If all things are equal, Arsenal could have ended this exciting competitive feeling, fearing 476 minutes have passed since his last top goal from open play. Instead, they were relieved to leave on a point after Nicolas Pépé was rightly sent off six minutes after the break for a soft but illegal and thoroughly idiotic headbutt against Ezgjan Alioski and the reality is that there would have been more clinical opponents exploited.
How that game ended goalless is anyone’s guess, and Arsenal had their own openings despite what was teased towards the end of each half. But Leeds, who have faced the woodwork three times in the final stages, will think they should have won given the number of occasions it has cut through the visitors. back line.
Both sides had hoped to clear the fog of inconsistencies, but neither lineup looked completely familiar to them. In the injured Thomas Partey and the self-isolating Mohamed Elneny, Arsenal missed the colossus and the conscience of their midfield. Joe Willock got his first Premier League minutes of the season and added dynamism to the exterior to keep up with the hosts. Engine room.
Leeds were relieved on return after injuring their own fulcrum Kalvin Phillips, but found new value on a first start on the right wing for Raphinha signing in October. On the other hand, however, they created the first significant opportunity for the game and maybe Patrick Bamford could have used the chance better. Jack Harrison’s expertly timed pass led Alioski to the sideline and Bamford jabbed Bernd Leno under some pressure, but only six yards from goal, the ball in the arms.
A dozen minutes had passed, and Arsenal had already shown intent through a Dani Ceballos chaser flying past the post. The first half was predictably open, frayed and flawed, but full of good intentions. Both sides showed an appetite for landslides, but Leeds ultimately felt they should have moved on.
Arsenal’s best two moments were both due to further improvements from Mikel Arteta. The first Pépé to be called back to the starting grid and appearing on the left hit Luke Ayling and spun over a cross that hit the crossbar instead of diving under it. Then Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, selected as a center-forward among Arteta for the first time, was offered half the chance that ends the goal drought on a good day in hopes that he could be put back in shape. After good work by Ceballos, Pepe and Hector Bellerin and Leeds, he set about getting him to pay.
Bamford gave Leno a closer test in the half hour when he instinctively played volleyball after Ayling’s center awkwardly ricocheted off Gabriel. The goalkeeper, sometimes unsightly, saved with one hand to his right, but shortly afterwards saw a well-placed Stuart Dallas shoot over the gate. Leeds were now regularly overloading the wings and two minutes before the break a nice move ended with Mateusz Klich throwing an alioski cross from a position that looked much more promising.
Regular students of Arsenal’s work would have seen more ambition on their deaths, but the moments of lingering threat had come from Leeds. If Arteta had called for more aggression during the break, then Pépé’s lily livery interpretation was probably not what he intended. Alioski got out of the incident badly and collapsed dramatically at the minimal contact. But the point was, there had been contact at all. Pépé pressed his forehead into that of the Leeds left-back as the two rushed with the ball near the Leeds penalty area. A VAR review found the application deserved a red card, and while it was barely registered as an act of violence, it was a fatal flaw that doesn’t help Pépé’s reputation as one of the most flamboyant unsuccessful signings in top recent history.
Arteta immediately replaced Willock with Bukayo Saka. At first, Arsenal looked serene and Aubameyang got the ghost of a chance when he spun but failed to make a proper connection. Leeds took up to 64. Minute to restore their earlier sharpness, and when they did, Leno came to the rescue again by pawing away Dallas’ soaring drive.
They reopened Arsenal when Ayling lost control and wasted an attempt to punish his former club after Raphinha dropped the ball on a plate. Ayling was immediately replaced by Rodrigo, who announced his arrival. and Marcelo Bielsa’s intention to make such an offensive change? by cutting and shooting inches from the target. He repeated the trick for another 10 minutes, leaving Leno standing, but this time his effort bounced off the top of the bar.
The stage seemed ready for a late attack, but the Arsenal threat never entirely dissipated and they could have stolen it when Saka, sent away by Bellerin, tried to go around Illan Meslier but was foiled by the goalkeeper has been. ?? s game-saving block. Bamford still had time to stand against a post and Raphinha to cut himself upright so that Pépé felt mightily grateful.
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Arsenal F. . C.. . , Leeds United, Premier League, Mikel Arteta, Marcelo Bielsa
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