3️⃣ points as luckless Leeds share spoils with lacklustre Arsenal

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OneFootball

Padraig Whelan

Article image: 3️⃣ points as luckless Leeds share spoils with lacklustre Arsenal

Leeds United and Arsenal shared the points at Elland Road on Sunday night in a game the home side will feel aggrieved not to have won.

Premier League

Leeds United
Arsenal

This is what we made of it.


How’s your luck?

Marcelo Bielsa will certainly be the happier of the two men in charge after this one, based on performances at least.

While Mikel Arteta will undoubtedly be relieved to escape with a point after Nicolas Pépé’s red card, he’ll know only too well that they could have easily left with nothing.

His side’s problems in attack were on show again even if they brightened a little late on (more on that later) and could potentially have had a penalty for handball.

But Leeds finished much stronger than them in each half and were undoubtedly the better team on the balance of play.

In fact, but for a little bit of luck going against them with Rodrigo, Patrick Bamford and Raphinha all striking the woodwork in the closing stages, they would have had the win they deserved.

Even in a 0-0 draw, this team find ways to entertain you!


Senseless stupidity

Arsenal were already struggling in attack, having failed to manage a single shot on target in the first half and into the second.

The last thing they needed was an attacker displaying inexplicable stupidity, which Nicolas Pépé did in getting himself sent off for a headbutt on Ezgjan Alioski.

Although the contact was light and the reaction a little embarrassing, it was a red card nonetheless – and an utterly needless one at that. One his manager branded ‘unacceptable’ afterwards.

He has done little to justify his massive price tag yet and behaviour like this will do nothing to ease the frustrations fans are feeling with him.

Frustratingly for Mikel Arteta (or perhaps it is a relief given how the winger has performed), he’ll now miss games against Wolves and Burnley as well as a north London derby sandwiched between them.

It also shifted the spotlight away from another anonymous showing from Willian, who was hooked at half-time. Maybe he’s one team-mate who’ll not be too upset with Pépé’s actions.


Big Saka worry

Bukayo Saka was only on the pitch for 33 minutes at Elland Road.

Bukayo Saka was also Arsenal’s best player at Elland Road.

With Pépé and Willian’s struggles highlighted above, the youngster put them to shame with his showing when he came off the bench.

Despite the Gunners having 10 men, they always looked a threat any time he moved off the ball or darted forward with it and he came so close to scoring from a fine Hector Bellerín pass too.

Which makes him losing to injury just before the close of play a massive worry for Arteta, particularly with a huge derby on the not-so-distant horizon.

The intelligence and quality he displays for someone who is still just 19 and with little over 50 senior games under his belt is breathtaking.

It can only be hoped his injury sin’t a serious one, particularly in a week when he had to discuss that very issue surrounding potential overuse in his developing years.