Leeds United made error after error to put themselves in an unwinnable position, before a spirited fightback restored some pride, as they lost 4-2 to Arsenal at the Emirates. For a full recap of the match, click here.
FULL-TIME: A spirited second-half performance but Arsenal come away with all three points and a 4-2 win. pic.twitter.com/kKMGSmPCur— Leeds United (@LUFC) February 14, 2021
Leeds were 3-0 down at half-time, and unfortunately Illan Meslier made errors for all three goals. Two poor attempts to save at the near post, the first having given away the ball with a poor pass, were either side of him giving away a penalty after dallying on the ball in his own box. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice, and Hector Bellerin scored once to enfd the game in the first half.
The second half started just as badly. Substitute Helder Costa gave the ball away in a bad area, and Emile Smith-Rowe put the ball across goal for Aubameyang to complete his hat-trick.
Leeds got one back with a thumping header from Pascal Struijk from a Raphinha corner, and then Helder Costa made up for his error by providing a finish to a good move from Raphinha and Tyler Roberts.
Time now to look at each player and how they performed. As always you can tell me how wrong I am @mightywhitespod or @ThruItAllLUFC on twitter.
Illan Meslier - Will feel he should have saved the opening goal, and it was a poor pass from him to give the ball away in the first place. Distribution was poor throughout the first half. Made a huge error to gift the ball to Saka and then give away a penalty which made it 2-0. Beaten easily at the near post for Bellerin to make it 3-0 just before half-time. Better in the second half and made a couple of decent saves. He is a good young keeper, had a shocker today but there is no need to panic. 3.5/10
Before you say anything, no, this doesn't mean Kiko should come back. #LUFC #MOT— Mighty Whites Pod - #LUFC podcast. (@mightywhitespod) February 14, 2021
Jamie Shackleton - Did ok against Emile Smith-Rowe but couldn’t say he had a good game. Better in the second despite his role changing on a few occasions. 5.5/10
Luke Ayling - Backed off Aubameyang too far and allowed him to get a shot away far too easily for the opening goal. Made a fantastic block to stop Aubameyang doubling the advantage. Got forward well when allowed to late in the second half but it was too late by then. 5/10
Ayling has to engage straight away when Aubameyang is outside the area, shouldn't off let him cut in on his strong foot. Arsenal doing a really good job of not allowing Leeds to play out from the back and winning possessions high up.— FocusOnLeeds (@FocusOnLeeds) February 14, 2021
Liam Cooper - Rescued by VAR after a clumsy one on Saka in the box, although I don’t think it was a penalty it wasn’t good defending either. A couple of decent tackles later in the game. If Leeds defend that poorly, it doesn’t reflect well on any of the defenders. 5/10
Ezgjan Alioski - Couldn’t deal with Saka in the first half at all. Can’t think of a positive contribution. 4/10
Pascal Struijk - Playing him as a DM certainly didn’t work. Not involved enough on the ball and that was the main reason why Leeds couldn’t play their way out from the back, there were times when he didn’t seem willing to move into space to receive the ball. Powered in a great header to pull one back for Leeds. Better in the second half. 5.5/10
Hot take. This isn’t working. pic.twitter.com/jGeXoK3QbN— Josh Hobbs (@JoshAHobbs) February 14, 2021
Raphinha - Leeds couldn’t get him on the ball, when he did he tried to run at players and had a couple of good efforts from distance. Good corner to set up Struijk for Leeds consolation goal. Great pass to get Roberts in behind for Leeds’ second goal. Once again, a big threat when he had the opportunity to be. 7/10
Raphinha mais uma vez sendo o jogador que mais criou chances para o Leeds United. Mais um ou dois como ele na equipe fariam Bamford decolar— PL DA DEPRESSÃO (@pldadepressao_) February 14, 2021
Stuart Dallas - As with everyone around him, not good in the first half, but he did seem less error prone than many of those around him. Improved in the second half without ever standing out. 5/10
Mateusz Klich - Didn’t seem to be able to get near his Arsenal counterparts. Xhaka and Ceballos had the run of the first half and he seemed to be struggling to stay with whichever player he ended up near. 4/10
I’d start Roberts over Klich Friday, been decent every time he’s came on— Tom Green (@tomgreen_97) February 14, 2021
Jack Harrison - Good cross to set up a Bamford header at goal. Other than that, very quiet and struggled to stay with Bellerin when Arsenal attacked. 5/10
Patrick Bamford - Decent header at goal with his one chance but never allowed to get into the game. Had a good penalty shout turned down at 4-2 after he won the ball back himself and was heavily involved it a good passing move. 6/10
Helder Costa (for Harrison, HT) - Comes on, immediately loses the ball on the edge of the box leading to the fourth goal. Improved after the early error. Scored Leeds second goal with a good finish. Opening mistake aside, a much better performance from him. 6/10
68' GOALL - Hélder Costa fires home from close range. 4-2. pic.twitter.com/NUSDB150jB— Leeds United (@LUFC) February 14, 2021
Tyler Roberts (for Klich, HT) - Good movement and a good pass to set up Costa for Leeds’ second goal. Played some really nice stuff when he came on and looked a threat. Deserves a lot of credit. 7/10
Tyler Roberts v Arsenal— (@JuneCymru) February 14, 2021
-45 mins played
-4 chances created
-2 ball recoveries
-2 long balls
Good performance from tyro. pic.twitter.com/aHgv1NdcWy
Niall Huggins (for Alioski, 52mins) - Briefly in midfield before moving to right-back, then left-back. Played fine, struggled a bit when up against Bukayo Saka but overall a good debut. 6.5/10
FT: Arsenal 4-2 #lufc . Much better 2nd half prevented what could have become an horrendous scoreline. Difficult debut for Huggins to make at 0-4 down but he acquitted himself well as the reshape from Bielsa had Arsenal far more troubled than in 1st half.— Adam Pope (@apopey) February 14, 2021