Arsenal 2 Leeds United 0 - Eddie Nketiah back to haunt Whites as first-half display counts for nothing at Emirates

Leeds United's Carabao Cup run is over for another year after a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal in a real game of two halves at the Emirates.

By Lee Sobot
Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 10:05 pm

Leeds impressed in the first half but substitute Calum Chambers put Arsenal ahead with a header from a corner in the 55th minute, netting with his first touch of the game and 23 seconds after his introduction for the injured Ben White.

After a header from captain Liam Cooper to Illan Meslier fell short, former Whites loanee Eddie Nketiah then doubled Arsenal's lead in the 69th minute and more or less ended the contest there and then.

Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa made four changes to his side but named a strong team that featured England international midfielder Kalvin Phillips on his return from injury.

FAMILIAR FACE: Former Leeds United loanee Eddie Nketiah races away to celebrate after putting Arsenal 2-0 up against the Whites in Tuesday night's Carabao Cup clash at the Emirates. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

England youth international Cody Drameh was also handed his Whites debut to face a Gunners side that featured two very familiar faces in former Whites loanees Nketiah and White.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta made nine changes to his side and the Gunners initially began well, a last-ditch tackle from Diego Llorente stopping Ainsley Maitland-Niles from bursting into the area, the loose ball falling to Saed Kolasinac whose shot was deflected wide.

But Leeds threatened for the first time in the 15th minute when Drameh and Rodrigo combined to tee up Tyler Roberts whose shot was blocked and sent for a corner.

It was a sign of things to come as a few minutes later, Llorente's superb raking pass over the top played in James whose poke at goal was saved by 'keeper Bernd Leno.

United were then denied the opener via a superb save from Leno in the 27th minute, the 'keeper getting down quickly to save a powerful half volley from Jack Harrison that was destined for the bottom right corner.

The Whites were now asking all the questions and Leno pulled off another much easier save to keep out a spinning James shot from the edge of the box.

Roberts then saw his curler deflected wide and Leno smothered the ball at the feet of Rodrigo after a Harrison through ball.

But Arsenal created their best opening yet just before the interval when Emile Smith Rowe sliced a shot over the bar from just inside the box and the tide was about to turn.

Teams are now allowed to make five substitutions in the Carabao Cup and Bielsa made his first change during the interval as Mateusz Klich replaced Forshaw.

The Gunners began the second half on the front foot and Bielsa then brought on exciting teen forward Joe Gelhardt for Roberts seven minutes after the restart.

Two minutes later, the Gunners lost White to injury, Chambers brought on in his place.

Yet it was Chambers who fired Arsenal into the lead as a corner caused chaos and the centre-back's header trickled over the line and past Illan Meslier.

Whites club captain Cooper then replaced Llorente but Leeds struggled to get going and a poor header from Cooper paved the way for Nketiah to double Arsenal's lead in the 69th minute.

Cooper tried to guide a high ball back to Meslier but failed to put enough power in his header and Nketiah raced on to the ball and rounded Meslier before squeezing the ball home.

Young duo Sam Greenwood and Crysencio Summerville had been waiting to come on as Nketiah scored and the pair finally replaced Rodrigo and James in the 70th minute.

Leeds looked to respond but the damage was done and Arsenal went close to adding a third in the 89th minute when Alexandre Lacazette walloped a fierce shot over the bar.

Arsenal: Leno, Cedric, White (Chambers 55), Holding (Tavares 76), Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles, Elneny (Lokonga 72), Pepe, Smith Rowe (Lacazette 72), Martinelli, Nketiah. Subs not used: Ramsdale, Partey, Saka, Salah-Eddine, Balogun.

Leeds United: Meslier, Drameh, Llorente (Cooper 59), Struijk, Dallas, Phillips, Forshaw (Klich 46), Roberts (Gelhardt 53), James (Summerville 70), Harrison, Rodrigo (Greenwood 70). Subs not used: Klaesson, Hjelde, Cresswell, McKinstry.

Referee: Andre Marriner.

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Thank you Laura Collins