Saka keeps the lights on! Arsenal winners, losers & ratings as Gunners avoid power cut after penalty & red card scares at Leeds

Bukayo Saka Arsenal Leeds 2022-23
Getty
A testing trip to Elland Road posed plenty of challenges for Mikel Arteta’s side, but they came through them all with flying colours

A power cut and Patrick Bamford penalty threatened to ruin Arsenal’s trip to Leeds, but Bukayo Saka ensured the Gunners would not be left in the dark.

Mikel Arteta’s men remain at the top of the Premier League table, with 27 points to their name, after edging an entertaining encounter with Jesse Marsch’s Whites which had a bit of everything.

Arsenal have now taken nine wins from 10 top-flight fixtures this season, with Manchester United the only side to have found a way of disrupting what has been serene progress from the north London outfit.

Leeds posed them plenty of problems, on and off the field, but this Gunners team are made of stern stuff and continue to show that they have plenty of graft to go with the guile.

  1. The Winners
    Getty Images

    The Winners

    Bukayo Saka:

    Saka has now scored in his last three appearances across all competitions, and is enjoying a serious purple patch. Having bagged a match-winning brace against Liverpool and his decisive strike at Bodo/Glimt, Saka was at it again versus Leeds. A bizarre cross-field pass from Rodrigo gifted possession to Martin Odegaard, who rolled a perfectly-weighted pass into the path of Saka to crash high into the roof of the net from a tight angle – with his right foot, no less!

    Martin Odegaard:

    There appears to be multiple versions of the Norwegian midfielder on the pitch at times, as he pops up absolutely everywhere. The Arsenal captain looks to lead by example and was full of clever touches and quick feet in West Yorkshire. He moves the ball so well and most of the Gunners’ best work goes through him – with Saka’s goal teed up by his skipper. Fired in plenty of strikes himself, most of which were from distance, and poses a threat anywhere inside the opposition half.

    Aaron Ramsdale:

    Looks to be have nailed down his spot in England’s plans for the 2022 World Cup, with there a chance he could be given the No.1 shirt by the Three Lions. Has earned plenty of plaudits for his distribution, but remains a fine shot-stopper as well. Pulled off a few smart saves against Leeds, in both halves, and going the right way may have forced Bamford to drag his penalty a little wider than he intended as he realised that the bottom corner would have to be found.

  2. The Losers
    Getty Images

    The Losers

    Match officials:

    There was less than a minute on the clock when this eagerly-anticipated encounter and vibrant atmosphere were brought to a shuddering halt. Referee Chris Kavanagh was unable to communicate with his fellow officials, meaning that play was suspended for around 40 minutes. Those in attendance made their feelings clear about VAR, with Premier League stadiums enduring a testing weekend on the technology front following a PA system failure at St James’ Park ahead of the opening game in the Rugby League World Cup.

    Centre-halves:

    Another clean sheet for the Gunners, with stability at the back serving them well, but their centre-half pairing endured a rare nervy afternoon against Leeds. Gabriel Magalhaes rarely looks comfortable in possession and was a tad fortunate to see a Patrick Bamford effort early in the second half ruled out for a slight nudge. William Saliba then presented the Leeds No.9 with a sight of goal moments later, which was snuffed out by Aaron Ramsdale, before conceding a penalty for handball on the hour mark which Bamford fired wide. Gabriel was then shown a stoppage-time red card, after tangling with Bamford again, though that was rescinded following a VAR review.

    Takehiro Tomiyasu:

    With Oleksandr Zinchenko ruled out through injury at present, Tomiyasu has been asked to fill an unnatural role at left-back. More at home on the right of a back four, Tomiyasu initially caught the eye when the tactical experiment was implemented against Liverpool. He looked less comfortable when charged with the task of containing Leeds’ boundless energy, though, enduring a few nervy moments that required defensive colleagues to dig him out of the odd hole. Kieran Tierney eventually came on to provide balance.

  3. Arsenal Ratings: Defence
    Getty Images

    Arsenal Ratings: Defence

    Aaron Ramsdale (7/10):

    Did his bit in the securing of a shut-out with a collection of smart stops.

    Ben White (6/10):

    Enjoyed a relatively quiet afternoon against his former loan employers.

    William Saliba (6/10):

    Conceded a penalty and looked uncharacteristically nervy at times.

    Gabriel Magalhaes (5/10):

    Never looked entirely comfortable and could easily have seen his late red card stand.

    Takehiro Tomiyasu (6/10):

    Looked uncomfortable at left-back and was eventually shifted to the right.

  4. Midfield
    Getty Images

    Midfield

    Thomas Partey (6/10):

    Did his job of sitting deep and reinforcing the defence, particularly in the second half.

    Granit Xhaka (7/10):

    Finds space between the lines so well and can always be relied upon to get stuck in.

    Martin Odegaard (8/10):

    Such a classy operator and remains the man to make Arteta’s side tick.

  5. Attack
    Getty Images

    Attack

    Bukayo Saka (7/10):

    Saw Leeds double up on him, but still managed to grab another goal.

    Gabriel Martinelli (7/10):

    Bright on the ball when given a chance to open up and tracked back well.

    Gabriel Jesus (6/10):

    Got little change out of the Leeds defence on a frustrating afternoon for the Brazilian.

  6. Subs & Manager
    Getty Images

    Subs & Manager

    Fabio Vieira (5/10):

    Fresh legs after Odegaard ran himself into the ground.

    Kieran Tierney (5/10):

    Helped to provide balance at left-back.

    Eddie Nketiah (5/10):

    Flicked a late corner into the side-netting..

    Rob Holding (5/10):

    Late introduction and barely had a kick.

    Mikel Arteta (6/10):

    Realised that he needed to change things when Leeds pegged Arsenal back after the break.