Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bagged his first Premier League hat-trick as Arsenal ended a three-match winless run in the top flight with a riveting 4-2 win over Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Arsenal wasted no time in getting on the front foot, pressing high up the pitch from the first whistle and taking the lead through Aubameyang as early as the 13th minute.
Arsenal’s urgent pressing then won them a 34th-minute penalty that VAR subsequently overturned. However, Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier conceded another one five minutes later, with Aubameyang making no mistake from the spot.
The Leeds defense was caught out once more on the stroke of half-time. A neat passage of play from Arsenal ended with Hector Bellerin catching Meslier out at his near post to make it 3-0 in favor of the hosts.
Arsenal picked up where they left off in the second half as Aubameyang completed his hat-trick in the 47th minute, heading home Emile Smith Rowe’s cross at the back post.
Pascal Struijk handed Leeds a lifeline by powering a header home from a corner in the 58th minute before Helder Costa halved the deficit in the 69th as the visitors injected new life into the game.
However, Leeds left themselves with too much to do in the second. They eventually ended up on the losing side, ceding 10th position in the table to their opponents, who moved up from 11th to the top half.
Bernd Leno: 5/10
The German shot-stopper barely had anything to do in the whole game except pick the ball out of his net twice. He had no chance with either one of Leeds’ goals and was virtually untested for the rest of the game.
Hector Bellerin: 6/10
Bellerin was rewarded for his attacking intent and willingness to bomb forward with a first-half goal. However, he would have liked to have done better for Leeds’ goals in the second as the away side threatened to mount a comeback.
David Luiz: 5/10
Luiz took full advantage of being able to travel large distances with the ball. He was often found in advanced positions in the first half, offering support as his side put together a series of attacks.
However, Luiz was found lacking in defense in the second half and was comprehensively beaten to the ball by Struijk for Leeds’ first goal.
Gabriel Magalhaes: 6/10
Gabriel showcased his pace, power, and defensive positioning on a number of occasions when Leeds attacked the Arsenal goal in numbers. He showed impressive resolve even when his side were put under pressure in the second half.
Cedric Soares: 5/10
The Portuguese international continues to be an able deputy for the absent Kieran Tierney, replicating the Scotsman’s attacking intent but perhaps not offering as much assuredness in defense.
Dani Ceballos: 6/10
Replacing Thomas Partey in midfield, Ceballos turned in a positive showing, regularly beating the Leeds press and bringing the ball forward from the back with some intent.
Ceballos also claimed the assist for Bellerin’s goal with a cute nutmeg that sent his fellow Spaniard through on goal.
Granit Xhaka: 5/10
Fast emerging as Arsenal’s midfield constant, Xhaka was content to sit deep, keep the ball moving, and keep Leeds at bay, freeing up Ceballos to play a more dynamic role.
Bukayo Saka: 7/10
Saka continues to enhance his reputation as one of the world’s brightest young talents every time he takes to the pitch. The youngster caused Leeds all sorts of problems with his pace and dribbling ability down the right flank.
Having won his side two penalties in the first half (even though VAR later overturned one), Saka also played an important role in his side’s third goal. He was a constant threat for the Leeds backline.
Martin Odegaard: 5/10
A tidy performance from the Real Madrid loanee on his first start for his new club, linking up well with his fellow attackers and displaying a high level of quality in possession.
Emile Smith Rowe: 6/10
Playing out on the left wing for this one, Smith Rowe was full of positive running. He was heavily involved in Arsenal’s attacking play, claiming the assist for Aubameyang’s third goal before being taken off for Willian just past the hour mark.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 9/10
Back in the side and back among the goals was the Arsenal skipper, who showed excellent instincts and finishing to bag his first Premier League hat-trick for his side en route to a crucial win.
While the three goals would have done his confidence a world of good, Aubameyang could have easily had more, striking the woodwork with a shot in the second half as well.
Willian replaced Smith Rowe in the second half but struggled to impact the game as Leeds retained the majority of the possession in their quest to mount a comeback.
Mohamed Elneny: 5/10
Elneny replaced Odegaard for the final 10 minutes as Arsenal looked to shore things up at the back. The Egyptian put himself about in midfield to thwart Leeds’ repeated forays forward.
Rob Holding: N.A.
Holding was brought on in the final seconds to help close out the game and barely got a touch of the ball.