Arsenal today extended their lead over bitter rivals Tottenham in fourth to four points today, following an entertaining 2-1 victory over Leeds United.
The hosts started in lightning fashion, with Eddie Nketiah opening the scoring at the five-minute mark after a dreadful mistake by Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier. Receiving a routine backpass, the French stopper then proceeded to take a poor touch which enabled striker Nketiah to capitalise and bundle the ball in for the opening goal.
It wasn’t long before the Gunners had a second, as Nketiah once again proved why calls are increasing for him to be given guarantees of a long-term future at Arsenal amidst his contractual situation. Gabriel Martinelli showed some good feet down the left flank, cutting back to the poacher who slid the ball home with his left foot from eight yards.
Leeds then went a man down on 27 minutes, as VAR indicated that a reckless tackle by Luke Ayling on Gabriel Martinelli was worthy of a red card.
Mikel Arteta’s men could’ve extended their lead even further, with Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli both going close either side of the half-time interval in North London. Despite being up against it for the majority of the game, Leeds managed to give themselves a fighting chance of securing an unlikely result on 66 minutes.
Junior Firpo flicked on a rare corner-kick for the visitors, which landed at the feet of the unmarked Leeds defender Diego Llorente who finished with the composure of a seasoned striker. Jesse Marsch’s men plugged away for an equaliser, however, were denied at the death when forward Rodrigo could only divert a late header into the grasp of Aaron Ramsdale.
Despite a nervy ending to proceedings for Arsenal, a win ensures that they can guarantee qualification to the UEFA Champions League and a top-four finish if they can beat Tottenham away from home next Thursday. As for Leeds, they drop into the relegation zone with just three games left to play and may rue their ill-discipline at times today.
MORE: Who will win Champions League? Liverpool vs. Real Madrid early final preview
Goals: Nketiah (5 mins, 10 mins) Llorente (66 mins)
Full-time: After a frantic finale the match comes to an end at the Emirates Stadium, where Arsenal have defeated Leeds 2-1 to go a point behind Chelsea in third. That’s all from us at The Sporting News, thanks for joining us and we look forward to seeing you again next time!
Three points ✅
🤩 A massive result at Emirates Stadium!
LET’S GO! ✊ pic.twitter.com/BxK7ZYk58a
Injury-time: Close for Leeds! Rodrigo glances a header into the palms of Aaron Ramsdale, agonising for Jesse Marsch and his men.
Injury-time: Arsenal make their final change, as goal hero Eddie Nketiah is replaced by Alexandre Lacazette. The Gunners look a little nervous as the game draws to its conclusion…
We’ve made our final change…
↩️ Eddie Nketiah
🔛 Alex Lacazette
COME ON BOYS! 👊
🔴 2-1 🔵 (90)#ARSLEE pic.twitter.com/C4gE0DZ3AL
Injury-time: Can Leeds find a late equalizer? They’ll have to do it in the next three minutes which is the allocated stoppage time.
85th min: Odegaard fires a tame free-kick from the edge of the area into the hands of the Leeds goalkeeper, a comfortable save for Meslier.
81st min: Arsenal beginning to get a hold of the game once again with lengthy spells of possesion, can they get another goal to clinch the three points in the last ten minutes?
79th min: Confirmation of a second change for Arsenal, as Emile Smith Rowe replaces Gabriel Martinelli on the left flank.
We’ve made a second change…
↩️ Gabi Martinelli
🔛 Emile Smith Rowe
🔴 2-1 🔵 (78)#ARSLEE pic.twitter.com/wHDs1gaVhr
74th min: Leeds showing signs of life as the match reaches its final quarter, though, Arsenal come very close to scoring as Odegaard strikes wide from just inside the area. Tense atmosphere at the Emirates Stadium.
68th min: First change for Mikel Arteta as Bukayo Saka departs for Nico Pepe, Takehiro Tomiyasu also picked up a booking someway during the proceedings.
The boss has made our first change…
↩️ Bukayo Saka
🔛 Nico Pepe
🔴 2-1 🔵 (68)#ARSLEE pic.twitter.com/lV6R4xrQJ9
66th min: GOAL! This wasn’t written in the script, Junior Firpo flicks a rare corner for the visitors on to Diego Llorente who sidefoots his volley home unmarked at the back post. Can Leeds record a famous comeback?
GGGGGOOOOAAAALLLL!!! DIEGO PULLS ONE BACK!!! 2-1!!! pic.twitter.com/j1gTLgf3ZB
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They couldn’t could they? 👀
10-man Leeds back in it! 🍿 pic.twitter.com/MuutTca8Fo
Only available in the UK
𝗟𝗜𝗙𝗘𝗟𝗜𝗡𝗘 𝗙𝗢𝗥 𝗟𝗘𝗘𝗗𝗦 ✅
First corner, first attempt, first 𝗚𝗢𝗔𝗟… Leeds are back in this. 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/ZyhMDct6Uj
62nd min: Another chance for the lively Martinelli, who puts his volley wide of the target
Another chance for Martinelli, slices it wide from inside the box. 2-0 on 63 mins. #lufc
59th min: Martinelli fires just over the bar on the volley after a superb team move, very unlucky not to be 3-0 to Arsenal.
56th min: Close! Gabriel Martinelli brilliantly cuts inside before firing a curling shot that has to be palmed out for a corner by Leeds goalkeeper Meslier, great work from the youngster and an equally commendable save.
52nd min: Gabriel Martinelli floats an enticing cross into the back post area which just evades Bukayo Saka’s head, Arsenal are getting closer to another goal after a bright start to the second half.
48th min: Odegaard teases brilliant ball into the box which is sliced by Koch into the hands of his grateful goalkeeper, not far away from a third for Arsenal.
46th min: We’re underway for the second half, with Leeds deciding to make another change at the interval as Bate replaces Klich in midfield.
Bate on for the second half. Looks like Klich has gone off.
Half-time: Gabriel Martinelli is coming into form at a great time for Arsenal, the Brazilian was arguably the pick of the bunch in a brilliant first-half display for the Gunners.
Gabriel Martinelli’s first half by numbers vs. Leeds:
8 duels won
4 take-ons attempted
3 take-ons completed
3 fouls won
3 touches in opp. box
2 chances created
He has now been directly involved in 🔟 Premier League goals this season. 💪 pic.twitter.com/S8Ml1LeKgB
Half-time: Arsenal lead visitors Leeds United 2-0 after a brace from Eddie Nketiah, Mikel Arteta will be hoping for more of the same in the second half as he looks to secure a spot in the top four of the Premier League.
Bossing it at the break ✊
🔴 2-0 🔵 (HT)#ARSLEE pic.twitter.com/00gK3rypTf
43rd min: Eddie Nketiah becomes the first Arsenal player to score two goals in the opening ten minutes of a Premier League fixture since Nwankwo Kanu, not bad company indeed!
2 – Eddie Nketiah is the second ever @Arsenal player to score twice in the opening 10 minutes of a Premier League match, after @papilokanu against Sunderland in October 2002. Steady. #ARSLEE pic.twitter.com/7x8Xmz4I9P
39th min: Arsenal take a promising looking free-kick on the right-hand side of the area after Bukayo Saka was halted by Junior Firpo, Odegaard’s shot smartly saved by Meslier before Llorente somehow scrambles clear.
34th min: Leeds look like they’re starting to lose their discipline here, as Klich picks up a booking for a late tackle on Granit Xhaka.
33rd min: Eddie Nketiah has been the difference for the hosts so far with two typically potent goals.
Eddie Nketiah has scored twice in a Premier League game at the Emirates for the very first time.
And it’s only taken him 10 minutes this afternoon. 😀 pic.twitter.com/YEQmRQ7279
29th min: Pascal Struijk replaces Joe Gelhardt to shore up the Leeds United rearguard after Ayling is sent off.
27th min: Red Card! Luke Ayling is sent off after VAR determines his challenge is worthy of an early bath. Raphinha is also booked for the visitors.
Red card – Luke Ayling is sent off
🔴 2-0 🔵 (27)#ARSLEE
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Leeds have fallen apart… pic.twitter.com/HR19u5fQax
25th min: VAR! Potential red card for Luke Ayling for serious foul play just after Saka shoots straight at Meslier
23rd min: Odegaard sees his low range centre cleared away to Cedric who blazes over the bar on the angle, total domination from the hosts.
18th min: Chance! Nketiah almost hooks a Gabriel Martinelli centre in from close range though just can’t make the final contact.
17th min: Arsenal defender Gabriel picks up a booking after a reckless challenge.
16th min: Arsenal is in total control of proceedings, creating numerous openings that have troubled the Leeds defence. The Whites can barely get out of their own half at the moment.
10th min: GOAL! Eddie Nketiah strokes home a second from inside the area after some fantastic wing play by Gabriel Martinelli, Arsenal on fire so far and look hungry for more!
GOAL Arsenal 2-0 Leeds (10 mins)
Eddie Nketiah strikes again and doubles Arsenal’s lead. What a start for the Gunners!#ARSLEE
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From bad to worse… 🤯🤯
Eddie Nketiah has a second for Arsenal and Leeds
are in real trouble here! 🔴
📺 Arsenal vs Leeds is 𝗟𝗜𝗩𝗘 on Sky Sports! pic.twitter.com/oYTfr4tt6i
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Nketiah at it again!
Arsenal double their lead inside 10 minutes. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/L77D8VJUJ1
5th min: GOAL! Eddie Nketiah capitalizes on a loose touch from Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier and bundles into the net from close. Huge goal for Arsenal, brilliant start for the Gunners!
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Eddie Nketiah takes advantage of an Illan Meslier howler to score against his former club! 🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/5b8mocZhX6
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LOOK AWAY, LEEDS FANS! 😭😭
A howler from Illan Meslier and it’s the worst possible start for the away side! 😬
📺 Arsenal host Leeds is 𝗟𝗜𝗩𝗘 on Sky Sports! pic.twitter.com/srlzJgTk1S
Only available in Australia
OH NO! A goalkeeping 𝒉𝒐𝒘𝒍𝒆𝒓 has put Leeds in the relegation zone! 😬
Eddie Nketiah couldn’t celebrate this one…
Stream #PLGoalRush LIVE, or on demand after, here 📺 https://t.co/Ab3lE4EED9#OptusSport #PL #ARSLEE #NORWHU #LEIEVE pic.twitter.com/ejWX8LaINy
1st min: We’re now underway at the Emirates Stadium.
5 mins to KO: Nearly time for the match between Arsenal vs. Leeds to get underway in North London, stay with us as we dive head first into the action!
10 mins to KO: Eddie Nketiah could be key for Arsenal today, as he starts his fifth game in succession up top for the Gunners. Could he come back to haunt Leeds? The 22-year-old spent some of the 2019/20 campaign on loan at Elland Road before being recalled in January 2020.
Eddie Nketiah trains ahead of Leeds United for Arsenal. 💪 pic.twitter.com/du7k844aOT
20 mins to KO: Kick-off is fast approaching! By the looks of things, The Emirates Stadium is in perfect condition for a game of football. Expect plenty of crisp passes.
The carpet is ready 😍#ARSLEE pic.twitter.com/9YPxvBLJ62
30 mins to KO: Luke Ayling makes his 500th career appearance for Leeds today at the Emirates Stadium vs. Arsenal.
👑 Congrats to @lukeayling_8, as he makes his 500th career appearance! pic.twitter.com/bvtGpkTRmm
45 mins to KO: On the flip side, the inclusion of youngster Joe Gelhardt is one that will excite the Leeds faithful. The 20-year-old has five goal contributions from 16 Premier League appearances this campaign, including a crucial 94th-minute winning goal against Norwich back in March.
50 mins to KO: For the Gunners, Takehiro Tomiyasu will need to ply his trade in an unfamiliar role of left-back today. Nuno Tavares is included on the Arsenal bench, signifying that this is a tactical switch by Mikel Arteta.
60 mins to KO: Both teams are in! Not many surprises from either side today in terms of personnel as both look to set their stall out to get a winning result today.
🚨 TEAM NEWS!
🏴 Holding at the back
🇪🇬 Elneny in midfield
🇧🇷 Gabi in attack#ARSLEE pic.twitter.com/VFRqBOWP8r
📋 Your #LUFC Starting XI! pic.twitter.com/WrnLs8CedG
1hr 10 mins to KO: A touching tribute before this afternoon’s match, as Leeds United man Stuart Dallas begins his recovery from a long-term fractured femur injury.
🙌 There’s only one Stuart Dallas! pic.twitter.com/TA3IRB2Ptx
1hr 15 mins to KO: The stage is set perfectly for an afternoon of football, with a beautiful sunny day in store at the Emirates Stadium.
Ready to go 💪
📍 Emirates Stadium#ARSLEE pic.twitter.com/oFRLm2EBzg
1hr 25 mins to KO: Not long now until the starting line-ups are announced for Arsenal vs. Leeds. We will bring you them as soon as we have them available.
1hr 30 mins to KO: Leeds will have their own aspirations of coming away from North London with all three points, in what would be a massive step towards securing their Premier League status. Tactically, Jesse Marsch will need to get it spot on to stop Arsenal in their tracks.
📍 Emirates Stadium, London pic.twitter.com/emkFQHszPV
1hr 45 mins to KO: Undoubtedly, today is a huge opportunity for the Gunners to take a step closer to achieving UEFA Champions League football next campaign. Can Mikel Arteta’s men deliver a crucial three points in front of their own supporters?
A chance to extend our streak against Leeds ✅
Can we take all three points today? 🤔
2 hours to KO: Welcome to The Sporting News’ live coverage of Arsenal vs. Leeds, as the Gunners aim to extend their lead over Spurs in the top-four race.
Arsenal lineup (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Cedric, Elneny, Xhaka, Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli, Nketiah. Substitutes: (Leno, Lacazette, Smith Rowe, Pepe, Tavares, Oulad M’hand, Swanson, Patino.)
Leeds lineup (4-2-3-1): Meslier, Ayling, Firpo, Koch, Llorente, Klich, Phillips, Raphinha, Harrison, Gelhardt, James. Substitutes: (Klaesson, Rodrigo, Struijk, Bate, Hjelde, Cresswell, Greenwood, Shackleton, Gray.)
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