Leeds 1-4 Arsenal: 5 talking points as emphatic win strengthens grip on top-four place

Arsenal earned their third Premier League win on the spin, with a brace from Gabriel Martinelli and goals from Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe earning the Gunners a comfortable win over Leeds at Elland Road

Video Loading

Video Unavailable

Leeds United v Arsenal: Match in Pictures

Arsenal took full advantage of a decimated Premier League fixture list to tighten their grip on a top four spot with a 4-1 win over Leeds United.

The Gunners’ trip to Elland Road was the only top flight game remaining on Saturday, following a raft of postponements due to Covid-19 outbreaks up and down the land.

With the two sides immediately below them out of action, Arsenal knew a victory would see them move four points clear of West Ham in fifth.

Bukayo Saka could have put the visitors in front after just three minutes, although he contrived to fire wide with the goal gaping.

JOIN THE DEBATE! Will Arsenal finish in the top four this season? Let us know in the comments

Arsenal strengthened their grip on a top-four place after thumping Leeds United at Elland Road

But Mikel Arteta’s side didn’t have to wait too long for an opener, with Gabriel Martinelli scoring 16 minutes in.

Raphinha almost equalised following a ball in behind, before Martinelli doubled the Arsenal lead just before the half-hour mark.

And it was three on the stroke of half-time when Bukayo Saka started and finished a move to fire past Illan Meslier.

Leeds were gifted a route back into the game when Ben White fouled Joe Gelhardt in the box with 17 minutes remaining, with Raphinha getting the hosts on the board from the spot.

However, they failed to build on that with Emile Smith Rowe netting a fourth with just seven minutes to go to guarantee his side the three points.

Here are the talking points from an impressive win for Arsenal at Elland Road:

Away day woes eased

Less than two weeks after wilting in the face of a hostile Goodison Park crowd, Arsenal’s young guns had the chance to prove lessons were learnt.

And just as they did on Merseyside, they took the lead in the first half to help silence a raucous home support.

Leeds had a golden chance to hit back when Raphinha fired wide, but from the point of that miss, Arsenal never looked like losing any points.

Raphinha’s penalty raised hopes but the Gunners managed to negotiate the final 15 minutes, something they desperately failed to do against the Toffees.

Arsenal haven’t always been at their best on the road this season, but this was a classic away performance.

Martinelli makes his point again

Gabriel Martinelli continues to show his worth to Mikel Arteta

He’s been made to wait for it, but Martinelli is grabbing his chance in the Arsenal starting XI with both hands.

His continued omission was the source of so much frustration in the opening weeks of the campaign and his form in recent weeks has fully backed up those shouts.

Martinelli now has four goals and two assists in his last six league games and has become indispensable to Arteta’s squad.

Brazilian legend Ronaldinho once compared his compatriot to Ronaldo, while that may be slightly biased, Il Fenomeno would have been impressed with his two finishes at Elland Road.

Arteta’s win becomes more emphatic

Arteta saw his side win for the third time in the space of eight days

It was a big win on the field for Mikel Arteta, but his victory in the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang situation becomes more profound with every passing game.

Since he was stripped of the armband Arsenal have a record of played three and won three, with the goals finally starting to flow.

While Aubameyang continues to reflect on his own mistakes, the Gunners now look fresher, more dynamic and more dangerous.

It could prove to be the biggest decision in his tenure as Arsenal boss and the early signs are positive.

Captaincy credentials rated

While Arsenal continue to win and Lacazette’s place in the XI looks assured, it makes little sense to move the armband from the Frenchman.

The biggest issue is how long Lacazette intends on being at The Emirates, with his contract set to expire at the end of the season.

Arteta is quick to laud his leadership group and results will have only strengthened his belief in the character of his young dressing room.

Alexandre Lacazette’s relentless work rate helped to create Martinelli’s opening goal vs Leeds

Granit Xhaka is another player named as a potential replacement, but the former skipper’s penchant for a rash challenge means he is always a risk.

On another day he would have seen red for his tackle on Raphinha and long-term an upgrade is still needed.

Instead it appears more likely that someone like Martin Odegaard or Kieran Tierney, who quietly and effectively went about their business in Yorkshire, could be the long-term option as Arteta’s on-field lieutenant.

Leeds’ struggles continue

Coming off the back of a 7-0 shellacking, the last thing Marcelo Bielsa needed was an injury crisis ravaging his squad.

The substitutes’ bench more resembled a who’s who of Under-23 talents but needs must.

While many other Premier League teams were given a reprieve this weekend, Leeds were forced to battle through their own selection issues.

It was another miserable night for Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa

But their starting line-up which so impressed in their first season back in the top tier, now looks leggy, lethargic and low on confidence.

There are of course mitigating factors, but sitting five points ahead of Burnley, having played three games more, they need to pick up points…and fast.

Read More

Read More

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.