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PREMIER LEAGUE

Welbeck breaks Leicester hearts with late winner

The title race has been blown wide open again following Arsenal's late winner against ten-man Leicester at the Emirates. Vardy had put the Foxes ahead in the first half with a penalty.

Welbeck breaks Leicester hearts with late winner
GERRY PENNY EFE

Substitute Danny Welbeck scored a dramatic stoppage-time winner as Arsenal resurrected their Premier League title challenge with a heart-stopping 2-1 Valentine's Day victory over leaders Leicester City on Sunday.

Down to 10 men following Danny Simpson's 54th-minute dismissal, Leicester were clinging on at a tension-bound Emirates Stadium when Welbeck headed in a 95th-minute winner from Mesut Ozil's free-kick on his return after 10 months out with a serious knee injury.

Jamie Vardy sends Peter Cech the wrong way to put Leicester in front

The England striker's goal lifted Arsenal to within two points of Leicester and also gave hope to Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City, five and six points off the pace respectively, ahead of their meeting at the Etihad Stadium later in the day.

Welbeck's goal, after fellow substitute Theo Walcott had cancelled out Jamie Vardy's first-half penalty, saw Arsene Wenger's men complete a league double over Leicester following their 5-2 win in September.

Claudio Ranieri's men now have two weeks to regain their strength before resuming their improbable title bid at home to Norwich City, while Arsenal must prepare for contests with Hull City and Barcelona.

As half-time drew near Leicester went ahead, Vardy luring Nacho Monreal into a challenge and then tumbling to the ground before picking himself up and slotting his 19th goal of the season past Cech.

Danny Simpson receiving his marching orders from Martin Atkinson

Arsenal might have conceded another penalty when Riyad Mahrez threw himself to the deck after being nicked by Monreal, but referee Atkinson shook hs head. Instead their luck changed when Simpson was shown a second yellow card for tugging Giroud back, five minutes after his first for tripping Sanchez.

The two managers rearranged their teams for the final half hour, Ranieri sending on Marcin Wasilewski and Demarai Gray in place of Mahrez and Shinji Okazaki, Wenger throwing on Walcott for Francis Coquelin.

It was the Arsenal change that was to prove telling, Walcott equalising nine minutes after coming on by side-footing home after Giroud masterfully nodded Hector Bellerin's cross into his path.

Theo Walcott draws Arsenal level

It was Arsenal's first shot on target and their attempts to register another proved fraught.

Mertesacker glanced a header just wide and Schmeichel pulled off a pair of brilliant one-handed saves to thwart Giroud and Sanchez.

But with full-time beckoning, Welbeck rushed in to meet Ozil's free-kick with an unerring downward header, eclipsing Leicester's fairytale with one of his own.

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri indicates where he wants the Foxes to finish in the table