Leeds 0-0 Arsenal: 10-man gunners held on to draw at Leeds after Nicolas Pepe sees red to ruin Arteta's evening
|Leeds forward, Rodrigo struck the upright with a fierce effort after coming on in the second half (Photo credit: Premierleague.com)|
It wasn’t particularly going on well for Arsenal before Nicolas Pepe decided to make a bad situation worse, but Arsenal stood firm and earned a point that would count for something sometime later.
Leeds United hosted Arsenal on Sunday on the back of a defeat at Wolves, in fact, both sides went into the game at Elland Road on the back of three losses in four games and needed the win to boost confidence and return to right track but the stalemate can become a platform to build on.
Marcelo Bielsa opted to hand a start to Kelvin Phillips and Raphinha with Poveda again dropping to the bench, Patrick Bamford returned upfront and would rue lots of missed chances in the game that could have won the game for the hosts.
Mikel Arteta, under pressure to deliver after fans questioned his selections and game management opted to start Nicolas Pepe in place of the wasteful Alexander Lacazette, the Arsenal manager didn’t have access to either of Thomas Partey and Mo Elneny with the Ghanaian injured and Elneny down to Covid.
The opening exchange saw Arsenal firing hard but the hosts soon settled to take charge, Bernd Leno came to the rescue on three occasions with Meslier in the Leeds goal largely untested.
The second half started the same way the first ended, end to end stuff in which both could have scored until the 51st minute when Allioski was lying on the turf and replayed showed a light headbutt from Nicolas Pepe and referee Anthony Taylor sent off the winger.
Leeds saw the majority of the ball after Pepe’s sending off but it came down to nothing, they did have lots of chances but the Arsenal defense stood resolute but must thank Bernd Leno for his sensational save from Stuart Dallas on the hour mark having been teed up by Raphinha.
Mikel Arteta sent on Bukayo Saka and the teenage sensation quickly settled into trouble Leeds.
The young utility player had played three games in a week for England and was duly rested but the sending off of Pepe necessitated his arrival.
Arsenal had a fine penalty call for handball after Bukayo Saka made a driving run from box-to-box before laying it off to Pierre Emerick Aubameyang who had his shot blocked.
The Gabon international claimed it was a handball by Liam Cooper but referee Taylor waved it away.
It can be argued that Arsenal played better with a man down, Bukayo Saka had the chance to win it late on when Hector Bellerin’s mazy run had the ball at the teenager’s feet but he fluffed the chance after going through on goal with Meslier blocking his shot to keep the score level.
Arsenal stay 11th with the goalless draw while Leeds are 14th with eleven points. It's a point forward for Arsenal considering how early they went down to ten men but Leeds will feel hurts especially with the fact that they struck the upright three times in the game.