Where to start? The 100th penalty in ten games for Kane on Saturday, the 2-0 Chelsea victory over Everton or the shock 1-0 defeat of Man City by Liverpool? None of the above as there’s only one real place of interest and that’s Elland Road. A match which saw Arsenal beat Leeds 1-0. A match which but for VAR, we’d have probably lost.
The game stopped no sooner than it started because of a power cut but 40 minutes later, all was well and the game kicked off again. Gabriel Jesus had a chance to put us ahead but his shot flew over the crossbar but when a similar opportunity fell to Bukayo Saka after a lovely through ball from Martin Odegaard, the net rippled and we were 1-0 up.
Leeds thought they’d equalised through Bamford but following a VAR check, the goal was ruled out for offside. William Saliba was the next to get ball to hand and Chris Kavanagh pointed to the spot after another VAR intervention. The offside wasn’t spotted though. Bamford dragged his spot kick just wide but Aaron Ramsdale had it covered anyway. Later in the game, Bamford gave Gabriel a shove in the back, Gabriel went over, his feet went up in the air and Bamford made sure he made contact with one of them and went to ground like he’d just been hit by Anthony Joshua. Kavanagh showed Gabriel a red card and pointed to the spot. VAR intervened again and the red card was changed to yellow, the penalty cancelled and Leeds Utd were furious. Why Bamford didn’t get booked for his involvement I don’t know.
I think in the first half, we had some great moments, some incredible plays where we should have scored two or three goals, and we didn’t. Then the second half, we started right from the kick-off in a really bad way. We conceded a goal that was disallowed, and we never got any momentum. We put ourselves in trouble in the first regulation, especially in build-up. After that we never got a real kick of the game and be able to impose ourselves. But that said, as well, the resilience, the character, the personality, and as well, that willingness that I saw there from the players to win again, is what I really love. – Mikel Arteta
Pundits often suggest that how Arsenal perform against the top teams in the league shows how good or bad the team is but I’ve never really believed in that. Certainly not when playing against the free spending clubs in the past because straight away, they have an advantage. How we play against the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and City on the pitch will always be relevant but there are fixtures which offer a different threat, a different hurdle to overcome and in my opinion, that is most of the Premier League clubs, certainly away from home.
Leeds were always going to be difficult to play against and hard to beat at Elland Road. This was a game when different qualities were on show. Digging deep, defending well, everyone giving their all and in every position on the pitch. Maybe there’ll be ‘people’ who think we got lucky, but did we really? We scored the only goal of the game and it’s Bamford’s fault he missed from the spot. That’s not luck, that’s his error and as said earlier, I’m convinced Ramsdale would have pushed the ball away for a corner had it been on target. Luck isn’t VAR overturning the red card/penalty decision, or disallowing Bamford his goal from open play, that’s just VAR doing their job properly. Paul Tierney doing his job well.
Arsenal did their job well too so credit to Mikel Arteta and every single player involved. I just hope they’re all walking without wounds this morning.
See you in the comments.