Leeds United 0-0 Arsenal
Leeds are up to 14th place in the Premier League after dominating a goalless draw with Arsenal who remain stranded in mid-table.
As far as 0-0 draws go this was an entertaining affair and the hosts will feel unlucky not to have taken all three points. The early season Premier League 2020 betting odds pitch the Gunners at around seventh favourites, while Leeds are looking to cement their place in the top flight, but Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta will have been happy to escape from Elland Road with a point after his side went down to ten men and the Yorkshire men were twice denied by the woodwork.
Highlights of the game
Leeds have been impressive going forward all season and they started on the front foot, stretching the Arsenal defence with a super move early in the first half. Manchester City loanee Jack Harrison has been Leeds’ best creative force so far and he linked up will with Ezgjan Alioski who pulled the ball back for Patrick Bamford but the striker lacked the power to trouble Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno.
Bamford has emphatically answered his doubters this campaign with seven league goals already, and he came close with that early chance. And after a lighting counter-attack, Brazilian midfielder Rafinha curled a shot narrowly wide. Leeds were the better team in the first half and Bamford had another opportunity, on the half-hour, after good work from Luke Ayling and Mateusz Klich down the right. When the cross came in Gabriel half cleared and Bamford tested Leno with a low volley from 15 yards.
Kalvin Phillips returned to the Leeds midfield having missed the last three league games with a shoulder injury and he provided a shield for his defence and a focal point in the middle of the park. With the Whites well on top he took a pot shot from 25 yards but was well over, and then after another sweeping Leeds move, Klich fired over when he should have hit the target.
Leeds’ fast running and high energy was causing Arsenal plenty of problems, but they went into half time at 0-0, though Arsenal came out on the attack just before the break and the recalled Nicolas Pepe fired a shot just wide.
Pepe finished the first half on a bright note but began the second with a moment of madness which left the Gunners down to ten men. He pushed his head into Alioski; you just can’t do that these days so he got his just deserts. Though depleted in numbers Arsenal reminded Leeds they would be a threat, Bukayo Saka made progress down the right and pulled the ball back for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but he shot weekly and Illan Meslier saved.
Leno made a good one-handed stop to deny Stuart Dallas and then, as the game started to become stretched, Aubameyang almost got in but Liam Cooper was there to clear, and at the other end, when Rafinha stood a cross up for Bamford the striker headed over.
Rodrygo was inches away from winning it when Granit Xhaka allowed him the space to come in on his left foot and he caught his shot sweetly but hit the crossbar. Arsenal appealed for a penalty when Aubameyang’s shot hit Cooper’s elbow but VAR was un-moved.
Arsenal almost won it when Saka was put clean through but Meslier stayed on his feet to make a match-saving save. And in a breath-taking finish, Bamford rose to meet a cross only to see his header bounce back off the upright.
Leeds’ early performances this season have made plenty of Premier League 2020 news stories as the proud old club has won new fans with its attacking style of play. They bossed the first half, with 60 per cent possession, and 12 shots to four with two to zero on target. But the hosts seemed to struggle a little when Arsenal went down to ten men and they couldn’t find a way past Leno, eventually registering four shots on target to Arsenal’s two.
Pepe’s dismissal was the fifth red card Arsenal have received since Arteta took over at the end of last year, two more than any other Premier League club in that time.
The big matches keep on coming for Leeds, with two testing away games over the next couple of weeks. First, they head to Goodison Park to take on Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton who won 3-2 away to Fulham today. That’s a game we’ll be covering here at SBOTOP and it’s not one to miss, and then Marcelo Bielsa takes his troops to West London for a meeting with title hopefuls Chelsea.
The Gunners are back in Europa League action where they head Group B on nine points from three games. They visit second-placed Molde FK on Thursday before they return to Premier League matters with a home match against Wolves.
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