Footy Times

Arsenal beat Leeds to strengthen grip on top four

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On Sunday, Arsenal defeated 10-man Leeds United 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal got off to a flying start when Eddie Nketiah scored twice in the first 10 minutes, before Leeds went down to 10 men when captain Luke Ayling was issued a straight red following a VAR check just before the 30 minute mark.

Despite Mikel Arteta’s team dominating the game, Leeds equalised in the second half through Diego Llorente.

The result keeps Arsenal in the last Champions League berth, four points ahead of north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, while Leeds were relegated when Everton beat Leicester 2-1.

Arsenal came out strong and struck early, with Nketiah taking advantage of Illan Meslier’s failure to control a backpass to slip in and convert the ball into an empty net after just five minutes.

Nketiah, who spent the 2019-2020 season on loan at Leeds, extended Arsenal’s advantage on 10 minutes, turning a Gabriel Martinelli cross into the goal to become the first Arsenal player in 20 years to score twice in the first 10 minutes of a Premier League game.

After a VAR check escalated the yellow card originally handed by referee Chris Kavanagh, Ayling was shown a straight red card for a reckless two-footed challenge on Martinelli.

When Martin Odegaard fired a free kick from outside the area towards Meslier just before halftime, Arsenal were unlucky not to score a third. On the line, the goalie got a hand to it, forcing defender Llorente to clear under pressure.

The hosts pushed for another goal, but Leeds struck first after halftime when Llorente volleyed the ball past Aaron Ramsdale from their first corner of the game on 66 minutes.

Leeds gained momentum as a result of the goal and offered everything they had, with Jesse Marsch sending Meslier up into the Arsenal area twice in an attempt to score an equaliser, but the hosts held on to take all three points.

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