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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Matt Verri

Arsenal 4-1 Leeds: Gabriel Jesus at the double as Gunners restore eight-point advantage

Arsenal restored their advantage at the top of the Premier League back to eight points as they beat Leeds 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium.

Manchester City’s dominant victory over Liverpool earlier in the day had increased the pressure on Mikel Arteta’s side, and tension started to build in north London after a low-key start to the game.

But Gabriel Jesus put the Gunners in front from the penalty spot before the break for his first goal for exactly six months, before Ben White doubled the advantage shortly after the break and Jesus got his second of the afternoon.

Rasmus Kristensen’s deflected strike pulled one back for Leeds, but it was not enough to mount a grandstand finish as Granit Xhaka put the result beyond doubt and Arsenal made it seven Premier League wins in a row. There are now just nine games to go in their bid for a first League title since 2004.

Bukayo Saka was on the bench for Arsenal after battling illness in the build-up to the match, the first time he has not started a Premier League match this season. Jesus came in for his first Leage start since the World Cup.

It was a sluggish display from the Gunners for much of the opening period, flat on the pitch and in the stands in a departure from what has been seen at the Emirates this season. Kristensen had a shot saved inside ten seconds, while Crysencio Summerville and Brenden Aaronson were also denied by Aaron Ramsdale.

Arsenal needed just one moment of inspiration to take the lead before the break though. Jesus weaved his way past the challenges in the box and was brought down by Luke Ayling, with the Brazilian then converting the penalty himself as he rolled his spot-kick down the middle.

It was much-improved from the Gunners after the break, as they clicked into gear and cut Leeds open. Within two minutes of the restart the lead had been doubled, as Martinelli beat Ayling, fired a low cross into the box and White produced the finish at the back post.

Victory was sealed before the hour mark, as Jesus got his second and Arsenal’s third. Leandro Trossard did brilliantly to find space for a cut back from a tight angle, and Jesus was there in the middle to fire home in emphatic fashion.

Kristensen got a goal back for Leeds with just under 15 minutes remaining, as his effort flicked off Oleksandr Zinchenko and past Ramsdale, though it proved to be nothing more than a consolation. Another successful afternoon for the Gunners was capped in style as Xhaka scored for the third match in a row, heading home from Martin Odegaard’s brilliant cross.

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