Arsenal 2 (Chambers 55, Nketiah 69)
Leeds United 0
Ah well, that’s the Carabao Cup done for another year! This game panned out like most recent games at the Emirates; Leeds start well, look solid and have the balance of the play but can’t put any half chances away; then Arsenal come out for the second half looking more organised while Leeds make silly errors and the game is gone. Yes, we’ve done this a few times down there in recent times.
I apologise in advance for this report… too many pre-match sherbets have made the memory a little murky this morning! As it was on our last visit here, we spent pre-match in the Barrel Vaults at St Pancras and all I can say is… “A good time was had by all!” The singing of “Ole at the wheel” and hundreds of Leeds fans holding imaginary steering wheels will live long in the memory, long after this game is forgotten.
As to the game itself, well, the side we put out looked decent enough to give the Arsenal a game and, for 45 minutes we did. Chances, such as there were, could only be described as half-chances but we really ought to have done better with a couple of them. As it was, we couldn’t put them away and I started to get that familiar Arsenal away feeling at half time. Leeds had our old friend Eddie Nketiah in their line-up and I’m sure every Leeds fan in the ground knew he would have something to say in this game… much as we knew a few years ago that the arrival of Thierry Henry on the pitch in his second debut for the Gunners would be significant!
Leeds looked solid and composed if not overly dangerous in that first half and Adam Forshaw had looked to be pretty much in control of the midfield area, a bit of strength in there which maybe we’ve lacked recently. Replacing him at half-time may have been a recognition that he’s still working his way back to full fitness but whatever the reason, the arrival of Matty Klich on the field didn’t help our game. Then Leeds did the “giving of gifts thing” early this year and the Gunners were two goals up and out of reach of what had become in this second period a pretty toothless looking Leeds United.
As always, we say after our exit from the Carabao Cup that “it wasn’t that important” and no it isn’t in the great scheme of things. Far more important is the trip to Carrow Road on Sunday. Presumably the late withdrawals of Rodrigo and Dan James recognised that fact as Sam Greenwood and Crysencio Summerville replaced them to keep them safe and ready for Sunday while Joffy Gelhardt came on earlier and replaced Tyler Roberts. Joffy couldn’t work his magic this time but surely he has now demoted Roberts and will be first call after Rodrigo if we need firepower up front to beat the Canaries.
Arsenal Leeds Utd
Possession 44% 56%
Shots 14 14
On Target 4 5
Corners 10 4
Fouls Committed 5 12