Monday, January 10, 2011

Leeds: A Tale of Two Penalties

Iffy home form raises its ugly head again: Arsenal 1-1 Leeds

The Emirates is far from a fortress this season. There have been defeats against West Brom and Newcastle; the turning of a 2-0 lead into a 3-2 loss against Spurs; and a general air of tension even in ultimately successful games.

Arsenal's second team, though better on paper than many of our previous second teams, lacks leadership and spark and Leeds presented them with some problems.

Their previously leaky defence was good enough to comfortably repel most of Arsenal's attacks until they tired late on and the home side's pressure finally told in the shape of Fabregas's penalty.

Worrying that Arsenal again managed to concede despite playing practically the whole game in the opposition half. Denilson is no longer a first team pick so it is disappointing that he continues to show lethargy when he does get a chance. Leeds' broke down the left, but the attack was slowed down and the Brazilian should have been busting a gut to close the space occupied by Max Gradel. Instead he jogged back, and the Ivorian easily sidestepped his clumsy challenge- definite penalty.

Snodgrass blasted the penalty under Szczesny and Arsenal were on the brink of their first 3rd round exit under Wenger.

Again, the introduction of Theo Walcott made a difference. By the last ten minutes or so, Leeds were simply too tired to deal with his pace. He ran onto Arshavin's scooped through ball but only fired straight into Schmeichel's arms. Then he dived without reward. Then he was tugged back in the box before the keeper saved his effort and a penalty was rightly given- and the scores levelled in the 90th minute.

Arsenal had three chances to win it. Denilson's blast from the edge of the box was brilliantly tipped wide. Bendtner shanked horribly with his left foot from the captain's long through ball. And Walcott could only fire a short-range effort into the side netting at the death.

Leeds probably deserved their replay but Arsene Wenger won't appreciate the extra game.

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