Arsenal survived an almighty scare before beating Championship toppers Leeds United 1-0 in the FA Cup third-round tie at the Emirates Stadium.
Reiss Nelson scored the only goal of the game in the early parts of the second half to settle the tie in favour of the Gunners.
However, the game was anything but straight forward, especially in the first half when Leeds created chance after chance only to fluff their lines in the final third.
Patrick Bamford and Jack Harrison had presentable opportunities to score, but they lacked the ruthlessness despite playing some sumptuous football in the build-up.
Arsenal made them pay by coming out strong in the second half and scoring in 55th minute when a cross got deflected off a Leeds defender into the path of Nelson to bundle his finish into the net.
The Gunners looked the better team thereafter, but Marcelo Bielsa’s men were a threat on the counter till the final whistle.
All in all, a good win for Mikel Arteta and his men. FA Cup fourth-round tie away to Bournemouth awaits at the end of the month.
Here’s how we rated the players after this game:
Emiliano Martinez - 9
Had it not been him making saves in the first half, Arsenal would have been in trouble. Had a quieter second half and deserved the clean sheet.
Sokratis - 7
Playing in an unfamiliar right-back position, Sokratis did well defensively against the pace of Leeds attacks.
He didn’t go forward as a normal fullback would do. But that’s alright considering his main position is in central defence.
Rob Holding - 5
He was one player who struggled in the first half at the back. He improved from the defensive viewpoint after the break, but was lackadaisical on the ball at times.
David Luiz - 7
Had a nervy first half hour to the game, but he used his experience and solidified his performance sooner rather than latter.
Sead Kolasinac - 7
Couldn’t come out of his defensive third in the first half. Pushed more after the break and managed to have more influence on the game.
Granite Xhaka - 6
His passing improved as the game wore on, but some of his tackling and positioning off the ball were questionable. He should count himself lucky to not even get booked in this game despite making four bookable mistimed tackles.
Matteo Guendouzi - 7
Just like the other teammates of his, Guendouzi had a subdued first half and came roaring back after the break to give a better account of himself.
Nicolas Pepe - 7
Had to track back and defend a lot in the first half with Leeds pushing.
Exactly opposite happened in the second half and he was able to be a threat in the final.
The Ivorian was involved in the build-up of the goal as well.
Subbed off later on.
Mesut Ozil - 7
Had a quiet opening to the game, but when the team pushed up, he got into his stride and pulled the strings in the final third.
Subbed off amidst thunderous applause from the Emirates faithful.
Reiss Nelson - 8
Just like his teammates, Nelson had a quiet game in the first half and got suped involved after the break.
Scored the winning goal of the game, that would enhance his confidence multiple-fold.
Subbed off few minutes after scoring.
Alexandre Lacazette - 8
Captain on the night played as a leader up front. His work off the ball was superb all game long. Furthermore, his movements did create space for others in the final third.
However, he was lucky to not get a red card after a naughty kick out at one of the Leeds players.
(SUB) Gabrielle Martinelli - 7
Played the last 20 minutes of the game and looked very lively. He will be good under Arteta.
(SUB) Joe Willock - 6
Came on with 14 minutes remaining to help the team see the game out.
(SUB) Bukayo Saka - N/A
Came on with very few minutes left and had very little time to impact the game.