Gabriel Martinelli scored in a second successive Premier League game as his early double saw Arsenal past an injury-hit Leeds, winning 4-1 at Elland Road.
It was the only Premier League game to go ahead on Saturday after Aston Villa’s match against Burnley was postponed due to a number of positive Covid-19 tests, and it was an entertaining encounter.
Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa had told Sky Sports before the game that he had seven defenders missing, and their absences showed as Arsenal overran their hosts in the first half.
The Arsenal focus continues to be on the absence of former captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but as they had shown in their last two games against Southampton and West Ham, the Gunners are not struggling for goals as Martinelli scored twice in under half an hour.
The first saw the 20-year-old fire home a loose ball (16), before a superb chip over Illan Meslier (28) added his second. Bukayo Saka (42) contributed with Arsenal’s third just before the break, squeezing the ball home on a tight angle.
Leeds were improved after the break – although their first shot on target did not come until the 72nd minute – and gave themselves a lifeline when Joe Gelhardt was hacked down by former Leeds loanee Ben White inside the area.
Raphinha smash the penalty home (75), but Arsenal soon wrapped up the points with a superb finish from substitute Emile Smith Rowe (84).
The result guarantees Arsenal a spot in the top four over Christmas with a number of games postponed this weekend, sitting four points clear of West Ham in fifth. Leeds also remain in 16th, five points clear of the bottom three, although the teams below them do hold games in hand.
More to follow…
Live EFL Cup
Tuesday 21st December 7:00pm
Leeds visit Liverpool in the Premier League on Boxing Day; kick-off 12.30pm.
Arsenal host Sunderland in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports Football; kick-off 7.45pm. The Gunners return to Premier League action at Norwich on Boxing Day; kick-off 3pm.