Points shared at Elland Road after dominant Leeds United performance.
Leeds United 0
Leeds United: Meslier, Ayling (Rodrigo 70’), Koch, Cooper, Bamford, Alioski, Dallas, Raphinha, Harrison (Poveda 80’), Phillips, Klich. Subs not used: Casilla, Roberts, Costa, Struijk, Davis.
Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Tierney, Gabriel, Ceballos, Willian (Nelson 45’), Aubameyang, Holding, Pepe, Willock (Saka 57’) (Maitland-Niles 90’), Xhaka. Subs not used: Runarsson, Lacazette, Mustafi, Nketiah.
An entertaining draw was played out at Elland Road on Sunday afternoon. The 10-man visitors from North London have the woodwork and some vital saves from Bernd Leno to thank for today’s clean sheet, whilst coping with Nicholas Pepe’s second half dismissal.
For all of Leeds’ dominance and efforts on goal, they will be frustrated to have only taken a point from the match in what was a strong performance from Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
Leeds were boosted by the return of Kalvin Phillips - who was named in the starting XI - following the international break. Spanish international Rodrigo also returned, beginning the match on the bench.
It was 10 minutes into the first half before the first real effort on goal. A neat bit of play from Arsenal allowed Dani Ceballos to be free on the edge of the box, where he hit an effort narrowly wide of the post.
Back up the other end, the right end from Leeds’ point of view, Jack Harrison and Gjanni Alioski interlinked. The full-back burst into the box and cut the ball back for Patrick Bamford who saw his effort well saved by Bernd Leno.
In the 21st minute, Nicholas Pepe tricked his way down the wing and crossed into the middle. The curl on the ball beat everyone and clipped the top of Meslier’s crossbar and was then cleared.
A quick breakaway from Leeds released Alioski again down the left. He cleverly looked up and saw Raphinha on the edge of the box, playing the ball back to him but the forward’s effort curled wide of Leno’s right post.
Just a couple of moments later, Bamford forced another good save from Leno. A snapshot inside the box saw the Arsenal ‘keeper save well, after Luke Ayling’s deflected cross. The pressure was now building from the Whites and it was only another minute or two further on in the match before Stuart Dallas also went close, firing his effort wide from the edge of the box.
Both Mateusz Klich and Ayling had further efforts on goal before the whistle, with Pepe also curling a shot wide for the visitors, but it was goalless going into half-time at Elland Road.
HALF TIME: Leeds United 0-0 Arsenal
Mikel Arteta went to his bench during the interval, bringing on Reiss Nelson with Willian departing. Just four minutes into the half, Pepe would join his teammate in the dressing room by getting a red card, for head butting Alioski. Anthony Taylor didn’t see the incident but was left in no doubt after reviewing it on his VAR monitor and Arsenal were left with 10 men.
This forced the visitors into another change, Joe Willock going off for Bukayo Saka to enter the action.
Leeds were then camped in the opposition half, looking to create space to find the goal. Dallas was the first to test Leno, with a powerful left-footed drive that the ‘keeper turned behind for a corner.
On the 70th minute, Bielsa went to his bench to try and get his side a winner in the final 20 minutes or so, sending on Rodrigo to replace Ayling. Dallas dropped into the right back spot, with Rodrigo going central looking to break down the defensive banks of the 10 men.
With 10 minutes to go, the substitute very nearly did just that. Having come close with a thunderous shot just minutes before, Rodrigo this time went for placement and curled an effort against the Arsenal crossbar with Leno well beaten.
Ian Poveda was the next to be introduced from the bench, replacing Harrison. The winger instantly looked to make an impact when he cut inside and had a powerful effort saved by Leno.
In the next attack it was Meslier called into action. Saka was released one on one and attempted go around the Leeds goalie before hitting it, only to see his shot well saved and turned behind for a corner.
It seemed that whenever Leno was beaten, the post wasn’t. Poveda whipped in a dangerous cross which Bamford connected well with, having his header denied by the woodwork. It was to be deja vu for the Whites in the final minutes, as Poveda once again crossed well, only to see Raphinha’s effort strike the post this time.
Arsenal managed to see out the five added minutes of stoppage time and the match ended in a draw.
FULL TIME: Leeds United 0-0 Arsenal
Booked: Dallas, Cooper, Phillips (Leeds)
Sent off: Pepe (Arsenal)
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Venue: Elland Road