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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 November 2018

‘Sexy football’: Aubameyang stars as Arsenal make it perfect 10

Captain Mesut Ozil produced a majestic display to lead the Gunners’ impressive fightback

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scores their third goal against Leicester. Action Images
Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scores their third goal against Leicester. Action Images

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.

Ozil summed up Arsenal mood, tweeting after the match: “I think we played some sexy football tonight. Proud captain of this team.”

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.

“We are happy because we are progressing. We need to play with organisation but also we are beginning to play with heart,” Emery said.

“Today the performance of the team, and also of Mesut, was very good.”

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.

Emery isn’t getting carried away just yet, saying: “It’s important to keep calm and progress with every player. To continue winning is difficult.

“When you improve your demands are very high. We need to control matches more than we are doing now.”

Leicester boss Claude Puel was furious his side didn’t get a penalty for a first-half handball by Rob Holding.

“I am angry about this decision because the good work from my players was not helped,” he said.

Leicester’s spot-kick claim came 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 the 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.