Leeds United tunnel reunion, ref's fan interactions and off-camera moments in wild Arsenal loss

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Leeds United walked off the pitch at Elland Road to healthy applause but it so easily could have been a rapturous ovation, had they taken their chances in a wild game against Arsenal.

The Whites were guilty of wastefulness in the area as they somehow ran out 1-0 losers of a game that held some bizarre moments. From the 30-minute power-cut and Premier League system delay, to the VAR interventions and the respective performances of the teams, it was a day to expect the unexpected. And here’s the YEP take.

Good day

Pascal Struijk

A makeshift left-back in the Premier League can easily find themselves being turned inside and out by world-class wingers but the youngster was superb against Bukayo Saka. Only once did the Arsenal man get the better of the defender and even then, Struijk did just enough to steer his man wide and into the path of Liam Cooper. Off the ball Struijk was physical and clever, on it he was excellent, helping Leeds to build some lovely attacks. He put the ball in good areas on a number of occasions, even under pressure. It’s difficult to see even a fully fit Junior Firpo getting near the left-back berth at present.

Bad day


Hide Ad
Hide Ad

One pass made the headlines for the Spaniard, despite what was a bright, promising and intelligent performance up to that point. It’s hard to understand why a player of such experience thought that a huge cross-field switch was the appropriate play in that position and the execution was just as baffling. His composure went with the pass after Arsenal scored and his half-time withdrawal was no shock.

LENGTHY DELAY - Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch issues instructions during the power-cut enforced break in play against Arsenal. Pic: Simon HulmeLENGTHY DELAY - Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch issues instructions during the power-cut enforced break in play against Arsenal. Pic: Simon Hulme
LENGTHY DELAY - Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch issues instructions during the power-cut enforced break in play against Arsenal. Pic: Simon Hulme

Patrick Bamford

The half-time substitute can consider himself harshly dealt with, to be in this category, in one sense because he helped change the game, got on the end of some great moves to create chances for himself and gave the Arsenal defence a horrible time. He just didn’t find the net. Confidence looked an issue, not least when he stepped up to take the penalty. He does deserve huge credit for volunteering a second time, even if the VAR intervention took the opportunity away from him. Needs a goal, badly.

Off-camera moments

Ben White was back at Elland Road, where he enjoyed such a successful season as a loanee from Brighton. There was a warm welcome in the tunnel, in the form of a hug and a chat with Illan Meslier before the game.

Soon after, White was heading back down the tunnel accompanied by Meslier and the rest of the game’s 22 players as a power surge hit the Premier League systems and forced a lengthy delay. The rueful shake of referee Chris Kavanagh’s head as the South Stand voiced their disapproval made it obvious that he was just as frustrated, and that his headset was not coming back online any time soon. In the Kop, someone thoughtfully introduced a beach ball to the proceedings and at least allowed a few at that end of the ground to pass the time.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

On the pitch, Joe Gelhardt and Sam Greenwood made the most of the stoppage in play to enjoy a kickabout. The pair were on the bench again and, as ever, were thick as thieves.

When everyone else emerged to warm up before the restart, Kavanagh appeared to have the faintest hint of a wry smile on his face as Leeds fans chanted, in unprintable language, about the usefulness of VAR.

The next time Leeds came back down the tunnel, for the second half, Stuart Dallas was there to gee a few of them up, including his close pal and club captain Liam Cooper.

It was a different kind of geeing up going on during a second half break in play for the Arsenal players, Granit Xhaka dishing out a rollicking to a side who were struggling to retain the ball and visibly wilting under Leeds pressure in the early stages of the second period.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Leeds’ bright start encouraged the crowd and as pressing won the ball back to allow chance creation, Marsch turned to the West Stand and pumped his fists, roaring at them to increase the volume, which they did. A member of Mikel Arteta’s backroom staff was less enamoured with the way the game was shaping up and as yet another pass was picked off by a man in a white shirt he pounded his press-box desk in frustration.

The hosts were also given cause for irritation though, thanks chiefly to their own inability to put the ball in the net and Arsenal’s happiness to take their time over restarts. Time wasting has been a theme at Elland Road this season and the substituted Marc Roca was pleading with the fourth official to help address the situation late in the game.

At full-time, with the game lost, Tyler Adams looked distraught and once again had a debrief of sorts with assistant head coach Rene Maric as the pair wandered around the ground applauding the fans. Marsch made his way around Elland Road too, trying to gee up the Kop with the Leeds salute and blowing kisses of appreciation to those voicing their support for his beaten side.