Leeds United v Arsenal Premier League Saturday 18th December 2021

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This was the only Premier League game of Saturday as games were getting postponed left, right and centre due to rising cases of Covid in the camps, some at really short notice. Games at Man United, Southampton, West Ham, Aston Villa and Watford all postponed on Saturday and Everton v Leicester postponed on Sunday as well as a few from the previous midweek round.
Leeds had 10 first teamers out for this one yet it went ahead somehow, Arsenal were finding form, so could Leeds end what has been a tough week for them on the back of conceding 7 at Manchester City on a high or would Arsenal increase the pain on Leeds?

It was played at Elland Road under the floodlights and the atmosphere at the start was incredible.

Inside the 1st minute, Leeds pressed Arsenal high and Dallas ran and won a corner which Raphinha headed over.

Two minutes later, Lacazette was in for Arsenal but Meslier saved well, Saka got to the rebound but went wide. A minute later, Odegaard played Partey in, but his shot saved by Meslier , then another save by Meslier as Tierney cut in from left and shot from 20 yards but Meslier got down well and saved.

After 11 minutes, Martinelli ran down the left and pulled ball back in box, Odegaard stepped over it but no-one there from an Arsenal point of view.

1st Arsenal goal
On the quarter hour, a deserved Arsenal lead as Leeds gave the ball away twice, Saka won the ball on right and bursted forward, he found Lacazette and a possible Leeds foul on edge of box was not given, then Forshaw in the box lost the ball to Lacazette who fired the loose ball home.
After 20 minutes, Raphinha shot from the halfway line but Ramsdale collected the ball easily.
A couple of minutes later, Odegaard cut in and had a shot blocked, then Tiereny was unmarked and shot towards bottom corner but Meslier tipped round the post.

Just past the midway point, a great Leeds chance as Raphinha ran from halfway down the left, he cut inside past two defenders but dragged his shot wide. Then at the other end, Partey’s shot from outside the box was saved easily by Meslier.

2nd Arsenal goal
Just before the half hour, Leeds lost the ball again, Arsenal won the ball in the centre circle and Xhaka played a nice through ball to Martinelli who raced into the box, held defender off and waited for Meslier to go down, and clipped it over him.
Just after the half hour, Roberts curled a shot wide from outside the box.
After 35 minutes, Leeds lost the ball again and Arsenal had a 4 v 3 but Lacazette’s shot saved by Meslier.

3rd Arsenal goal
Three minutes before halftime, another sloppy goal for Leeds to concede as they lost the ball again and eventually Saka put the ball into the bottom corner past Meslier and Leeds were falling apart again. Then, Odegaard’s shot saved by Meslier. Then just before halftime, another Arsenal shot saved by Meslier.

Halftime score: Leeds United 0-3 Arsenal
Another poor 1st half for Leeds, Arsenal were pretty good though and looked like scoring every time they went forward, what could Leeds do to stem the tide in the 2nd half?
After 47 minutes, Gabriel’s header from centre of the box was blocked, then Xhaka’s right footed shot from centre of box blocked.
Just before the hour, Roberts had a left footed shot outside the box was high and wide to the left.
After 67 minutes, Saka’s left footed shot from outside the box was blocked.

Leeds penalty and 1st goal

With just over 15 minutes to go, good play by Leeds ended with Gelhardt being fouled in box by White, referee awarded the penalty to Leeds, Raphinha stepped up and converted it well into the top corner, with a left footed shot. Was the comeback on or just a consolation?
Three minutes later, Roberts had a right footed shot from outside the box blocked, Summerville had a right footed shot from centre of the box high and wide to the right.

4th Arsenal goal
After 84 minutes, Arsenal broke quickly and Odegaard played a through ball to Smith-Rowe who had a right footed shot which went into the centre of the goal.
After 89 minutes, Gabriel’s left footed shot outside the box missed to the left.

Fulltime score: Leeds United 1-4 Arsenal
Another damaging defeat for Leeds and at the end of the game despite the result the fans were still singing We all Love Leeds , but that’s 14 goals conceded in the last three games against three top teams, so regardless of injuries or not that’s not great for Leeds United.
They remained in 16th place on 16 points after this match

Highlights of this game are at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3npefrB9pKU

On Monday afternoon, the 20 Premier League clubs were meeting virtually to discuss what next amid the rising covid cases at clubs, which saw only 4 of the weekends planned 10 matches go ahead. There is a chance that the games on 28th, 29th and 30th December get postponed but again where do those games get played on top of the others that got postponed too?

Next for Leeds is the final game of a horrible run of fixtures away in Merseyside at Anfield to face Liverpool on Boxing Day with a 12:30pm kickoff.


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