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Arsenal embrace the fun as Aubameyang cuts through chaotic Leeds

Credit must partly go to Leeds for contributing to that as, even at 4-0 down, they never took their foot off the throttle and continued to play at 100mph.

Few sides are as fun to watch as Marcelo Bielsa’s team, who have ensured that not many games they play in are dull, but Arsenal played their part today too.

When the teams were announced you sensed this could be a fun afternoon, particularly when you looked at the side Mikel Arteta had selected.

It was the front-four that caught the eye, with the trio of Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe picked to play behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – who for a change was played as a central striker.

On paper it appeared an exciting setup, as three creative playmakers were deployed behind Arsenal’s most lethal finisher, and so it proved to be.

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At times, this looked like the Arsenal of old as Odegaard, Saka and Smith Rowe popped the ball around and interchanged with each other at will.

They were fluid, fast and tried to bring flair to the party, which is something we haven’t seen much of during this difficult season at Emirates Stadium.

Leeds’ defending – and the performance of their goalkeeper Illan Meslier – certainly helped Arsenal’s cause, but nonetheless this was a display that will have brought joy to a lot of supporters.

Odegaard, Saka and Smith Rowe were key to that and the question now is whether they can do this against other opposition.

It’s all well and good putting a gung-ho Leeds side to the sword, but could Arteta really go with this against the likes of Manchester City and Leicester City later this month? Time will tell but, if he does, it promises to be fun.

Aubameyang finding his groove at just the right moment

It is not too bold to say that Arsenal face a season-defining run now and the fact Aubameyang looks back to his best will be music to Arteta’s ears. His hat-trick here was well taken and just the confidence boost he needs ahead of a two-week period that includes matches against Benfica, Leicester and Man City.

Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Aubameyang’s first goal was straight out of the Arsenal captain’s playbook as he received the ball out left, beat Luke Ayling, and then fired past Meslier. The Leeds goalkeeper was perhaps at fault, but for Aubameyang’s second he most certainly was. The Frenchman fumbled in possession and brought down Bukayo Saka in the box as he tried to pass. Aubameyang made no mistake from the spot.

The forward’s third was a simple tap-in, but one any striker will be happy to score. It was made by Smith Rowe’s delightful cross from the left, however Aubameyang was in the right place to head home from three yards out.

Ceballos takes chance to shine in Partey’s absence

Arsenal’s midfield pairing of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey has been settled in recent weeks, but with the latter out someone had to step up today. In the end, it was Dani Ceballos who did the honours – and in style too.

Admittedly it doesn’t happen enough, but when Ceballos is in the mood there are few who can stop him. The Spaniard has the ability to boss a game and pick a pass, and he did that time and time again against Leeds.

His assist for Hector Bellerin’s goal, Arsenal’s third, was beautifully disguised and thread through the tightest space. It capped off a great move, one that had seen Saka dribble past three players and Aubameyang dink a cross to the back post.

Ceballos’ assist was the icing on the cake and reminded you about the quality he possess when he is on song.


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