Arsenal v Leeds United: Premier League – live! | Premier League

86 min Leeds, still pressing away, are praying for two things here: another juicy set piece for themselves, or a goal for Leicester against Everton. Arsenal are keeping the ball well without showing the ruthlessness that the situation demands.

85 min Arsenal take an age over the free kick and then Odegaard chips it straight to Meslier.

83 min Smith Rowe’s quick feet win a free kick just outside the D.

“Extremely unlikely that Arsenal will pip Spurs on goal difference or goals scored,” said Danyal Dhondy, before the Leeds goal. “Even if this game finishes 6-0, they would need Spurs to lose by 4+ goals against either Burnley or Norwich (that’s assuming that in the meantime Spurs beat Arsenal by a single goal, win their other game 1-0 and Arsenal draw against Newcastle and Everton). Other permutations are possible, but equally unlikely…”

81 min The commentators are discussing Odegaard. Alan Smith reckons he’s now worth double the £30m Arteta paid for him. “Doesn’t like a day off,” Smith adds, “always comes in.”

78 min Smith Rowe finally gets a go as Martinelli goes off, to a well-earned round of applause. Arsenal’s second goal was nearly all down to him.

74 min Jack Harrison, Leeds’ man of the past month, makes a fine tricky run down the left, only to mess up the easy bit, a simple ball to Rodrigo. Arsenal then have their umpteenth shot – 17th, I suspect – as Odegaard screws a low shot just wide.

Jack Harrison gets away from Elneny.
Jack Harrison gets away from Elneny. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

73 min The team sheets are out for Man City v Newcastle, with Kieran Trippier back on the bench. Do feel free to join Rob Smyth for that one.

71 min Arteta makes his first change, but it’s not Laca or Smith Rowe who comes on. It’s Nicolas Pepe, replacing Saka, like-for-like on the right wing.

69 min Leeds are now playing with a bit of belief. As Alan Smith says, they’ve suddenly forgotten that they’re a man short. Tomiyasu goes into the book for felling James.

GOAL! Arsenal 2-1 Leeds (Llorente 66)

You what? Leeds get their first corner, there’s a neat flick-on and Diego Llorente is there, unmarked at the far post, to cash in with a crisp shot. That was Leeds’ first attempt!

Diego Llorente pulls one back for the away side!
Diego Llorente pulls one back for the away side! Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images/Reuters

65 min West Ham have a fourth at Norwich. Their goal difference is now 11, to Man United’s one. As a United fan, I have to say that if my team end up in the Europa Conference League, they will richly deserve it.

62 min Soares, at right-back, is getting so much space that he’s turning into Cedric Alexander-Arnold.His latest cross is chested down by Xhaka (I think) for Martinelli, who again misses the target. On the bench, Lacazette and Smith Rowe must be champing at the bit.

Gabriel Martinelli has a chance for a third for Arsenal.
Gabriel Martinelli has a chance for a third for Arsenal. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

60 min Martinelli, clean through, can’t quite bring the ball under control, so his shot loops over the bar. On the hour, Marsch plays his final card: Raphinha off, in case his yellow card turns red, and Rodrigo on. It’s hard to see it making much difference.

57 min Four corners in a row for Arsenal, who stand third behind Man City and Liverpool in the goals-from-corners table this season. But they don’t score from this lot: Leeds eventually get the ball away with a hoof from Struijk.

55 min Leeds manage half a minute of possession and win a couple of free kicks, but it’s all in their own half. Dan James and Granit Xhaka get into a bit of argy-bargy before Arsenal resume the attack and Martinelli draws a save from Meslier with a crisp shot. He’s been the man of the match so far.

51 min Leeds are hell-bent on damage limitation, getting all ten men behind the ball in a 4-3-2 formation. The latest attempt on goal comes from Gabriel, but he’s falling over and only gets half a foot on the ball, so Meslier has no trouble collecting it.

48 min A teasing curling cross from Odegaard on the right is inches away from a tap-in for Xhaka, of all people.

Granit Xhaka goes close for the home side.
Granit Xhaka goes close for the home side. Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images/Reuters

46 min Mateusz Klich, who picked up a yellow, has been taken off and replaced by Lewis Bate, who is only 19. A calculated risk from Jesse Marsch, who leaves himself with only one more card to play as his team get tired.

It’s 51 years today since Arsenal won the double. Charlie George, Bob Wilson, George Graham and the gang have been out on the pitch at the Emirates to mark the anniversary. Guess which of them is in the rock-star shades.

Charlie George, superstar.
Charlie George, superstar. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

Everton are still 2-1 up at Leicester, against the run of their whole season. And West Ham, bouncing back from the bitter end of their Europa League run, are 3-0 up at Norwich, so as it stands they’re three points behind Man United with a game in hand and far better goal difference.

“Good morning from Pittsburgh!” says Eric Peterson. “At this rate, when all is said and done, the relegation race ultimately may be defined by two rushes of blood to the head. One: Everton’s Jordan Pickford, as a result of using his face to save that point-blank shot from Antonio Rudiger last week. Two: Leeds’ Luke Ayling, making him not properly consider the wisdom of a two-footed sliding tackle into the ankles of Gabriel Martinelli.” Yes, it’s all gone a bit Coldplay.

HALF-TIME! Arsenal 2-0 Leeds

Here endeth the half from hell for Leeds. As things stand, they’re in the bottom three and down to ten men. Arsenal are on easy street, four points above Spurs and just one behind Chelsea, with all three having played 35 games. Eddie Nketiah has both goals and will kick himself if he doesn’t finish with four. Time for a cup of tea.

Eddie Nketiah
Photograph: Javier García/REX/Shutterstock

45+3 min Leeds’ forwards are still pressing, but it was hard enough when they had 11 men on the field. Arsenal ease their way up the other end, where some intricate stuff leads to Odegaard’s shot-cum-cross being deflected over the bar.

45 min Arsenal’s back four are a bit bored, passing it around at walking pace, but the forwards are still showing plenty of spark. As the board announces four added minutes, Saka wins a free kick on the halfway line.

42 min “I thought Brighton-Manchester United was one-sided,” says Alan Smith, “but this is taking things to a new level.” Possession, allegedly, has been 60-40, though it feels more like 70-30.

40 min Xhaka plays a delicious through ball to Martinelli, who comes close to nutmegging Meslier, though it wouldn’t have counted because of offside. And then Odegaard almost scores with a free kick, thumped into the middle of the goal, where Meslier palms it upwards.

“Would need a wonky series of results to matter,” says Zach Neeley, “but Arsenal could look at making a big dent in Spurs’ goal-difference lead now.” True, and not that wonky – they’re now five behind. They’ve already had ten shots today, to Leeds’ none.

Leeds United
Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images/Reuters

37 min “Leeds playing like it’s 2016,” says The Stellarossa on Twitter. “Mis-passes and man buns.”

34 min Another yellow for Leeds as Mateusz Klich becomes the next player to recreate the Seventies, slamming into Granit Xhaka from behind. They are losing their heads along with the match.

33 min Leeds’ afternoon goes from abysmal to worse as Everton score again at the King Power. They’re not supposed to be able to play away from home!

Everything’s coming up Lamps at the King Power as Everton lead Leicester.
Everything’s coming up Lamps at the King Power as Everton lead Leicester. Photograph: James Williamson/AMA/Getty Images

30 min Raphinha’s show of dissent has brought Leeds a dubious distinction: the all-time record for most yellow cards in a PL season. They’re on 95, beating Sunderland’s 94 in 2014-15. Norman Hunter would be proud of them.

29 min Marsch takes Joe Gelhardt off and sends Pascal Struijk on, so bang goes the idea of Leeds treating attack as the best form of defence.

RED CARD! Luke Ayling (Leeds) 27

The ref, Chris Kavanagh, goes to the monitor and yes, it’s a red. Plus a yellow for Raphinha for arguing about it.

Yes, that’s a red card. Luke Ayling is off.
Yes, that’s a red card. Luke Ayling is off. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

25 min Luke Ayling takes out Martinelli near the corner flag, like something from the 1970s. He gets a yellow, but it looks very much like a red…

“Best teams?” says Cian O’Mahony, answering my question from the 14th minute. “Yes. It’s not that long ago, is it?” Only 52 years.

This is surely a red card.
This is surely a red card. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

23 min Soares releases Saka with a chip down the right and it would be 3-0 if anyone had been there to tap in Odegaard’s cut-back.

20 min Leeds have a good spell! Dan James, playing as a No 10 today, sneaks into the Arsenal box and then Leeds keep the ball for a whole minute before Raphinha’s left-footed cross sails past the far post.

18 min Nketiah can sniff a hat-trick here. He just fails to get a hooked volley on the end of a curling cross from Martinelli.

15 min It’s still one-way traffic. Meanwhile we have an email! “What do you think is the low bar for not celebrating?” asks Norrie Hernon. “I didn’t think 6 months on loan was sufficient.” Ha. At the risk of being dull, I’d say it was up to the player and how much his old club means to him.

14 min When Leeds lose, they tend to lose big. But there’s a glimmer of good news for them – Leicester have equalised, so Leeds have just gone back to 17th, one point above Everton. Anyone else old enough to remember when Leeds and Everton were the top two teams in England?

GOAL! Arsenal 2-0 Leeds (Nketiah 10)

Another one for Nketiah! Made by Martinelli, who wriggles past three defenders and plays a neat cut-back. Nketiah has only to tap it in with his left foot, like Son at Anfield last night.

It’s two for Nketiah as he doubles Arsenal’s lead.
It’s two for Nketiah as he doubles Arsenal’s lead. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA

7 min To add insult to incompetence for Leeds, Everton have just gone ahead at Leicester. As it stands, Leeds are in the bottom three.

GOAL! Arsenal 1-0 Leeds (Nketiah 5)

Calamity for Leeds! Meslier dawdles on the ball and Eddie Nketiah basically scores with a tackle. He declines to celebrate against his old club.

Oh dear...
Oh dear… Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

3 min The free kick hits the wall and balloons up, ending in Meslier’s arms. Leeds get up the other end as Raphinha out-runs Tomiyasu, but nothing comes of it.

2 min Bukayo Saka runs onto a long ball and wins a free kick. Odegaard fancies this…

1 min A scruffy start as Gabriel hits a sideways pass out of play. It was aimed at Soares, who is at right-back with Tomiyasu on the left.

The sun is shining on North London. I should know: I’m just down the road, and my wife is in the stands. Reader, I married a Gooner.

Leeds fans’ thoughts are with Stuart Dallas, who has a broken leg. This is the first league game he’s missed since Leeds returned to the Prem.

Mikel Arteta is less forthcoming. Asked why he has swapped Tavares for Soares, he burbles something about every game being different and leaves us none the wiser.

Jesse Marsch is talking to Sky. “We just want to make sure,” he says, “that we play brave.” He notes that Arsenal have changed a few things – the sound of a man who has spent the week studying the Elneny-Nketiah axis.

Teams: Leeds

Jesse Marsch makes two changes from the XI that lost 4-0 to Man City. Dan James and Joe Gelhardt, who both came on as subs then, start today, replacing Pascal Struijk and the injured Stuart Dallas. It’s a more attacking side, which suggests that Marsch is eyeing all three points.

Leeds (4-2-3-1) Meslier; Ayling, Llorente, Koch, Firpo; Phillips, Klich; Raphinha, James, Harrison; Gelhardt.

Subs Klaesson, Hjelde, Bate, Struijk, Shackleton, Cresswell, Greenwood, Gray, Rodrigo.

Teams: Arsenal

Mikel Arteta’s line-up is as expected, except that Nuno Tavares gives way to Cedric Soares at left-back. If Tavares is fit, it seems a bit harsh after he opened the scoring against Man United.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1) Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Soares; Elneny, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Nketiah.

Subs Leno, Tavares, White, Oulad M’hand, Lokonga, Patino, Smith Rowe, Pépé, Swanson, Lacazette.

Preamble

Afternoon everyone and welcome to the battle for fourth in the Premier League – fourth from top, where Arsenal are sitting pretty, and fourth from bottom, where Leeds are feeling fretful. Arsenal should be in a simple two-horse race for the last Champions League place with Spurs, although Chelsea seem determined to turn it into a twisted love triangle. Meanwhile Leeds are the processed cheese in a Greggs sandwich between Everton and Burnley, and if it all comes down to goal difference they’re doomed.

Leeds can hardly expect to win here after crashing to a 4-1 defeat in the reverse fixture, but they have to make sure they fare no worse than Everton do today at Leicester. Thanks to Jesse Marsch and the new-manager bounce, Leeds’ form has actually been better than Arsenal’s over the past six games (11 points to nine). But it’s been worse over the past three, as Arsenal have come roaring back from three perplexing defeats with crucial wins over Chelsea, Manchester United and West Ham. As the third-best home team in the league, they should sweep Leeds aside, but they may be distracted by the fact that they have a far bigger occasion on Thursday – Spurs away.

Kick-off is at 2pm (UK time), and I’ll be back soon with the teams. In the meantime, do join Rob Smyth to see if Arsenal can win one league this season.

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