Leeds United 0
That was one that got away for me! We had a Big Six side on the ropes for virtually the whole of the game, they were playing with ten men for 40 minutes, and we amassed 25 shots at the Gunners’ goal. Folk will say it is always a good point against one of the top, better funded sides, but no, we should have buried them.
That we didn’t was down to a couple of things. Primarily it was that old chestnut of a poor conversion rate; only four of those 25 attempts hit the target and that really isn’t good enough at this or any other level. Marcelo warned us early in the season that we couldn’t expect to maintain the sort of conversion ratio we saw in the first few games… and he has been proven so right. We have to go back to that fabulous performance at Villa Park for the last time we had so many shots but that day we hit the target with 9 of our 27 attempts and, as we know, that was enough to grab three great goals. We saw in the Championship so many times what often happens when you dominate a game, have boat loads of shots, but fail to hit the target; usually with Leeds it’s that old sucker punch! We came close today too but some confident keeping from Illan Meslier at least stopped that happening again and it would have been a travesty if it had.
The second problem I felt we had was another one I’ve mentioned before; this side of ours needs the inspiration of a Pablo or, failing that, a Rodrigo, pulling our strings in midfield. Without either of them we never look likely to come up with that killer ball and we resort to what we saw so often today, someone like Robin Koch striding through that central area but then placing a far too predictable ball through the middle or to either wing. Hopefully we can start next time with one of the two Spanish magicians – I felt we looked far more dangerous once Rodrigo was on this evening. He's a different prospect to Pablo but both can do the job.
At the end of the day though the clean sheet is welcome and, let’s be honest, before the game we’d all have snatched the hand off anyone guaranteeing us a point in this one. The basic MO was all there; we had our regular domination of possession, the chances were there and, playing like that, we’ll win more than we lose, as long as we can find our shooting boots.
An opportunity missed today but we still look a good bet for a decent season and I'd expect us to win more than we'll lose if we continue to play like this.
Leeds Utd Arsenal
Possession 66% 34%
Shots 25 9
On Target 4 2
Corners 5 3
Fouls Committed 9 8