Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the star of the show as Arsenal defeated Leeds United 4-2 in a high-scoring encounter at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
It took Arsenal just 13 minutes to open the scoring as captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as found the back of the net with a low effort after cutting in from the left. The Gunners then had a penalty claim ruled out by VAR after the referee had initially awarded it. However, another spot-kick was soon awarded to Mikel Arteta’s side for a foul on Bukayo Saka, and Aubameyang made no mistake from 12 yards out.
On the cusp of half-time, it was 3-0 for hosts as Hector Bellerin fired the ball into the net from a tight angle, catching Illan Meslier cold. The second-half began on the same note for Arsenal, with Aubameyang completing his hat-trick just two minutes after the break, heading in a cross from Emile Smith Rowe, to kill the game off.
Leeds United pulled a couple of goals back through Pascal Struijk and Helder Costa while Raphinha did test Bernd Leno on a few occasions. However, Arsenal held on to their lead, and could have actually added more, as both Aubameyang and Saka hit the woodwork in the latter stages as the game ended 4-2 in favour of the Londoners.
It was a strong display from Arteta’s men at the Emirates and here’s how we rated their performances against the Whites on Sunday evening.
Bernd Leno: 6/10
Didn’t have a great deal to do for large parts of the game. Did well to deny Raphinha on a couple of occasions. But, was let down by his defenders and will be disappointed to have let in two goals on the evening.
Hector Bellerin: 6.5/10
Hector Bellerin has scored his first Premier League goal at The Emirates since January 2018 against Chelsea.
1138 days between home goals. pic.twitter.com/xNkFKTONP2
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 14, 2021
Got forward well and showed good intent, which yielded him a goal on the verge of half-time. However, not always convincing at the back, with Raphinha causing problems, while also getting caught napping for Leeds’ second goal of the day. Needs to get tighter at the back.
David Luiz: 6.5/10
Back into the side after serving out his suspension, the Brazilian centre-half was fairly solid at the back, while showing positive intent when on the ball, pulling off a couple of neat dribbles in the first period. Should have done better in the lead-up to Struijk’s goal, however.
Gabriel Magalhaes: 6.5/10
Preferred over Rob Holding at the heart of the Gunners’ defence, the summer signing fared pretty well for the most part, ensuring Patrick Bamford had a quiet evening. There were a few nervy moments here and there, but pretty assured overall.
Cedric Soares: 6.5/10
Another game at left-back and another professional display from the former Southampton man. There were a few moments of good interplay with Smith Rowe, but his right-footed nature meant his threat from crosses was limited. Sound defensively.
Dani Ceballos: 7.5/10
Dani Ceballos appreciation post.
That nutmeg assist. 🤤 pic.twitter.com/xmiHxBpfH7
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) February 14, 2021
An impressive game from the on-loan Real Madrid midfielder who looked sharp from the get-go. Worked hard off the ball, displayed good quality on it. Got the assist for Bellerin’s goal with a delightful delivery. Faded as the game wore on, but a step in the right direction for Ceballos.
Granit Xhaka: 7.5/10
Another fine performance from the Switzerland international who has once again grown into one of the most reliable players for Arsenal. Added bite and steel in the middle of the park and kept things ticking at a sharpish pace, helping his team stay on the front foot. Got the assist for Aubameyang’s opening goal.
Bukayo Saka: 8.5/10
A livewire in attack, the Arsenal academy product caused all sorts of problems to the Leeds United defence, particularly to Ezgjan Alioski, who could just not come to terms with the teenage sensation. Drew plenty of fouls from the opposition including two inside the penalty box, one of which led to Aubameyang’s second of the evening. Hit the woodwork in the second period.
Bukayo Saka won more fouls  and completed more take-ons  than any other player on the pitch vs. Leeds United.
Already one of Arsenal’s key players. 🔑 pic.twitter.com/q04JKr08kL
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 14, 2021
Martin Odegaard: 6.5/10
Making his first start for Arsenal, the on-loan Real Madrid youngster was the quieter of the three Arsenal attacking midfielders against Leeds. Showed some skillful touches and good link-up play but wasn’t able to influence proceedings a great deal. Still, promising signs from the Norwegian.
Emile Smith Rowe: 7.5/10
Moved to the left flank in order to accommodate Odegaard in a central role, the youngster delivered once again, as he drifted into dangerous positions with good effect, linking up well with the rest of his attacking partners while also doing his bit off the ball. Got the assist for Aubameyang’s third goal of the evening.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 9/10
Back among the goals and in style, as the Arsenal captain scored his first Premier League hat-trick in what was a clinical display in front of goal. Starting as the centre-forward, Aubameyang was exceptional with his link-up play and movement while he showed the killer instinct in front of goal to bag three goals. Could have had a fourth, with his effort cannoning off the woodwork. A much-needed confidence booster.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Arsenal vs. Leeds:
◉ Most shots (5)
◉ Most shots on target (3)
◉ Most goals (3)
◉= Most chances created (2)
Rediscovered his goalscoring form. pic.twitter.com/USEMJoKRje
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 14, 2021
On for Smith Rowe a little after the hour mark. Did little of note apart from creating a chance for Saka.
Mohamed Elneny: N/A
Replaced Odegaard with less than 15 minutes left.
Rob Holding: N/A
Late substitute for Ceballos.