliba (6), Gabriel (7), Zinchenko (7), Partey (7), Xhaka (8), Saka (7), Odegaard (7), Martinelli (8 ), Jesus (8)
Subs: Tomiyasu (6), Tierney (6), Nketiah (N/A), Smith Rowe (N/A)

Leicester: Ward (4), Fofana (5), Evans (5), Amartey (5), Justin (6), Ndidi (6), Tielemans (6), Castagne (6), Dewsbury-Hall (6), Maddison (7), Vardy (5).
Subs: Praet (6), Daka (6), Iheanacho (7)

Man of the Match: Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal)

How Jesus became the new Arsenal star

The heatwave had little impact on a fast, frantic match, which almost began with an opening goal from Wesley Fofana, who forced a good save from Ramsdale after nicking the ball off Xhaka.

From then on Arsenal took control for much of the half, with Jesus glancing Martinelli’s free-kick into the side-netting and Xhaka striking the woodwork with a header from Bukayo Saka’s centre, before Jesus’ 12-minute double either side of the drinks break took his tally against Leicester to seven goals in eight Premier League appearances.

Gabriel Jesus celebrates his second goal at the Emirates
Gabriel Jesus celebrates his second goal at the Emirates

The incident-packed half concluded with Vardy’s penalty being scrubbed off after ref England checked the pitchside monitor and didn’t see enough contact between the forward and Gunners’ goalkeeper Ramsdale to uphold his original decision – and after a 15-minute breather the teams were at it again.

Team news

Arsenal and Leicester stuck with the same starting XIs they played on the opening weekend – and in Leicester’s case they named an identical squad.

Cedric Soares and the injured Reiss Nelson came out of the Gunners’ group, with fit-again Takehiro Tomiyasu and Emile Smith Rowe taking their spots on the bench.

A communication breakdown between Saliba and Ramsdale handed Leicester a lifeline, with the home support silenced as the Frenchman steered the ball back into his own goal. The Arsenal supporters were cheering again within a couple of minutes, though, when Ward got in a tangle with Fofana and spilled Martinelli’s high cross, allowing Jesus to prod the ball to Xhaka to sweep in.

After going 60 minutes without a shot of their own, Leicester came close to finding the net when sub Kelechi Iheanacho combined with Patson Daka, and Iheanacho linked up with Maddison soon after for the Englishman to drill a second Foxes goal through the legs of Ramsdale.

Set-piece: The good and the bad

Since the start of last season, no side has scored more Premier League goals from corners than Arsenal (15), while Leicester have conceded the most such goals in the competition in that time (17).

This time Arsenal had to wait less than 60 seconds for a response, with Martinelli working space for a left-foot shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box after being picked out by Jesus.

Jesus almost grabbed his hat-trick as Arsenal finished on top, hitting a post from a tight angle, but by then he’d already shone in the sunshine and claimed his role as a new Gunners hero.

Jesus’ dream home debut for Arsenal

What’s next?

Arsenal got to Bournemouth live on Sky Sports for Saturday Night Football next weekend, kick-off 5.30pm. Leicester host Southampton at 3pm on Saturday.