Gunners survive Leeds dentist's chair to advance

Reiss Nelson scoring during the 1-0 FA Cup third-round win over Leeds on Monday. Arsenal, who will face Bournemouth next, improved after a difficult first half. PHOTO: REUTERS
Reiss Nelson scoring during the 1-0 FA Cup third-round win over Leeds on Monday. Arsenal, who will face Bournemouth next, improved after a difficult first half. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Premier League teams would need to prepare themselves for a painful experience next season should Leeds finally end their 16-year exile from the top flight.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta had first-hand experience of what it is like to go up against the Championship leaders on Monday night, likening their FA Cup third-round matchup to "going to the dentist".

The Gunners had to endure a difficult first half in which they were overrun at the Emirates before eking out a 1-0 win, with Reiss Nelson bundling the ball over the line 10 minutes after the break.

The visitors controlled the ball for almost two-thirds of the opening period and had 15 shots to just three for the hosts.

But Leeds failed to make their superiority count, with Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez - and the crossbar - repelling them.

The Gunners visibly improved in the second half to ensure progression to the next round to face Bournemouth.

Leeds, though, put in a performance to be proud of. Their ability to press, dubbed "Bielsa-ball" after their manager Marcelo, left Arteta impressed.

The Spaniard, who tipped Leeds for promotion before the game, said: "A nightmare for every team. To play against them - it's tough. They are a great team and what they've built is powerful.

"If you're not ready for Leeds, you'll get exposed."

The 37-year-old was so incensed by Arsenal's listless first-half performance that he gave the players a dressing down and the hairdryer treatment worked.

"We had to react. The biggest change was how aggressive we are, making runs forward and being positive," he said.

READY FOR THE TOP FLIGHT

A nightmare for every team. To play against them - it's tough. They are a great team and what they've built is powerful. If you're not ready for Leeds, you'll get exposed.

MIKEL ARTETA, Arsenal manager, on Championship leaders Leeds United, who are on track for promotion to the Premier League next season.

"Now I'm really pleased, but we saw two different teams from the first to second half.

"I tried to tell them exactly what they were going to face and after 32 minutes, we had won one duel.

"We changed our attitude, desire and organisation at half-time and then we were completely different.

"I saw them react when they lost against Chelsea and saw them react when they had won just one game, so I have to be on them."

Alexandre Lacazette also revealed his teammates needed a wake-up call from Arteta to shake them out of their stupor, adding: "He shouted a lot, he was not happy because we knew they were going to play like this and we didn't respect what he said.

"In the second half, it was a lot better and thank you Reiss for the goal."

REUTERS


FA CUP 4TH-ROUND DRAW

Bristol City or Shrewsbury v Liverpool

Watford or Tranmere v Wolves or Manchester United

Manchester City v Fulham

Rochdale or Newcastle v Oxford

Hull v Chelsea

Bournemouth v Arsenal

Burnley v Norwich

Southampton v Middlesbrough or Tottenham

Northampton v Derby

Brentford v Leicester

QPR v Sheffield Wednesday

Portsmouth v Barnsley

Bristol Rovers or Coventry v Birmingham

West Ham v West Bromwich

Reading or Blackpool v Cardiff or Carlisle

Millwall v Sheffield United

All ties are scheduled to be played on Jan 25.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2020, with the headline 'Gunners survive Leeds dentist's chair to advance'. Print Edition | Subscribe