Leeds United claimed a point against ten-man Arsenal in their first Premier League match since the international break. The hosts dominated for large periods of the match and enjoyed the better chances, especially after Nicolas Pepe was dismissed for a headbutt six minutes after half-time, but could not find the elusive winning goal.
Substitute Rodrigo came closest for Leeds, smacking the crossbar with a fierce effort during the final 20 minutes and then seeing another strike denied by the post during added time.
Here are Express Sport’s ratings for every Whites player that featured in Saturday’s encounter.
GK: Illan Meslier – 7
Meslier was not troubled on a massive number of occasions, but did enough to keep a clean sheet.
He bailed his side out after Bukayo Saka was released with seven minutes remaining, saving one-on-one to keep the match scoreless.
CB: Luke Ayling – 6
The former Arsenal academy product was beaten down the right hand side early on by Willian, but the Brazil international could not create a goalscoring opportunity.
He also allowed Nicolas Pepe to deliver a dangerous cross that cannoned back off the crossbar shortly afterwards, but later settled in and looked more resolute.
A poor first touch prevented him from having the opportunity to score with twenty minutes remaining when he was fed inside the penalty area.
CB: Robin Koch – 6
Koch was largely solid at the back throughout.
His passing was accurate and helped beat the press of Arsenal’s forwards to build his side’s attacks.
However, during the second half his quality dropped slightly, with the German defender needlessly conceding possession on occasion.
CB: Liam Cooper – 7
Cooper was seen before the match hosting a live video feed for a young supporter suffering with cancer who wanted to be a mascot for the game at Elland Road.
Once proceedings got underway he was effective at the back, working to restrict the influence of central striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
CM: Ezgjan Alioski – 7
Alioski provided an additional threat down the left flank, with the Macedonian bombing forward at every opportunity to help out Jack Harrison.
He took the headbutt from Pepe that saw the Ivorian dismissed shortly after the interval.
CM: Kalvin Phillips – 7
The England international was making his return to the side after recovering from a troublesome shoulder injury.
He played well in the middle of the park, helping Leeds to effectively transform defence to attack.
The 24-year-old appeared to pick up a knock to his leg during the second half but continued regardless.
Get NOW TV Sky Sports season pass and save 25 percent
CM: Stuart Dallas – 7
The Northern Irish utility man was making his 200th appearance in a Leeds United shirt.
He missed a golden chance to put his side in front during the first half when his shot flashed narrowly wide of the post, and saw another effort saved shortly after the hour mark.
Despite this, he was an important member of Bielsa’s midfield, seeing plenty of the ball during periods of pressure from Leeds.
RW: Raphinha – 7
Summer signing Raphinha was lively from the outset, driving forward with the ball and using his trickery to progress his side’s attacks.
He looked threatening down the right-hand side but lacked an overall end product, having failed to take a couple of chances to trouble Bernd Leno in the Arsenal goal.
AM: Matheus Klich – 7
The midfielder did a decent enough job playing behind the front three, but did not provide as much penetration as Harrison alongside him.
However, he kept things ticking during spells of dominance and allowed team-mates to play off his clever short passing.
LW: Jack Harrison – 8
Harrison was at the heart of much of his side’s attacking play.
He combined beautifully with Alioski down the left flank early on, playing a few clever one-twos to work the ball into the area, but Bamford’s eventual shot was smothered by Leno.
He also presented a constant danger with his crossing which threatened to catch the visiting defence out on a number of occasions.
ST: Patrick Bamford – 6
In-form Bamford missed a couple of first-half opportunities to put his side ahead, with Leno equal to him on both occasions.
He then struck the post with less than five minutes remaining, an opportunity he will be kicking himself over at home this evening.
It was a little bit of an off day for the man who has already scored seven times this season.
Leeds United substitutes:
Rodrigo (Ayling 70) – 8
Ian Poveda-Ocampo (Harrison 80) – 6
This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently, see more details here.
Source: Read Full Article