Arsenal held on for a 1-0 win at Elland Road against Leeds United thanks to Bukayo Saka’s first-half winner.
Before either side could get into their stride, the match was stopped. Due to electrical faults in the stadium, the referees communication and VAR equipment proved to be inoperable, and the game was delayed by over half an hour, with both sides needing to warm up for a second time before we could get the game back underway.
Thankfully it was just the one stop however, as a hard-fought battle ensued on the pitch. We dominated much of the possession, but in reality there was very few clearcut chances for either side in the opening half, with both defences giving away very little in their own halves.
A crucial through ball into the box from Martin Odegaard did manage to give us the opportunity which we needed. Bukayo Saka managed to unleash his strike into the roof of the net from the tight angle to beat Olivier Meslier in the Leeds goal to clinch our lead, which ultimately proved to be the winning goal.
You wouldn’t have known it at the time however, especially watching the second-half…
Almost immediately after the break, it seemed to have been levelled. Bamford was penalised for supposed contact on defender Gabriel in front of goal before retrieving possession however, and to be brutally honest, I think we were extremely lucky to have gotten away with that one.
Our rivals then had a penalty for handball, with William Saliba unlucky in failing to withdraw his arm on the turn, but thankfully Patrick Bamford sliced his effort wide of right-hand post.
They moved to continue to have a strong half, continually putting pressure on our side, and this time it was our defence who had to work hard to keep our rivals at bay in contrary to the initial 45 minutes.
At the death the game looked set to be turned on it’s head however, with the referee’s assistant giving Leeds a penalty and Gabriel Magalhaes picking up a red card for supposedly kicking out at the Leeds striker, but after a very anxious wait whilst the ref overlooked the video evidence, he overturned both decisions in favour of a foul on our defender instead (and rightly so!).
It certainly wasn’t the kind of excitement I had hoped for today, but that could well prove to be an incredibly important three points in our bid to keep tabs with Manchester City, who we can now watch face Liverpool knowing we will not be usurped at the top of the table.