Arsenal 4-1 Leeds United: Jesus nets brace as Gunners restore eight-point lead over Man City
Gabriel Jesus scored a brace as Arsenal comfortably beat Leeds United to restore their eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
Jesus’ comeback since returning from his knee injury has been a steady one but it was completed just at the right time as he impressed in a victory which keeps Arsenal eight points clear at the top.
The Brazil international had not scored since October but converted a first-half penalty he had won himself. He later added the third after former Leeds United loanee Ben White doubled their advantage – Rasmus Kristensen pulling a goal back for Leeds before Granit Xhaka’s header sealed the points.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta had spoken about Jesus on the eve of the clash, saying his summer signing was ready to bring back the “chaos” that he had generated during a fine first few months in north London.
The Emirates Stadium had opened early to allow fans in to watch Manchester City’s game with Liverpool, with their title rivals eventually running out comfortable winners.
But it was an ex-City man who ensured the eight-point gap remained in tact as Jesus scored his first goals in 18 games to lead the Gunners to a straightforward victory.
Arsenal were slow out of the traps as struggling Leeds had a chance in the opening 15 seconds, Aaron Ramsdale forced into a good stop to prevent Kristensen breaking the deadlock.
Jesus then missed a fine chance to score, heading over from seven yards after being picked out unmarked in the centre of goal before Ramsdale was back in action to keep out Crysencio Summerville.
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Jack Harrison was next to sting the palms of Ramsdale before the hosts were presented with a fine opportunity to hit the front when former Arsenal youngster Luke Ayling caught Jesus with a stray boot having attempted to make a sliding challenge inside his own box.
Jesus dusted himself off to dispatch the resulting penalty straight down the middle of Illan Meslier’s goal, ending a six-month drought – which included three months out with a knee injury.
Ayling almost turned into his own goal as he fluffed his lines clearing away a long-range Gabriel Martinelli effort, the Brazilian aiming to score into an empty net after Meslier tore of his line only to play the ball straight into his path.
The Gunners doubled their lead early in the second half, White turning home a Martinelli cross at the far post for his second of the season.
Jesus would secure a brace finishing a Leandro Trossard cross from close range before making way for Bukayo Saka – who had dropped to the bench due to illness – with a little under an hour played.
Leeds pulled a goal back with 15 minutes remaining, Kristensen beating Ramsdale courtesy of a deflection off Oleksandr Zinchenko but there would be no grandstand finish as Xhaka headed home his third goal in as many games from a sublime Martin Odegaard pass.
The win kept Arsenal well clear at the top but defeat for Javi Gracia’s Leeds leaves them outside the relegation zone by a single point as he battles to keep the Yorkshire club in the top flight.
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