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

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Martin Odegaard, Granit Xhaka Arsenal celebration TEAMtalk

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a hat-trick as Arsenal proved too much for Leeds in a 4-2 win at the Emirates Stadium, despite signs of a surprise comeback.

There were no goals between the two sides in their previous meeting this season, but the return fixture saw much more goalmouth action.

Leeds fielded a makeshift backline for the game, with Luke Ayling slotting in at centre-back.

Arsenal took advantage of that when Aubameyang opened the scoring in the 13th minute.

The striker cut in from the left, firing in a shot which went between Ayling and Liam Cooper and in at the near post.

Ayling won the next chapter of his individual battle with Aubameyang, when he blocked a shot from the Arsenal captain from close range.

Soon after, Cooper brought down Bukayo Saka in the area to give away a penalty. However, referee Stuart Atwell overturned the decision after checking with VAR.

Arsenal did have a penalty, though, when Illan Meslier was caught dawdling on the ball. As Saka hunted him down, the Leeds goalkeeper clipped the Arsenal youngster.

This time the decision to award a penalty stood, and Aubameyang powered it home, sending Meslier the wrong way.

There was time for a third goal before the half-time break. Arsenal showed patient build-up play, with Bukayo Saka dribbling across the box and laying the ball off.

A cross went back in the direction Saka had come from, which Hector Bellerin headed down for Martin Odegaard.

The January signing, making his first start for Arsenal, set up fellow Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos, who fed the ball back to Bellerin. The full-back supplied the finishing touches and sent the ball past Meslier to make it 3-0.

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After scoring towards the end of the first half, Arsenal also did so near the beginning of the second.

Aubameyang headed in a cross from Emile Smith Rowe to complete his first ever Premier League hat-trick.

Leeds threaten unlikely comeback

It seemed the game was already lost for Leeds, so when Pascal Struijk headed in his first goal for the club in the 58th minute, it looked like just a consolation.

However, they took another step towards an unlikely comeback when Helder Costa grabbed their second goal 10 minutes later. Technically, there was still plenty of time for them to get the two more goals they needed.

Leeds then had appeals for a penalty when Patrick Bamford tumbled over in the box. The referee did not agree, though, and Arsenal went straight down the other end, with Aubameyang hitting the bar.

The woodwork denied Arsenal again when Saka hit the post a few minutes later, but he had been offside anyway.

Leeds had a chance to reduce the deficit further when Ayling sent a cross along the floor, but the ball was cleared.

Ultimately, Leeds had given themselves too big of an ask to get anything from the game. Arsenal held on to their lead to pick up all three points.

It moves them above Leeds in the table in the process, although their opponents have played one game less.