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Leeds vs Arsenal: The last five meetings

It has been over 16 years since their last Premier League encounter.

Soccer - FA Cup - Third Round - Arsenal v Leeds United - Emirates Stadium
Robert Snodgrass celebrates after handing newly-promoted Championship outfit Leeds United the lead over Arsenal in the third round of the FA Cup on January 8, 2011.
Photo by Sean Dempsey/PA Images via Getty Images

From the highs of 1-0 victories in the 1968 League Cup and 1972 FA Cup finals, to the lows of a 5-0 loss on their way to relegation from the Premier League, Leeds United share a rich history of memorable matches against Arsenal.

With Kalvin Phillips and Rodrigo Moreno returning from the sidelines and Arsenal lacking inspiration up front so far this season, their first meeting in the Premier League since April 2004 is highly anticipated.

Here are the last five meetings between the Whites and the Gunners.

16th April 2004: Arsenal 5-0 Leeds

Soccer - FA Barclaycard Premiership - Arsenal v Leeds United
Arsenal players celebrate after Henry scored their second goal of the match.
Photo by Matthew Ashton/EMPICS via Getty Images

A Thierry Henry masterclass was an accurate representation of the contrasting fortunes of the sides as they met for the last time before Leeds’ relegation from the top-flight.

The Gunners legend hit four goals as the Invincibles edged closer to lifting their golden Premier League trophy.

Despite boasting players such as Paul Robinson, Gary Kelly, Ian Harte, Lucas Radebe, Dominic Matteo, Alan Smith, Mark Viduka and a young James Milner among their ranks, the Peacocks were well and truly outclassed at Highbury.

Robert Pires scored the opening goal within six minutes, and Arsenal were 3-0 up at half-time before Henry extended their lead to five goals by the 67th minute.

Luckily for Leeds, the French striker would soon leave North London for pastures new in Barcelona, never to return. Right?

8th January 2011: Arsenal 1-1 Leeds

Leeds United’s players run to their supporters to celebrate.
Leeds players celebrate in front of the away fans after taking a shock advantage against Arsenal in the FA Cup.
Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

A lot had changed at Arsenal and Leeds when the sides next met in the third round of the FA Cup almost seven years after Henry ran riot at Highbury.

Now playing at the Emirates, the Gunners squad was but a shadow of the Invincibles side, while Leeds had dropped down to League One for the first time in their history before earning promotion back to the Championship the season prior.

Having tasted sweet victory over Manchester United almost a year to the day, before forcing Tottenham Hotspur into a fourth round replay, Simon Grayson’s side were eager to make headlines in the FA Cup for the second season running.

And they did just that. After a goalless first half, the home supporters were silenced when Robert Snodgrass slotted home from 12 yards after Max Gradel was fouled in the area.

Luciano Becchio came close to doubling the visitors’ advantage, but Arsenal held on and snatched a draw after Ben Parker held back Theo Walcott in the penalty area, with Cesc Fabregas scoring the resulting penalty.

A superb save from Kasper Schmeichel in the dying moments denied Denilson a late winner, and set up a replay at Elland Road.

19th January 2011: Leeds 1-3 Arsenal

Soccer - FA Cup - Third Round Replay - Leeds United v Arsenal - Elland Road
Goalscorer Bradley Johnson challenges Arsenal’s Andrey Arshavin.
Photo by Anna Gowthorpe/PA Images via Getty Images

Unfortunately, history was not to be made by Leeds as their North London opponents ran out 3-1 winners in the resulting replay in West Yorkshire.

Samir Nasri got the visitors off to the perfect start with a fifth-minute opener, before Bacary Sagna’s scorching effort doubled their lead.

Leeds would not go down without a fight, though, and Bradley Johnson scored one of the club’s most memorable goals to cut the deficit; the midfielder let loose from well outside the area, and his shot rose into the top corner of the Arsenal goal.

Robin van Persie’s 76th-minute strike would rule the Whites out of the tie, but Grayson’s men could walk away proud after testing one of the giants of the Premier League.

Coincidentally, they would have another shot at besting Arsenal in the following season’s FA Cup.

9th January 2012: Arsenal 1-0 Leeds

Arsenal v Leeds United - FA Cup Third Round
Thierry Henry produced an iconic moment as he scored on his second debut for Arsenal.
Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Remember that French striker who liked scoring against us in the old days of the Premier League? Yeah, well he came back. And we all know what happened from there.

Returning to the Gunners on loan from New York Red Bulls, five years after leaving for Barcelona, it felt like Thierry Henry’s winning goal was written in the stars.

Indeed, he scored his 12th goal in 12 games against Leeds, wearing the number 12 shirt with 12 minutes to go before full time.

The veteran unsurprisingly stole the headlines as his emotional return to North London resulted in Arsenal progressing to the fourth round of the FA Cup at Leeds’ expense.

Luciano Becchio and Ross McCormack both had their chances to stun the Premier League side, but were unable to score and steal the spotlight from the return of the king, squandering their respective opportunities.

6th January 2020: Arsenal 1-0 Leeds

Arsenal FC v Leeds United - FA Cup Third Round
Debutant Illan Meslier put in a man-of-the-match display between the sticks as Leeds showed the world that Marcelo Bielsa meant business.
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Despite being another loss, this one felt different. It was Marcelo Bielsa’s first taste of action against a top-tier opponent in English football since his arrival at Elland Road in 2018, and Leeds showcased Bielsaball to the nation.

The Whites completely dominated the hosts in the first half, and a clinical finish was all that separated them from taking a considerable lead against Mikel Arteta’s side.

An inspiring half time teamtalk from the young gaffer saw the Gunners swipe control of the match from the Championship outfit, but up stepped debutant goalkeeper Illan Meslier to ensure Leeds avoided a drubbing.

Having impressed supporters with his excellent distribution in the opening 45 minutes, the French youngster revealed his shot-stopping credentials as Arsenal bombarded the Leeds goal.

The hosts prevailed, though, and Reiss Nelson’s goal was enough for Arsenal to see off a brave Leeds side. But no matter; the Peacocks now had nothing to distract them from their promotion campaign, and had warned the Premier League of what was to come next season.


What is your prediction for tomorrow’s clash at Elland Road?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    Leeds win
    (7 votes)
  • 22%
    (5 votes)
  • 45%
    Arsenal win
    (10 votes)
22 votes total Vote Now

Which Leeds performance impressed you the most across their last few meetings with Arsenal? What are your predictions for tomorrow’s game? Vote in the poll above (viewable in browser) and let us know at @ThruItAllLUFC.