Creative Soccer Culture

Framed #179: Arsenal v Leeds United

Capping off a fine hat-trick of ‘Framed’ instalments from the Third Round of the FA Cup and still waiting for a proper upset, we headed to the Emirates Stadium to see Premier League side Arsenal taking on Championship front-runners, Leeds United.

Arsenal v Leeds saw two men at the opposite ends of the managerial-experience ladder going head to head: in the red corner was Mikel Arteta, fresh to this management lark, but having learnt his trade from one of the best in the business. And in the white corner was Marcel Bielsa, often referenced in conversations pertaining to the top tacticians of this generation. For Leeds, whose continual quest to return to the promised land of the Premier League could well finally come to a fruitful at the end of this season should they continue the way they are, this was a perfect test of their credentials, while for Arsenal it was another opportunity for Arteta to test the mettle of his inherited squad.

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Being the final fixture in the Third Round, the game also merited extra attention due to the Fourth Round draw, an event that all those who have already qualified naturally have a vested interest in. And once people had watched that, well, may as well hang on for another 90 minutes. Similarly to Everton’s first half performance against Liverpool, Leeds just couldn’t take their opportunities, carving out chance after chance in the first half against a ragged Arsenal backline and doing everything apart from hitting the back of the net. 

And so half time saw one of the first occasions when Arteta would have had to draw on all his experiences as a player and from everything he had learnt working under Pep Guardiola… to give his team a good old fashioned bollocking. But it had the desired effect, and Arsenal came out on the front foot with the crowd responding in kind, roaring their team forward; the Emirates finally seeing the football that they'd hoped for.

It was Reiss Nelson who eventually broke the deadlock, scrambling home after a nice move from the Gunners. Granted, it was hardly the prettiest goal you’ll ever see in your life, but it was enough to seal the win and to see Arsenal progress into the Fourth Round where they’ll face a trip to the south coast for a clash with Bournemouth. Job done.

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Photography by Kieran Clarke for SoccerBible.

Follow the 2019-20 FA Cup on the BBC Across TV, radio and online.

Daniel Jones

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