Match report and highlights as Bukayo Saka keeps Arsenal at the top of the Premier League; a power cut caused a 40-minute stoppage after just 60 seconds; Patrick Bamford saw a goal and penalty chalked off as the striker also missed a spot kick; Gabriel’s red in added time also overturned
Bukayo Saka scores the winner at Elland Road
Bukayo Saka continued his fine form to keep Arsenal on top of the Premier League with a 1-0 win at Leeds – but the visitors were lucky to escape with victory as Patrick Bamford missed a second-half penalty.
In a bizarre start to the game, a power cut after 60 seconds forced a 40-minute suspension – but no spark was lost in a thrilling Elland Road encounter.
In an even first half where Leeds went toe-to-toe with the league leaders, Saka took advantage of Rodrigo’s needless crossfield ball to crash the Gunners into the lead with an emphatic finish.
Leeds replaced Rodrigo with Bamford at half-time – who changed the flow of the game. First, the striker saw a close-range finish controversially ruled out for offside for a push on Gabriel – before putting his spot kick wide after William Saliba handballed.
VAR struck again in stoppage time as Arsenal conceded a penalty and Gabriel was sent off for violent conduct on Bamford, but referee Chris Kavanagh was sent to the monitor and eventually gave a foul in the opposite direction.
The result moves Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal four points clear of Manchester City at the summit, ahead of the champions’ trip to Liverpool on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
In a bizarre start to the game, the match was one minute old when a power cut in the Beeston area of Leeds caused problems. While Leeds put the power back on quickly, VAR and HawkEye could not be connected and both sets of players were taken back to the dressing rooms.
After a 40-minute delay, play resumed and there was no let-up from Leeds. Luis Sinisterra’s rasping drive just seconds from the restart recovered any momentum the Elland Road crowd had lost in the stoppage.
The hosts were well worth their salt in the opening 20 minutes, with Sinisterra crashing a long-range drive into Aaron Ramsdale’s side-netting, while the Arsenal goalkeeper showed superb reflexes to deny Pascal Struijk from close range after a goalmouth scramble.
But Arsenal got a foothold in the game and managed to quieten down the Elland Road crowd who were almost waiting in anticipation for an opener. A swift counter-attack saw Gabriel Jesus scoop over the bar from close range, while Martin Odegaard’s free-kick was parried by Illan Meslier.
But the opener came from Leeds’ own hands – or rather the sweeping left boot of Rodrigo. Under no pressure in his own half, the Spaniard tried to find Striujk with a bizarre crossfield ball – which bounced into Saka’s path.
The England winger played a quick one-two with Odegaard before crashing a shot high into the net for a fifth goal in his last eight Arsenal starts.
Marsch punished Rodrigo for the blunder by taking him off at half-time and was in the thick of the action after 30 seconds – slamming the ball in from close range but referee Chris Kavanagh awarded a push in the back on Gabriel in the build-up.
The Leeds striker had another glorious chance as he went through on goal after William Saliba’s poor touch, but Ramsdale came out to close down the angle and save with his chest.
Saliba was caught sleeping again as he handled a bouncing ball in the box, which the rebooted VAR gave, and Bamford thought he had the chance to deservedly level for Leeds.
But the striker dragged his effort wide of Ramsdale’s left-hand post in a major let-off for the Gunners.
Leeds kept going and Brenden Aaronson fed Sinisterra in the box but a superb block by Gabriel stopped a simple tap-in, while Crysencio Summerville blased over in the box late after Aaronson’s cutback.
That Sinisterra chance summed up a frustrating afternoon for Marsch and Co – they battered on the Arsenal door all day but there was no way through.
But as stoppage time began, chaos ensued. Gabriel was adjudged to have kicked out at Bamford with the ball heading out of play. Referee Kavanagh discussed the incident with his assistant and awarded a penalty and a red card for violent conduct.
Arteta was livid with the decision and it wasn’t long until VAR struck again. Kavanagh went to the monitor to check a foul by Bamford on Gabriel in the first place – and reversed both the spot kick and the sending off.
A mad occasion which began and ended with VAR drama.