IF YOU can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, then you’ll end up in the Champions League my son.
And while all the other contenders for fourth place are discarding points like confetti, relentless Arsenal are ploughing unerringly towards the finishing line.
Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey broke the deadlock with a fine header in the 11th minuteCredit: AFP
Partey celebrates his goal against Leicester after getting on the end of Gabriel Martinelli’s cornerCredit: Getty
The last time they won five League games in a row at the end of last season, it was utterly meaningless as they limped home in eighth.
But now they are masters of their own destiny after another priceless victory carried them a giant step closer towards their ambitions.
No team has managed more Premier League points these past three months than Arsenal and even their sceptical supporters are starting to believe again.
Yet no-one would have predicted that it would be Thomas Partey and Alex Lacazette who would supply the goals to see off sorry Leicester.
Lacazette put the Gunners 2-0 up as he fired his penalty into the top left cornerCredit: Reuters
Lacazette wheeled away in delight after scoring his fourth Premier League goal of the seasonCredit: AFP
Partey’s finishing has been so poor that even manager Mikel Arteta has been joking about the danger to the fans behind the goal whenever the £45million midfielder lets fly.
And captain Lacazette had only found the target three times all season in the Premier League before his empathic penalty put this game to bed.
It says everything about the kind of season that Leicester are having that they are saving themselves for the Europa Conference League.
But the makeshift team sent out by Brendan Rodgers all but confirmed that Thursday’s trip to Rennes is now his priority.
And the fact that Partey’s finishing had previously been such a running joke only rubbed salt into those Leicester wounds.
Arsenal have become so used to opponents defending as though their lives depended on it that it took them a while to realise that Leicester’s back four were anything but impenetrable.
But as soon as the penny dropped they were all over the visitors like a rash as they piled forward to take advantage.
Gabriel Martinelli was thwarted twice in the first eight minutes, first by Ricardo Pereira and then by Kasper Schmeichel, before Bukayo Saka’s shot was blocked by Daniel Amartey.
So while it was no great surprise when Arsenal took the lead after 11 minutes, the identity of the scorer certainly was.
Martinelli’s corner to the near post caught Leicester rooted to the post as Partey was allowed to run away from Luke Thomas to beat Schmeichel with a glancing header.
It was the 20th set-piece goal Leicester have conceded in the League this season and the 12th directly from a corner.
No wonder Brendan Rodgers could only shake his head in disgust as his team’s Achilles heel was exposed once more.
Aaron Ramsdale made a smart stop to deny Harvey Barnes midway through the first halfCredit: Getty
Ramsdale again denied Barnes in the 36th minute with a wonder save to keep out his headerCredit: AFP
Yet the Ghanaian goal machine wasn’t finished yet and he almost doubled Arsenal’s lead in the 18th minute with a beautifully struck effort from the edge of the area which thumped the angle of post and bar.
Saka thought he should have had a penalty when he was bundled over in the box by a combination of Caglar Soyuncu and Nampalys Mendy, although VAR Darren England wasn’t remotely interested.
And the effort Arsenal had put into all that attacking almost came back to bite them midway through the first-half when they were caught on the counter by Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s ball over the top.
But Harvey Barnes was unable to beat Aaron Ramsdale from a tight angle before James Maddison was denied by a Ben White’s last-ditch tackle.
Kelechi Iheanacho was booked for an off the ball hand into the face of Gabriel Magalhaes, although the way the Arsenal defender reacted you could have been forgiven for thinking he was in need of CPR.
And it took a world class save from Ramsdale to keep out Barnes’ 35th minute header and deny Leicester an unlikely equaliser.
Ramsdale had already stunned Leicester with an incredible double save from James Maddison and Jonny Evans during his team’s 2-0 win at the King Power in October.
This was one was every bit as good from the flying Arsenal keeper.
Arsenal were awarded a penalty after Caglar Soyuncu was judged to have handled Partey’s headerCredit: Reuters
Mikel Arteta’s side have leapfrogged Manchester United to go back into fourth spotCredit: Reuters
Like his England rival Jordan Pickford, Ramsdale loves to engage with the supporters and occasionally gets himself into trouble with his eagerness to be involved in absolutely everything.
But no-one can question his value to Arsenal’s top four push when he is capable of pulling off match-winning saves like this.
Because if Arsenal had conceded then it would have made the final 55 minutes a far more nervous affair for a team who are so adept at making life hard for themselves.
Instead they were able to see the game out with relative ease, helped by Lacazette’s 59th minute penalty to end his nine-match goal drought.
Lacazette was convinced he had scored the stoppage time winner against Wolves last month only for it to go down as an own-goal by Jose Sa.
But there was no doubting this one as he dispatched a thunderous spot kick into the top corner despite Schmeichel’s best efforts.
Brendan Rodgers’ men missed out on the chance to move into the top half of the tableCredit: Reuters
Once again Leicester had been undone by a set-piece, although it was touch and go whether this one was going to be awarded before ref Anthony Taylor finally pointed to the spot.
Lacazette’s close range effort had been brilliantly blocked by Schmeichael and when Partey got his head to the rebound it seemed for all the world as though Luke Thomas had cleared off the line.
But TV replays confirmed that ball had brushed the fingertips of Soyuncu on its way towards goal and after five minutes of VAR scrutiny Leicester’s worst fears were finally confirmed.