Leeds United’s woes continued as they were mercilessly thumped 4-1 by Arsenal at Elland Road.
A hectic start saw Arsenal come close to scoring multiple times within the opening few minutes. Bukayo Saka pulled off a miss-of-the-season contender after just three minutes, before Thomas Partey’s low drive was well saved by Illan Meslier.
The deserved go-ahead goal came 16 minutes in, when some shoddy defending saw the ball drop to a grateful Gabriel Martinelli to thunder home, and with Leeds making mistake after mistake, the Brazilian lobbed home a delightful second shortly before the half-hour mark.
The third came through Saka, whose deflected effort arrowed past Meslier to give Arsenal a half-time lead of 3-0 which could have easily been six, seven or eight. Arsenal’s 11 shots on target in the first half is a record since statisticians started counting.
Arsenal came out for the second half trying to suck the life out of the game, but that gifted Leeds a route back in and they started enjoying the kind of possession they had been lacking in the first 45.
Leeds’ improvement was rewarded with a penalty in the 74th minute when Ben White lunged in on Joe Gelhardt, and Raphinha made no mistake from 12 yards.
Against the run of play, Arsenal killed the game off with a fourth as Emile Smith Rowe smashed home with six minutes to go to ensure the unlikeliest of comebacks was not going to happen.
Despite their team’s frustrating performance, the Leeds fans continued to chant Marcelo Bielsa’s name right up to the final whistle in a huge show of support to the boss.
Illan Meslier (GK) – 3/10 – Actually stopped this from being more embarrassing than it could have been.
Cody Drameh (RB) – 2/10 – Really, really awful in the first half, but more of an attacking threat after the break.
Robin Koch (CB) – 2/10 – Stuck to Lacazette like glue in the first half, usually leaving the rest of his defenders for dead. Figured out how to defend in the second 45, even if he ended up trying to snap everyone in his path.
Luke Ayling (CB) – 1/10 – Someone needs to make sure Ayling knows the offside rule.
Stuart Dallas (LB) – 1/10 – Dallas will be seeing Saka in his nightmares. Completely off the pace and guilty of so many huge errors.
Adam Forshaw (DM) – 1/10 – You could see he actually wanted to make an impact, but he did pretty much everything wrong.
Mateusz Klich (DM) – 1/10 – No tactics, just vibes.
Raphinha (RM) – 3/10 – Leeds’ biggest threat by a long way, but still didn’t look like himself. Missed a great chance in the first half but took his penalty well.
Tyler Roberts (AM) – 2/10 – Clearly wanted to make something happen, but wasn’t actually good enough to do that.
Jack Harrison (LM) – 1/10 – Picked up an early knock and was replaced after 30 minutes of thoroughly underwhelming football. Was the injury to blame? You can make your own mind up.
Joe Gelhardt (ST) – 5/10 – Painfully isolated but won yet another crucial penalty.
Crysencio Summerville (LM) – 5/10 – Actually not that bad. Involved in most of Leeds’ best moments without ever really doing much. Subbed off with ten minutes to go.
Sam Greenwood (CM) – 5/10 – A Premier League debut for the former Arsenal youngster, who’s actually a striker.
Liam McCarron (LM) – N/A
Aaron Ramsdale (GK) – 6/10 – A very quiet game. Didn’t deserve to lose his clean sheet.
Takehiro Tomiyasu (RB) – 7/10 – Untested defensively and made some nice passes going forward. The perfect sidekick for Saka.
Benjamin White (CB) – 5/10 – Got a little lucky with Raphinha’s miss but there was no hiding from his poor tackle on Gelhardt.
Gabriel (CB) – 6/10 – Apparently on the pitch. Had absolutely nothing to do.
Kieran Tierney (LB) – 7/10 – Some nice overlaps with Martinelli. A real threat to Leeds.
Thomas Partey (DM) – 7/10 – Did nothing flashy, just recovered possession and gave the ball to his creative team-mates. Simple.
Granit Xhaka (DM) – 8/10 – Looked so comfortable and dangerous with the ball at his feet. A nice pass for Martinelli’s second. Maybe a little fortunate to avoid a red card for a nasty challenge after the break.
Bukayo Saka (RM) – 8/10 – Missed an absolute sitter early on but didn’t let it phase him as he tormented Leeds all game. Some excellent movement.
Martin Odegaard (AM) – 8/10 – Graceful on the ball. Pressed Leeds’ defence well and made some nice passes. A lovely ball for the fourth.
Gabriel Martinelli (LM) – 9/10 – Two excellent goals and 90 outstanding minutes. Ripped Leeds apart.
Alexandre Lacazette (ST) – 8/10 – Missed a decent chance but was more focused on creating space for his team-mates. Pulled Leeds apart and allowed Martinelli and Saka to feast. So intelligent.
Cedric Soares (RB) – 4/10 – Struggled up against Summerville.
Emile Smith Rowe (AM) – 7/10 – Took his goal well. A very smart run.
Nuno Tavares (LB) – N/A