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BBC Sport's Ron Jones
"It was difficult to believe we were watching second against third"
 real 14k

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"We went for three points and we got them"
 real 56k

Leicester boss Peter Taylor
"Arsenal showed they were much better than us"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 26 December, 2000, 14:09 GMT
Henry hat-trick outfoxes City
Robbie Savage and Patrick Vieira
Patrick Vieira and Arsenal dominated proceedings
Arsenal 6-1 Leicester City

Arsenal got their title hopes back on track with a resounding home performance against a poor Leicester City side.

And Thierry Henry celebrated his 50th league appearance for the Gunners with his first hat-trick in a one-sided match.

Henry opened the scoring and when Patrick Vieira doubled the lead the Gunners seemed ready to run away with the match.

  Key incidents
33 mins - Henry breaks the deadlock
38 mins - Leicester forced to change formation
49 mins - Vieira scores his fifth of the season
53 mins - Akinbiyi brings Leicester back into the game
65 mins - Henry turns Elliott for his second goal
74 mins - Ljungberg is on hand to stab in the fourth
81 mins - Henry scores hat-trick goal
88 mins - Adams rounds of a thumping Arsenal win
Ade Akinbiyi's scrambled goal gave the Foxes hope but in the final 25 minutes they were swept aside by an Henry brace, a goal from Freddie Ljungberg and a final strike at the death by Tony Adams.

Highbury was subdued as the teams came out and the early football on offer did little to lift the crowd from their festive slumber.

Leicester set out their stall with men behind the ball as they looked to maintain their miserly defensive record away from home.

However Arsene Wenger had his charges in for Christmas Day training and the Gunners looked pregnant with purpose.

Pires threatened on the left flank and Henry was lively but the Leicester defence dealt comfortably with all that was thrown at them.

But aptly it was the two Frenchman who combined after 33 minutes from Arsenal's 10th corner of the game.

United have to drop a level and we have to be more consistent before I can talk about catching them back for the title
  Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

In an effort straight from the training ground, Pires swung a corner to the edge of the area where Henry was on hand to fire in through a forest of players.

Prior to half-time Leicester were forced into a change of formation.

Following a clash with Ray Parlour, Gerry Taggart made way for Steve Guppy but a 4-4-2 formation with Matt Jones in central defence did little to relieve the pressure.

Arsenal came out after the break intent on doubling their lead and within four minutes that target was achieved after another French double act.

Vieira ran from deep to met Henry's lay-off and, after scooping the ball over Flowers, was on hand to prod the ball into an empty net.

But against the run of play Leicester suddenly found themselves back in the game.

After failing to mount an attack in the preceding 53 minutes, Guppy sent in a floated free-kick from deep which the Arsenal defence failed to clear.

  Highbury defences
Arsenal - the goal they conceded was the first time their defence has been breached in over 600 minutes of football at Highbury
Leicester - prior to coming to Highbury they had conceded only five goals on their Premiership travels

Trevor Benjamin, a replacement for Stefan Oakes after Arsenal's second goal, climbed to meet the free-kick and Alex Manninger was only able to parry the ball into the path of Akinbiyi.

In four minutes the crowd had seen more entertainment than in the entire first half but it was a mere introduction to the action which followed.

The Gunners camped out in the Leicester half and, after earlier being denied by Flowers, Henry scored his second.

The Frenchman met Lee Dixon's chipped through ball before turning Matt Elliott and slipping the ball under Flowers.

Moments after coming on for Kanu, Ljungberg scored a fourth for Arsenal from another corner.

Igor Stepanovs, the Latvian defender making his first league appearance, headed an effort against the upright before the Swede pounced on the rebound.

Leicester's embattled defence were soon to be breached again as Arsenal bounced back from their mauling against Liverpool and Henry scored a deserved hat-trick.

It is the first time this season I've had to have a go at my lot for lacking self-belief
  Leicester manager Peter Taylor
The Frenchman sprung the off side trap and raced to goal before rounding Flowers and rolling the ball into an empty net.

Moments before the final whistle Henry turned provider.

Arsenal captain Adams had been prowling in attack for ten minutes before sweeping in the cross at the back post to the delight of the home crowd.

Much to the relief of Leicester followers the final whistle soon followed as the Gunners, orchestrated by Henry, pushed for a seventh goal.

Arsenal: Manninger, Dixon, Stepanovs, Adams, Silvinho, Pires, Grimandi, Parlour, Vieira, Henry, Kanu.
Subs: Ljungberg, Malz, Vivas, Lukic, Cole.

Leicester City: Flowers, Rowett, Impey, Taggart, Elliott, Jones, Robbie Savage, Oakes, Sinclair, Akinbiyi, Izzet.
Subs: Eadie, Guppy, Royce, Gunnlaugsson, Benjamin.

Referee: D Gallagher (Banbury).

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See also:

23 Dec 00 |  Eng Prem
Savage blow for Hammers
23 Dec 00 |  Eng Prem
Liverpool hammer Arsenal
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