Martinelli double helps Arsenal win at Leeds

Saka and Smith Rowe also on target in thumping 4-1 victory, ensuring that the Gunners go into Christmas in the top-four of the Premier League

Saturday, 18th December 2021 — By Steve Barnett

Arsenal

Premier League

LEEDS UNITED 1 (Raphinha 75 pen)
ARSENAL 4 (Martinelli 16, 28, Saka 32, Smith Rowe 84)

GABRIEL Martinelli bagged a brace as Arsenal brushed aside an injury-hit Leeds United at Elland Road this evening (Saturday) to secure their third successive Premier League victory.

Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe were also on target for the Gunners in what was the only top-flight game of the day to go ahead as Covid-19 sweeps through professional football.

After seeing his side guarantee a place in the top-four going into Christmas, “delighted” Mikel Arteta poured praise on his goalscorers, and what is the youngest squad in the division.

“It was a really tough week but really positive with performances and results. We must be happy today,” said the Arsenal boss. “They had to play the most physical team in the league and they had to be ready.

“The young players are learning and they’re making a difference in the game. And the senior players are playing a big role too.

“Gabriel is getting a level of maturity. He’s so willing to learn. His passion in life is football, you can see that on the pitch. And Emile has now scored seven goals in the league, which is a remarkable figure.”

Martinelli’s two goals in eight early minutes killed the game off as a contest. The first came on 16 minutes: while the Leeds defence appealed for a foul by Alexandre Lacazette, Martinelli remained alert, and was busy curling the ball past Illan Meslier.

The second, on 28 minutes, saw the young Brazilian show great composure and clinical finishing after racing onto Granit Xhaka’s exquisite through ball.

Saka made it 3-0 just before the break, his deflected shot squeezing past a stranded Meslier at his near post.

Leeds were much improved in the second half, and pulled a goal back from the penalty spot after Joe Gelhardt was hacked down by Ben White inside the area.

Raphinha smashed the spot kick home, but Arsenal had the final say thanks to a superb finish from substitute Emile Smith Rowe who wrapped up a 4-1 win.

Leeds United: Meslier, Drameh, Koch (Greenwood, 78), Ayling, Dallas, Klich, Forshaw, Harrison (Summerville, 31), Summerville (McCarron, 81), Raphinha, Gelhardt, Roberts
Substitutes not used: Klaesson, Bate, Jenkins, Moore, Kenneh, Gray

Arsenal: Ramsdale, Tomiyasu (Cedric, 64), White, Gabriel, Tierney, Xhaka, Partey, Saka (Smith Rowe, 78), Odegaard (Tavares, 85), Martinelli, Lacazette
Substitutes not used: Leno, Holding. Chambers, Elneny, Pepe, Nketiah

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