Leeds 0-1 Arsenal: Player ratings as Bukayo Saka fires Gunners back to the top of the table

Graeme Bailey
Bukayo Saka with a great finish
Bukayo Saka with a great finish / Eddie Keogh/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

From Elland Road - Arsenal moved back to the top of the Premier League table with a 1-0 win at Leeds on Sunday afternoon.

The only goal of the game arrived ten minutes before the break as Bukayo Saka latched onto a bemusing cross-field ball from Rodrigo and exchanged passes with Martin Odegaard before smashing high beyond Illan Meslier.

The game itself began in bizarre fashion as just 180 seconds had passed when it was stopped due to an electrical fault, which cut out numerous platforms such as VAR and Hawk-eye. The game was suspended for 40 minutes before resuming.

Once underway it was Leeds who showed some early promise with the recalled Luis Sinisterra firing just wide on two occasions.

Arsenal came close on 22 minutes as Odegaard teed up Gabriel Jesus with a sumptuous flick, but from the wide angle the Brazilian could only fire over.

Then from a similar position, little over 10 minutes later, Saka made no mistake as he fired home after great work from Odegaard - although Rodrigo's ill-judged pass was so dreadful he was subbed for Patrick Bamford at the interval.

Just 30 seconds into the second half and Bamford thought he had levelled matters. Marc Roca delivered a dangerous ball into the box and Bamford battled for the ball before firing home. But referee Chris Kavanagh adjudged Bamford to have used his arm, VAR backed up his ruling but it looked an incredibly harsh decision.

The introduction of Bamford though, made a huge difference. After his disallowed goal, he was sent clear twice again - only to be denied by Aaron Ramsdale in the away goal.

Again Bamford was involved as Leeds won a penalty on the hour mark as William Saliba was ruled to have handled the ball - after Kavanagh consulted VAR on the sideline. The Leeds striker was given the chance to level the game, but fired his effort wide.

Bamford and Leeds continued to cause problems for Arsenal as the visitors sat deeper and deeper, and it was again the half-time substitute who was at the centre of yet more controversy.

Three minutes into added time, Bamford ran into Gabriel, who reacted by kicking out - Kavanagh gave Gabriel a straight red and a penalty. But then when called over by VAR - the decision was overturned and Gabriel only given a yellow.

After all the dramatics the Gunners held firm in the final minutes to grab the win and go back to top of the table. For Leeds another defeat means they are still without a win since August, and firmly entrenched in the Premier League relegation battle.


Leeds vs Arsenal player ratings

1. Leeds (4-2-3-1)

Rodrigo Moreno, Granit Xhaka
Rodrigo didn't make it to the second half / Alex Pantling/GettyImages


GK: Illan Meslier - 6/10 - Decent, but no matter how good a shot - you shouldn't be beaten at your near post.

RB: Rasmus Kristiansen - 6/10 - Solid enough against Martinelli, especially second-half, but offered little in attack.

CB: Liam Cooper (c) - 6/10 - With Gabriel Jesus dropping deep so much, often had little to do but marshalled backline well enough.

CB: Robin Koch - 6/10 - Like Cooper often had nobody to mark, but helped out with Martinelli when he could.

LB: Pascal Struijk - 5/10 - Never looks natural as a full-back and was often beaten by Saka when he ran at him, including for the goal.

CM: Tyler Adams - 5/10 - Battled well with Granit Xhaka throughout, but offered little offensively.

CM: Marc Roca - 6/10 - A class act with some lovely passing, but probably didn't see the ball enough.

RM: Brenden Aaronson - 5/10 - Some nice touches but had little impact on the game when stuck-out wide - better when he came central.

AM: Jack Harrison - 4/10 - Strange to Harrison playing centrally...he struggled from the off in a position that looked foreign to him.

LM: Luis Sinisterra - 7/10 - Looked bright throughout and caused problems in the latter third. Easily Leeds' best player.

ST: Rodrigo - 2/10 -
Not a good day and his woeful pass created Saka's goal. He was hauled off at half-time.

Manager: Jesse Marsch - 6/10 - A lot of the forward players looked like they were playing out of position but decision to bring on Bamford was very positive.

SUB: Patrick Bamford - 6/10 - (46' for Rodrigo) - He could have won the game for Leeds, he will wonder how he didn't score.

SUB: Mateusz Klich (75' for Harrison) - N/A

SUB: Crysencio Summerville (85' Roca) - N/A

SUB: Joe Gelhardt (85' Sinisterra) - N/A

2. Arsenal (4-1-2-3)

Martin Oedegaard
Martin Odegaard impressed for Arsenal / Eddie Keogh/GettyImages


GK: Aaron Ramsdale - 6/10 - Some suspect kicking and handling, but a clean-sheet is a clean-sheet.

RB: Ben White - 4/10 - Struggled against Sinisterra who was beating him at will most of the day.

CB: William Saliba - 6/10 - Not his best day the office with some passing, and gave away penalty.

CB: Gabriel - 5/10 - Looked very ropey throughout and Bamford got beyond him far too many times.

LB: Takehiro Tomiyasu - 6/10 - Helped by Leeds' decision to not put a winger up against him for much of the match - decent.

CM: Thomas Partey - 8/10 - Outstanding holding performance from the Ghana star. Bossed the middle and the ball.

AM: Granit Xhaka - 6/10 - Playing very high next to Odegaard, and was tough to pick up and full of running.

AM: Martin Odegaard - 8/10 - Looked like creating a chance every time he picked up the ball - pleasure to watch. Picked up injury.

RW: Bukayo Saka - 8/10 - Worked up and down all day, as you expect, and produced world-class finish for goal.

ST: Gabriel Jesus - 6/10 - Came to deep all day for the ball - he signed for Arsenal to play as a 9 - he didn't today.

LW: Gabriel Martinelli - 6/10 -
Great first-half but saw very little in second period.

Manager: Mikel Arteta - 6/10 - Arsenal were not at their best but the set-up enabled them to claim the win

SUB: Kieran Tierney (75' for White) - N/A

SUB: Fabio Vieira (71' for Odegaard) - N/A

SUB: Rob Holding (80' for Saka) - N/A

SUB: Eddie Nketiah (80' for Jesus) - N/A

Player of the Match - Thomas Partey

facebooktwitterreddit