FA CUP – Arsenal 1-0 Leeds United: Gunners through after testing third round tie
PUBLISHED: 21:51 06 January 2020 | UPDATED: 21:52 06 January 2020
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Arsenal are through to the next round of the FA Cup after beating Leeds United 1-0 in a testing third round tie against the Championship side at the Emirates on Monday night.
After a first half in which Leeds were by far the better side and should have gone ahead, the Gunners took control in the second and found the winner through Reiss Nelson's close range finish.
Mikel Arteta made four changes to the side that beat Manchester United on New Year's Day, with Emiliano Martinez, Rob Holding, Matteo Guendouzi and Nelson replacing Bernd Leno, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Lucas Torreira and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The inclusion of the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe did show that the Arsenal boss is taking the FA Cup seriously.
Leeds dominated the first half in an impressive performance, and they came within inches of opening the scoring on 16 minutes as Patrick Bamford wriggled free inside the penalty area and smashed a shot off the crossbar.
It wasn't there only chance either as Jack Harrison tested Martinez from range and Ezgjan Alioski fizzed a low shot just wide as the Gunners struggling to deal with their pace and energy.
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Martinez was forced into action again as the away side came close through Alioski's back post header, but the Argentine goalkeeper somehow clawed his effort away to keep the score level at the break.
Arsenal came out for the second half with a new tempo and intensity as they looked to take the game to their Championship opponents.
They were close to opening the scoring when Alexandre Lacazette curled a free-kick off the crossbar, and the striker also saw a low shot saved by Illan Meslier in the Leeds goal.
The Gunners did get their reward for an improved display after the interval as they opened the scoring with 55 minutes gone.
Pepe scampered away from a challenge in midfield to put Leeds on the back foot and the hosts took full advantage, with the winger slipping Lacazette through to square for Nelson who tucked home.
The Gunners managed to contain Leeds after scoring and substitute Gabriel Martinelli went close for the home side as Meslier saved his curling effort.
The win means Arsenal go through to the fourth round and face a trip to fellow Premier League side Bournemouth.