Football365 Arsenal 2-1 Leeds United: Nketiah nets brace against old club as Gunners close in on Chelsea

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Eddie Nketiah scored a brace for Arsenal as the hosts picked up an important victory over Leeds United, who played most of the game with ten men.

Eddie-Nketiah-scores-for-Arsenal-vs-Leeds

© PA ImagesEddie-Nketiah-scores-for-Arsenal-vs-Leeds

This result leaves Arsenal on the cusp of a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Nketiah looked to all-but seal the points as he scored twice inside the opening ten minutes. Luke Ayling was sent off before the half-hour mark to make matters worse for Leeds. Diego Llorente later scored a consolation.

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Everton’s victory at Leicester saw Leeds drop into the bottom three at just the wrong time of the season, with Chelsea next up on Wednesday night.

For Arsenal, whose manager Mikel Arteta signed a new three-year deal on Friday, they now know victory at the home of north London rivals Tottenham on Thursday will ensure a first season of Champions League football for five years.

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The hosts took the lead early on when Nketiah capitalised on a poor touch from Illan Meslier, closing down the goalkeeper and forcing the ball home.

Nketiah doubled the advantage with a well-taken finish from 12 yards as he turned home Gabriel Martinelli’s low cross having stood completely free inside the Leeds box.

Enjoying their football, Bukayo Saka picked up a delightful flick from Martin Odegaard but shot straight at Meslier.

Things went from bad to worse for Leeds as Ayling was sent off, the skipper seeing red for a two-footed lunge on Martinelli after referee Chris Kavanagh was advised by VAR to review the decision on the pitchside monitor.

Arsenal looked to make their numerical advantage pay, Odegaard forcing a good stop out of Meslier from a free-kick before Llorente hooked the loose ball off his own goal line.

Leeds traipsed off at the break having failed to register a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes – but Arsenal appeared to take their foot off the gas when the game resumed.

Meslier went largely untested during the opening minutes and Leeds struck with their first effort of the game as Llorente popped up at the back post to turn home Junior Firpo’s flick on from a corner.

The hosts toiled in their attempts to put the game to bed with a third goal, with Arteta turning to Nicolas Pepe and Emile Smith Rowe off the bench to freshen things up.

Leeds, though, remained a threat, Meslier coming forward for a late corner as tension grew around the Emirates.

He was back in the Arsenal box for a last-gasp free-kick which saw Rodrigo’s flick saved by Aaron Ramsdale, and the final whistle signalled a deep sigh of relief from the majority within the Emirates.

Arsenal 2-1 Leeds United: Nketiah nets brace against old club as Gunners close in on Chelsea (msn.com)

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