Arsenal 1 Leeds United 0 - Whites fall to FA Cup defeat in the capital with battling display

Leeds United fell to defeat in the third round of the FA Cup on Monday evening

Monday, 6th January 2020, 10:05 pm
Updated Monday, 6th January 2020, 10:47 pm
Leeds United's Gjanni Alioski fires inches wide in the first half at the Emirates. (Bruce Rollinson)

Leeds United fell to a 1-0 defeat at Arsenal in the third round of the FA Cup on Monday evening with a battling display.

Marcelo Bielsa made five changes for the trip to the Emirates with Robbie Gotts and Illan Meslier handed their first-team debuts in the capital.

Mikel Arteta, meanwhile, freshened his line-up with four new faces as Mesut Ozil, Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette all started in North London.

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It was the visitors who dominated the early proceedings as Patrick Bamford headed wide before Jack Harrison tested the palms of Emi Martinez in goal.

Pepe then responded as he shot from distance but Meslier kept Arsenal at bay.

Bamford was involved again as he hit the bar after a lovely pass from Luke Ayling set him free inside the hosts before Kalvin Phillips forced the Gunners stopper into more action.

Gjanni Alioski whistled a shot past the post before he almost opened the scoring again with a headed effort at the back post which Martinez pushed wide.

Arteta's men had to settle for set-pieces as defender David Luiz went closest as he fired a free header wide of Meslier's goal from an Ozil corner.

Gotts, though, had the Whites best chance of the first half as he scooped a low ball over the bar from Mateusz Klich with the opening half coming to an end.

Arsenal came out invigorated following the interval with Reiss Nelson making his intentions clear with a driving run into the penalty area.

Lacazette then hit the bar from a free-kick a short while later before Meslier was forced into a strong save by his countryman.

The Gunners finally had their breakthough in the 55th minute as Nelson turned home a loose ball inside the six-yard box as the Whites failed to clear.

Bielsa opted to make two changes in the wake of the opener as Stuart Dallas and Helder Costa replaced Gotts and Alioski.

It was the hosts though who kept pushing for a second as Meslier again made a strong save from substitute Gabriel Martinelli.

VAR was called into action twice as Lacazette was cited for a kick out on Berardi with Douglas also being reviewed for violent conduct.

Neither player saw any punishment for the two separate incidents during a busy second half for referee Anthony Taylor.

Luiz again missed the target in added time with a wild free-kick but it was enough for the hosts who sent Leeds out of the FA Cup at the first time of asking.

Arteta's side will now face Bournemouth in the next round away from home.

Arsenal: Martinez, Sokratis, David Luiz, Holding, Nelson (Martinelli 68), Guendouzi, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Ozil (Willock 76), Lacazette, Pepe (Saka 90). Subs: Leno, Mavropanos, Ceballos, Saka, John-Jules.

Leeds United: Meslier, Ayling (Stevens 78), White, Berardi, Douglas, Alioski (Costa 61), Gotts (Dallas 61), Phillips, Klich, Harrison, Bamford Subs: Casilla, Cooper, Dallas, Casey, Davis, Costa.