A Christian Fuchs own goal and Eddie Nketiah’s poked finish gave Arsenal victory over Leicester City and set up a potential Carabao Cup fourth-round tie against Liverpool.
There was little Fuchs could do as Nicolas Pepe’s angled effort hit him after coming off the post and went in.
Nketiah settled the tie in the closing stages, stabbing in after fine work from substitute Hector Bellerin.
Earlier, City’s James Maddison hit the post on his first start of 2020-21.
Arsenal will play Liverpool in round four if the Premier League champions beat League One Lincoln on Thursday.
Wednesday’s result continued the Gunners’ impressive start to the season, during which they have won the Community Shield on penalties and secured back-to-back Premier League victories.
Manager Mikel Arteta made seven changes but still fielded a strong side, although there was again no place for Mesut Ozil.
The XI did include previously maligned club record signing Pepe, who was solid without being spectacular on Wednesday, but played a key role in the opening goal with a good run and persistence at the end of it.
Bukayo Saka again demonstrated his readiness for regular first-team action, while Nketiah remains a predatory finisher.
He almost scored with a chip that Wes Morgan headed off the line, before he did settle the tie by prodding the ball past Danny Ward from close range.
Ozil omission continues
Arguably just as interesting as those included by Arteta were those he left out of his side, including midfielders Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi.
Ozil has not been involved at all since the 2019-20 season resumed in June, having previously started every Premier League game under Arteta before lockdown.
When asked about the German’s ongoing omission, the Spaniard replied: “The team is evolving, you can see the level they are achieving.
“This is where we are at the moment. We want to evolve more and play better and compete better. We need to keep maintaining that.
“I’m really happy with the performance here, how difficult they’re making things for the coaching staff to select the squad.
“It’s very difficult every week, not just for Mesut but for some other players as well, to make the squad. Every week we try to pick the right players.
“I try to select the players that are, in my opinion, in better condition.”
Maddison impresses but City bow out
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers changed his entire first XI from the one that started the Premier League win over Burnley on Sunday.
Despite the defeat, there were some positives for him to take, chief among them the display of Maddison, who is still finding his feet after missing the last six Premier League games of last season with a hip injury.
As in his cameos in the Foxes’ league matches this season, he looked sharp in his attacking midfield role, regularly finding space and threatening to open up the Gunners defence.
His most striking contribution came near the end of the first half when he bought himself space on the edge of the box and spotted Bernd Leno off his line – but his curling, lobbed effort hit the post.
However, he could not influence the result, which was inevitable after substitute Ayoze Perez had headed a great chance wide just before Nketiah got Arsenal’s second.
“I think if we are going to lose a game, I would lose in that way in terms of the players showed good energy in the game,” said Rodgers.
“There were moments of quality in it and even though there were lots of players playing their first minutes of the season the cohesion in the team was very good.
“I’m obviously disappointed with the goals, that was the only criticism – it was two scruffy goals that we lost to.”
– Sept. 24, 2020 @ 08:25 GMT |