U23s Report: Arsenal 1-1 Leeds United

U23s Report: Arsenal 1-1 Leeds United

A point each on the final day.

Premier League 2

Arsenal 1 (Flores 33’)

Leeds United 1 (McGurk 69’)

Arsenal: Graczyk (GK), Walters, Lopez (Sousa 45’), Rekik, Dinzeyi, Azeez, Taylor-Hart (Ideho 85’), Henry-Francis, Biereth (C), Patino, Flores (Butler-Oyedeji 73’). Subs not used: Ejeheri (GK), Ibrahim. 

Leeds: Van Den Heuvel (GK), Shackleton, Hjelde, Kenneh, Mullen, Jenkins (C), McGurk, Bate, Joseph, Gray (Allen 85’), McKinstry (Miller 58’). Subs not used: Ombang (GK), Sutcliffe, Ferguson. 

Venue: Emirates Stadium

Referee: Daniel Middleton

Booked: Hjelde (Leeds)

Despite creating a number of chances throughout the match and being on top in most parts, Leeds United’s Under-23s were frustrated to leave the Emirates Stadium with a point in their final match of the campaign.

Andrew Taylor’s side were a goal down at the interval in this crunch match, but came from behind after Sean McGurk’s leveller. Further chances came, but Arsenal held out to keep the scores level meaning the Whites are relying on results elsewhere in the coming week. 

Leeds nearly had the perfect start and came close to opening the scoring within 30 seconds of the first half kick-off. Mateo Joseph broke forward and rounded Hubert Graczyk in the Arsenal net, only to see his left-footed effort then agonisingly cleared off the line. 

The early chance set the tone for the majority of what was to come in the half, Leeds chances that were coming close. McGurk and Stuart McKinstry both fired over the bar from in and around the penalty area, whilst Nohan Kenneh saw his long-range effort deflected wide. 

Joseph - who was linking up superbly with his teammates - then had another huge chance inside 20 minutes. He raced through one on one with the Arsenal goalie, only to see the home stopper come out on top by saving the forward’s shot. 

After the early flurry of efforts, Arsenal then came into the match and started to threaten. Marcelo Flores shot just over the bar with a curling effort, before then moments later he forced Dani Van Den Heuvel to make a good save, before the ball cannoned off Jeremiah Mullen onto the bar and over!

The warning sign was there from the Flores and the Arsenal winger did then go one better by opening the scoring on 33 minutes. Despite Van Den Heuvel making another good stop, the ball fell straight to Flores who had a simple finish to put his side ahead. 

Despite plenty of possession after the goal had gone in, no further chances of note came before the interval and that meant the Whites went in at half-time with work to do in the second period of the game.  

HALF TIME: Arsenal 1-1 Leeds United

The second half began in the same way the first did, with Leeds on top and creating chances. McGurk was looking lively and he forced the first save of the second 45 minutes with a strike on the edge of the box. 

Down the opposite end, Leo Hjelde continued to be alert to deny Arsenal a chance on the break, defending well alongside Kenneh, Jeremiah Mullen and goalkeeper, Van Den Heuvel. 

In the 69th minute of the match, the goal that Taylor’s side had searched for and had deserved form the get-go, finally arrived. Shackleton’s cross from the right was superbly turned home by the onrushing McGurk to level the scores up!

Just seconds after the restart, Leeds created another chance and only another top save from Arsenal’s impressive goalkeeper kept the score level, from Joseph’s powerful effort. A minute later, Joseph did find the net, but controversially the linesman’s flag went up to deny the striker who was deemed to be offside. 

Piling bodies forward in search of a vital winner, Leeds continued to dominate but Arsenal blocks and bodies on the line were denying them. Lewis Bate’s close-range shot was the latest to somehow be denied, again by the impressive Graczyk. 

More chances came and went, but following seven minutes of stoppage time, the Whites just couldn’t find another way through in North London and the whistle was blown meaning both teams had to settle for a point, despite an excellent display on the road. 

Results elsewhere will now determine who stays up and goes down, with attention turning to Chelsea’s final two fixtures in the Premier League 2 Division One battle to beat the drop. 

FULL TIME: Arsenal 1-1 Leeds United