A game started in daylight yet ended in darkness and with Arsenal fans near and far, happy. After a weird opening five minutes or so of little but sideways and backwards passing, Arsenal found their stride. Saka, ESR and debutant Ødegaard were playing well. Less than fifteen minutes gone in the game and captain Aubameyang opened the scoring. Xhaka played him through on the left and as the Leeds defence, their keeper too, expected him to shoot across the goal as he so often has, he beat the keeper at his near post.
Next up was a penalty shout for Arsenal as Saka appeared to be pushed over in the box. Attwell pointed straight to the spot. VAR, or rather Paul Marriner, had a word in his ear and after a check on the pitch side monitor, the decision was overturned. Yes, I too thought of the Wolves game.
Anyway, we did get a penalty when the young Leeds keeper faffed around with the ball at his feet in the box. Saka closed him down, he fouled Saka and this time, the penalty stood. Up stepped our captain to blast it into the back of the net. Well, the side of the net to be precise.
Two more goals came our way, one each side of the break. I thought we’d taken too many touches in the box but with Saka on the ball, things happen. His trickery and a Ceballos nutmeg on a Leeds player left Bellerin with a chance to score his first league goal of the season. He took it. Our fourth, Aubameyang’s third came after some nice work from ESR followed by a cross (cough) to the Leeds far post where our number 14 was lurking to head home for his first League hat-trick for Arsenal.
I really hope yesterday was a sign that the Aubameyang we’ve known in previous seasons to this one is back because if he’s not scoring goals, he’s a wasted selection. Once his first goal went in, his tail was up.
Bielsa had made a couple of changes at halftime. Off went Jack Harrison and Mateusz Klich on had come Tyler Roberts and Helder Costa. Leeds upped their game a bit, or we dropped ours but either way, we allowed Leeds a sniff of a recovery. Struijk wasn’t tracked on a Leeds corner and got the better of Luiz to head home and then soon after, Bellerin got caught out as Leeds played the ball inside him for Costa to run onto. His cross was subsequently prodded in by Roberts.
We survived a penalty appeal as Cedric used his body to ‘usher’ Bamford off the ball in the box and to be honest, I thought Attwell would give it. Although how could he after turning down the one on Saka earlier in the game?
I don’t think the first Mikel Arteta made did the team any good whatsoever. I feel like I’m constantly berating Willian, probably because I am but he offers the team very little. He runs around, looks busy but seldom does anything positive. ESR going off made a difference, Ødegaard the same yet we still rattled the woodwork on several occasions. Just like Leeds did at Elland Road.
The difference yesterday though was at the time of do so, we already had four goals in the bag. The job was done.
We now move on. To Rome.
See you in the comments.