Report: Leeds United 1-4 Arsenal

Report: Leeds United 1-4 Arsenal

Whites defeated at Elland Road.

Premier League

Leeds United 1 (Raphinha 75’ pen)

Arsenal 4 (Martinelli 16’, 28’, Saka 42’, Smith-Rowe 84’)

Leeds: Meslier (GK), Ayling (c), Forshaw, Koch, Raphinha, Roberts, Dallas, Harrison (Summerville 31’ (McCarron 82’)), Gelhardt, Drameh, Klich (Greenwood 78’). Subs not used: Klaesson (GK), Bate, Jenkins, Moore, Kenneh, Gray.

Arsenal: Ramsdale (GK), Tierney, White, Partey, Gabriel, Saka (Smith-Rowe 78’), Odegaard (Tavares 85’), Lacazette (c), Tomiyasu (Cedric 63’), Xhaka, Martinelli. Subs not used: Leno (GK), Holding, Pepe, Chambers, Elneny, Nketiah. 

Venue: Elland Road

Attendance: 36,166

Referee: Andre Marriner

Booked: Gelhardt, Dallas, Koch (Leeds) Xhaka (Arsenal)

An injury hit Leeds United side battled hard throughout against Arsenal at Elland Road, but the visitors showed a clinical touch in front of goal to take the three points back to North London. 

Arsenal went into the lead 16 minutes into the half. After Bukayo Saka had ran towards the penalty area, Alexandre Lacazette deflected the ball into the path of Gabriel Martinelli, allowing the striker to curl into the top corner. 

Roared on by the ever vocal support at Elland Road, the Whites went in search of an immediate equaliser. After winning the ball back high up the pitch, Raphinha looked to lob Aaron Ramsdale who was off his line.

A couple of minutes later the Brazilian would have a better chance. This time played through by Tyler Roberts, Raphinha controlled and ran into the box before dragging his shot narrowly wide of the post.

Illan Meslier remained busy himself down the other end though. He stopped powerful efforts from both Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey as the visitors looked to extend their lead. 

Arsenal did make it two with a quick counter attack, shortly before the half-hour mark. Granit Xhaka picked up a loose pass and in turn played Martinelli through on goal. The striker kept his composure to race into the box and chip the ball over Meslier to double the advantage.  

The Leeds United ‘keeper was called into action at point blank range five minutes later, as he saved superbly from Lacazette who had found space at the back post. 

Shortly before the interval, Arsenal extended the lead to three. Saka again was causing problems as he cut in from his right wing position to get into the box and eventually slotted home left-footed, via a big deflection.  

HALF TIME: Leeds United 0-3 Arsenal 

After Jack Harrison had been replaced by Crysencio Summerville in the first 45, neither team made a change during the interval and second half got underway at Elland Road.

The opening 15 minutes or so of the second period were relatively quiet in terms of chances, as the game had been stop-start due to free-kick opportunities being awarded. Yellow cards had been shown to Joe Gelhardt and Stuart Dallas in that time. 

Roberts had two efforts when the chances did arrive, firstly firing over and then into the arms of Ramsdale. At the opposite end, Saka went close when he shot across the face of goal. 

Just over 15 minutes were left in the clash when Gelhardt raced into the box and found Leeds a way back into the game. The forward skipped past the Arsenal defence and was brought down by Ben White, with the referee pointing straight to the spot. 

Up stepped Raphinha and the Leeds United top scorer rifled home the penalty into the top corner to reduce the deficit to two, and give renewed hope to his team.  

Both teams went to their bench after the goal, with Sam Greenwood and Liam McCarron making their Premier League debuts, in place of Mateusz Klich and Summerville. Emile Smith-Rowe replaced Saka for the visitors. 

Arsenal restored their three goal advantage in the final 10 minutes. Martin Odegaard broke forward with the ball and played in Smith-Rowe, who struck home inside the box to get the fourth goal of the game for his side and secure the three points in doing so. 

The Whites were supported from the stands until the very end, with the fans singing their team off the pitch well beyond the final whistle at Elland Road, having seen their side lose on home turf for the first time since September. 

FULL TIME: Leeds United 1-4 Arsenal