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Leeds vs Arsenal LIVE: Premier League result, final score and reaction tonight

Leeds 1-4 Arsenal: Gabriel Martinelli hit a double, with Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe also scoring with Raphinha’s penalty the consolation for the Whites

Michael Jones
Sunday 19 December 2021 10:02
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Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli’s double helped Arsenal ease to a dominant 4-1 win at Leeds United in the Premier League on Saturday.

In the only Premier League game to go ahead on Saturday due to a huge rise in COVID-19 cases among players, Arsenal blew beleaguered Leeds away with a blistering first-half display.

Having shipped seven goals at Manchester City in midweek, Leeds were repeatedly carved apart in the opening period, with Martinelli’s brace putting Arsenal 2-0 up inside 28 minutes.

Frustrations were palpable all round Elland Road as Bukayo Saka added a third for Arsenal three minutes before the break, with the scoreline not at all flattering for the dominant London side.

Leeds did threaten a late comeback when Rafinha converted a penalty 15 minutes from time, but substitute Emile Smith Rowe’s late goal put the game beyond the hosts.

Arsenal’s third league success in a row consolidated fourth spot in the standings, while Leeds‘ second successive hammering left them down in 16th, five clear of the drop zone, but having played three more games than Burnley in 18th.

“I am very happy with the performance, the week that we had, and the way we are moving forward,” Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta said.

“It is always difficult to play against Leeds. They didn’t give up on the second half. I am pleased, it is not easy to play the way we did in this atmosphere. We made a real statement.”

Gabriel Martinelli, right, scores his and Arsenal’s second goal (Mike Egerton/PA)

The visitors were well on top from the start against an injury-ravaged Leeds. Home goalkeeper Illan Meslier was forced into a fine save as the hosts’ defence still looked shell-shocked after their mauling at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

Saka should have scored from the rebound, but Arsenal did not have to wait long for the opener as Martinelli, leading the line in place of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who was again left out for a disciplinary breach, arrowed a shot into the top corner.

The Gunners continued to dominate, with Scotland full back Kieran Tierney forcing another fine save out of Meslier, before the hosts mustered their first attack as Rafinha fired wide.

Martinelli, whose Arsenal career has been plagued by injury, made it two after brilliantly latching onto Granit Xhaka’s through pass and lofting the ball over Meslier.

Saka’s goal had an element of fortune about it as a deflection took it past Meslier whose performance ensured it was only three at the break.

Arsenal’s 11 shots on target in the first half is the most in the opening 45 minutes by any side in a single Premier League match since 2003-04, when Opta started collecting such stats.

Leeds improved in the second half and deservedly got a lifeline when Ben White fouled Joe Gelhardt in the penalty area and Rafinha hammered in the spot-kick.

Without injured striker Patrick Bamford, however, Leeds lacked the firepower to complete the turnaround and Smith Rowe’s calm finish ended their faint hopes.

It was the first time Leeds have lost three successive league games under manager Marcelo Bielsa.

“There were more chances generated than the goals that they scored,” Bielsa said. “When we lost the ball in our own half, this increased the amount of chances they (Arsenal) could create.

“Always the support like the team received today is inspiring to us. It is not easy when a team has conceded 14 goals in three games. If the fans were not so supportive of me, I could understand it.”

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Arsenal’s youth can provide leadership Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang never did after Leeds victory

There is no football club which oscillates quite so relentlessly between abundant talent and comic self-sabotage as Arsenal.

Every time they appear to have pulled together a string of positive results and strong performances that could lead to a sustained period of progress, something seems to go ludicrously, laughably wrong at the worst time.

This week it was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back at it again, stripped of the club captaincy by Mikel Arteta for returning late from an unauthorised trip abroad just as the team was strengthening its grip on a top four place.

Why Arsenal’s youth can provide the leadership Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang never did

The Gunners secured a comfortable 4-1 win over Leeds United on Saturday to strengthen their grip on fourth place

Michael Jones18 December 2021 19:50
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Marcelo Bielsa on Sky Sports

Marcelo Bielsa spoke to Sky Sports post-match and explained how he saw the game play out. Most of the damage was done in the first half and Bielsa broke down where his team went wrong. He said:

Two different halves. The second half, we could have won it but the first half we could have lost it by more goals.

“The losses of the ball in our own half and centre of the pitch increases the offensive power of the opponent. To increase the amount of danger we can create, we need to recover the ball when they play out.

“They managed to take the ball off us when we were trying to build and attack and we couldn’t - that’s what explains the difference.

“We’re all used to playing together. We prepare ourselves with all the players.

“They prevented us from getting into their half with combination play. Through their recoveries and build-up of their play they created danger.”

Michael Jones18 December 2021 19:48
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Reaction from Martinelli

Gabriel Martinelli scored two goals in a man of the match performance for Arsenal. He spoke to Sky Sports after the game and said:

It was a very good result, it was away and it’s so important for the team. All the team played well, we are so happy with the work and the results as well.

“This is what Mikel [Arteta] asks of us, everytime we go into the final third we need to be dangerous. [Alexandre Lacazette] is so good, he always attracts the centre-backs and I have the chance to go in behind and we are doing it well.

“It was a great pass from Granit [Xhaka] and they were two good goals [that he scored].

“As I always say we have a young team but a very strong team, very strong players, you saw today Emile [Smith Rowe] came from the bench and scored another goal. I’m so happy for the team and for him as well.”

Michael Jones18 December 2021 19:41
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Leeds 1 - 4 Arsenal

Emile Smith Rowe has scored in six of his last eight Premier League appearances.

Michael Jones18 December 2021 19:33
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Leeds 1 - 4 Arsenal

Leeds have 16 points from 18 Premier League games this season, the joint-fewest they have ever earned from their first 18 matches of any league campaign, along with 2006-07 in the Championship (assuming three points for a win all-time).

Michael Jones18 December 2021 19:28
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Leeds 1 - 4 Arsenal

Arsenal’s youngsters come to the party again:

Michael Jones18 December 2021 19:26
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Full-time: Leeds 1 - 4 Arsenal

90+3 mins: Arsenal sow up the points. They’re going to be in the top four at Christmas. They now have a four point lead over fifth placed West Ham United and are only five points behind Chelsea in third.

Leeds slump to another heavy defeat. They’re leaking goals which could prove costly if they get pulled into a relegation battle.

Michael Jones18 December 2021 19:23
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Leeds 1 - 4 Arsenal

90 mins: Just the three minutes of stoppage time to end the game. Mikel Arteta will be very happy with the performance from his Arsenal team. The only mistake coming from Ben White’s tackle on Joe Gelhardt leading to the Leeds penalty.

Arsenal are heading for just their third away win of the season.

Michael Jones18 December 2021 19:21
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Leeds 1 - 4 Arsenal

87 mins: Robin Koch’s had enough. He clashes heads with Lacazette before cynically pushing Martinelli out of play on the right side. His actions result in a yellow card and Arsenal have a free kick in the wide area. It’s swing into the box and Gabriel heads it wide of the back post.

Michael Jones18 December 2021 19:18
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Jack Rathborn18 December 2021 19:17

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