Arsenal 2-1 Leeds: Gunners one win away from a Champions League spot
(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Story of the match:

Mikel Arteta's top-four hopes were handed a huge boost with a narrow victory over relegation-contenders Leeds United.

It's not an Arsenal performance without making it difficult for themselves, having cemented a two-goal cushion in under ten minutes due to some hard work by former Leeds loanee Eddie Nketiah. The man who is in doubt about whether he will still be at the Emirates next season pounced on Ilan Meslier's lack of attention on the ball to put the Gunners up and add some comfortability. 

Some good work by Takehiro Tomiyasu, who was marshalled in at left-back to deal with Leeds' star man Raphinha, combined well with Gabriel Martinelli on the left-hand side. Martinelli's quick feet got him to the byline where his swift cut back found the feet of Nketiah once again, who having not celebrated on the first occasion, wheeled away to celebrate with his teammates. 

It all looked downhill for Leeds when Luke Ayling's reckless tackle on Martinelli caused some tension between the two sides. Referee Chris Kavanagh opted for a yellow card but was immediately urged to check the VAR monitor where it was clear what colour was emerging. Raphinha had to be restrained by teammate Jack Harrison, having been booked for disrupting Kavanagh in his process of booking Ayling. 

There were a flurry of chances for the Gunners when captain Martin Ødegaard's free-kick was tipped onto the crossbar and no one was there to slot it home. Arsenal headed into the halftime interval with the hope that they could narrow down the goal difference they had on Spurs. Conte's side were creeping up on them in 5th and have an enticing clash this Thursday which could determine who retrieves the last Champions League spot. 

With captain Liam Cooper out for Leeds after Jesse Marsch stated that 'they had to be cautious with him', Spaniard Diego Llorente was thrown into the side. In the 66th minute, Leeds earned their first corner of the game, and Llorente was there knocking at the back post completely unmarked to place it past Ramsdale. The Emirates was woken up by the sound of the travelling fans after it seemed that the Gunners were cruising to victory. 

But it wasn't to be for the Yorkshire outfit. Raphinha didn't have the best of days out in London, being sent left and right by compatriot Gabriel Martinelli but to no avail. There were opportunities for Ødegaard again, then substitute Nicolas Pepé missed a blinding chance with a few minutes to go after Meslier had come up for a corner and wasn't in position. Frustratingly, he chose to try and turn the incoming Daniel James rather than attempt a shot in front of an empty net. 

The sound of Kavanagh's whistle was the sound of relief, meaning Arsenal go into the North London Derby on Thursday night four points clear of Spurs and one point off Chelsea. The sound of Arsenal's new 'unofficial anthem' of Louis Dunford's 'The Angel' rung around the ground for the second time, being welcomed in by the fans who promoted it on Twitter earlier this week. 

Man of the Match:

Eddie Nketiah

The man of the match only belongs to one player, and it is the man who is temporarily filling the vacant spot for the Gunners. He's in red hot form at the moment and today was no exception, scoring in the fifth and tenth minute to propel Arsenal to victory. He won 5 out of 7 ground duels and registered a 93.8% passing accuracy. His future is unknown for now, but fans should be grateful for what he is putting in now. 

Looking ahead:

A deserved result for the Gunners who arguably should've made it 4 or 5-0, but weren't clinical enough. Having 19 shots to Leeds' 3, you would expect a side of Arsenal's ability to be putting them in the back of the net, and Tottenham Hotspur will be a real test for Mikel Arteta's revolutionised side. This match really is 'All or Nothing', with Arsenal being handed the opportunity to clinch the spot if they beat their rivals at their ground. 

Jesse Marsch's side head on to Chelsea, who have struggled for results recently and will be hoping to turn it around. He admitted in his post-match interview, "We know that we are in a hole and that we have to dig ourselves out." Without Luke Ayling for the remainder of the season, he reminded his squad that they will have to "fight like hell" if they are to remain in England's top tier for another season. 

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