Arteta explains how Leeds made life ‘so difficult’ for Arsenal; rates first Odegaard start

Date published: Sunday 14th February 2021 7:12 - Samuel Bannister

Mikel Arteta admitted that Leeds made things “so difficult” for Arsenal, but was pleased that his side came out on top.

Arsenal found themselves 4-0 up against Leeds early in the second half. However, their visitors threatened a surprise fightback by clawing back two goals.

In the end, Arsenal had already done the damage, meaning they move above Leeds in the table.

It has been a season of ups ands downs for Arteta’s side, but Sunday’s game was an example of what they can achieve when things go well.

Arteta told Sky Sports: “I’m very pleased with the result and very, very happy with the performance against a fantastic team that makes life so difficult for you. We handled the situations well.

“At half time I told them there’s a team that will never give up and throw everything at you. They made it hard.

“You have 45 minutes – every action you have to be on full gas. You have 15 minutes’ break then it’s another 45 minutes.

“It was great [to score four goals]. The amount of chances created and the type of goals we scored. The confidence it gives playing against a team that are constantly pressing.”

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The game provided Arteta an opportunity to give January loan signing Martin Odegaard a first start for Arsenal.

The manager was pleased with the Real Madrid loanee’s output.

He said: “To play in his league start against Leeds, to run the way he did, the way he was comfortable. He was great.”

Arteta glad to have Aubameyang back

The win was largely inspired by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who, returning to start as a centre-forward, scored his first hat-trick in the Premier League.

Like his team as a whole, Aubameyang has struggled for consistency this season due to a number of issues. However, Arteta is simply glad to have him back to his best.

The Spaniard added to the BBC: “We have been missing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goals and him at his best.

“He as been training after difficult period with a family issue and we had a feeling he could be key in this game. He was in pain and got a big kick, twisted his ankle but hopefully he will be fine [for Thursday’s Europa League game].”

MATCH REPORT: Aubameyang fires first Prem hat-trick as Arsenal see off late Leeds threat

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