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Five talking points as Aubameyang hits hat-trick in Arsenal win over Leeds

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored his first Premier League hat-trick as Arsenal saw off Leeds in north London.

The Yorkshire side are yet to win in the capital under Marcelo Bielsa and that run continued at the Emirates.

Mikel Arteta’s side had suffered back-to-back defeats, but were full of confidence on Sunday afternoon.

Aubameyang opened the scoring after 13 minutes and his side never looked back.

Leeds were poor in the first-half and were given a brief reprieve when VAR denied the hosts a penalty with the score at 1-0.

But as soon as Aubameyang doubled Arsenal’s lead on 41 minutes they were in total control and the three points sees them go above Leeds into the top half.

Hector Bellerin also scored for the hosts while Pascal Struijk and Helder Costa’s second-half strikes threatened a comeback, but it wasn’t to be.

Here are five talking points from the Emirates.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored three at the Emirates

1. Aubameyang’s first Arsenal treble

It comes as something of a surprise to learn that Aubameyang had never scored a Premier League hat-trick.

The 31-year-old has been a regular supply of goals for the north Londoners but he hadn’t started since grabbing a brace against Newcastle on January 18 as he dealt with personal issues.

The Gabon striker clearly wanted to pick up where he left off as he went one better and grabbed a treble against Leeds.

His first a typical Aubameyang finish coming in from the left before he was allowed to double his tally from the penalty spot and seal his hat-trick early in the second-half.

Aubameyang’s struggles in front of goal were becoming an issue earlier this season, especially given he signed a new deal in the summer, but the striker looks to be getting closer to the form he’s shown over the past two years.

The Arsenal striker doubled his tally from the spot
The Arsenal striker doubled his tally from the spot

2. Capital punishment

The Yorkshire side had failed to win in 13 visits to London under Bielsa and that became 14 on Sunday afternoon.

Among those 13 games was a 1-0 defeat in the FA Cup to Arsenal last year.

That was a game Leeds can feel aggrieved not to have won, but this time round they were second best for large periods.

Their unfortunate trips to the capital also include losses at QPR, Charlton, Millwall, Tottenham, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Fulham.

More a case of coincidence than a genuine problem you’d expect, but its a record that will continue to linger until they secure a win within the M25.

Marcelo Bielsa is yet to win in London
Marcelo Bielsa is yet to win in London

3. Bielsa’s free hit

It was evident within the first 10 games of the season that Leeds weren’t going to go down.

That in part was down to their own performances, but also down to the struggles experienced by those in the bottom three.

Even after their defeat at the Emirates Leeds find themselves comfortably in midtable, 17 points above the relegation zone.

It means every game for the remainder of the season is something of a free hit.

That in itself is a luxury, but it brings with it a unique set of problems.

Losing doesn’t ring alarm bells like it would for other teams which you could argue affects motivation.

But it will also lead to performances like the one we recently saw at Leicester as Leeds play with untold freedom.

Helder Costa grabbed Leeds' second
Helder Costa grabbed Leeds’ second

4. Great entertainers

I’m sure there’s plenty of Leeds fans, players and perhaps even Bielsa who would give up the tag of entertainers to ensure they weren’t involved in games that didn’t involve goals galore every week.

It doesn’t look set to change though based on Sunday’s showing.

Graeme Souness said before the game that the Whites were his favourite side to watch this season.

One thing they guarantee is goals – at either end of the pitch.

Even at 4-0 down Leeds continued to play and two goals in the second-half gave birth to the idea of a miraculous comeback.

They were unable to follow in Newcastle’s footsteps and revel in a 4-4 comeback, but for the neutral Leeds never fail to deliver.

5. The official influence

We saw it earlier today when Manchester United played West Brom and Harry Maguire was denied a penalty.

Referees, when advised by fellow referees, appear very likely to change their mind knowing that one of their colleagues has advised them to think again.

Bukayo Saka thought he’d won a penalty when he was sent over by Liam Cooper.

Initially it looked the right decision, but from another angle it perhaps looked soft.

Stuart Attwell only needed to have a seed of doubt planted in his mind before it became apparent that decision was almost certainly going to be overturned.




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