News Live Scores
Leeds United v Arsenal

Arsenal have incredible 11 shots on target in first half vs lacklustre Leeds

20:00 IST 18/12/2021
Gabriel Martinelli Arsenal 2021-22
No side has managed more efforts on target in England's top flight since the 2003-04 season, as Mikel Arteta's men put on a show against the Whites

Arsenal recorded the most shots on target in a Premier League first half since at least 2003-04 in a stunning opening 45-minute display against Leeds United.

Marcelo Bielsa's under-strength side were given the run around against the Gunners - just a few days after going down 7-0 to Manchester City.

Unfortunately for Bielsa and his side, their defensive failings were shown up once again as Gabriel Martinelli struck twice, with Bukayo Saka also on the scoresheet, as the Gunners hit the target an incredible 11 times in just 45 minutes.

One-way traffic

The Gunners took just 16 minutes to open the scoring through Brazilian forward Martinelli.

Martinelli struck again just before the half-hour mark with a sublime dink, while Saka was also on target to send Mikel Arteta's charges into the break 3-0 up.

Were it not for Leeds' besieged goalkeeper Illan Meslier, though, the scoreline could have been even wider.

The Frenchman faced a total of 11 shots on target in the opening 45 minutes and, to his credit, managed to save eight of those efforts to limit the hosts' humiliation.

Not since the 2003-04 season, when Opta started recording shots on target data, has a side managed a tally as high as Arsenal's in the first half of a Premier League game.

The bigger picture

Saturday's match capped a miserable week for Leeds as Arsenal scored once more in the second half to secure a comfortable 4-1 victory.

Prior to losing to the Gunners, Bielsa's side went down 3-2 to Chelsea on December 11, with the Whites then capitulating to a 7-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City as they sit in 16th place in the table.

Rivals Burnley and Watford will not be able to close the gap for now, however, as their matches with Aston Villa and Crystal Palace respectively were called off due to rising cases of Covid-19, while Norwich City's meeting with West Ham also fell victim to the pandemic.

Arsenal, meanwhile, remain in the top four of the Premier League as they look to continue their recent recovery that has seen them win their last three matches, with the Leeds victory coming after triumphs over West Ham and Southampton respectively.

Further reading