Nelson sends Arsenal into fourth round

Reiss Nelson scored early in the second half as Arsenal secured a 1-0 win over Championship leader Leeds United in the FA Cup third round at The Emirates here.
Nelson sends Arsenal into fourth round
Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta


Nelson put a near full-strength home side ahead in the 55th minute, scrappily side-footing the ball into the net after the Leeds defence was caught out by an Alexandre Lacazette cross. Arsenal, which has won the world’s oldest cup competition a record 13 times, visits fellow Premier League side Bournemouth in the fourth round.

Leeds had taken the game to Arsenal straight from the whistle, pushing forward and blasting 11 shots on goal to the host’s one in the first 25 minutes. The tourist dominated possession and striker Patrick Bamford was unlucky not to score after 15 minutes. The forward collected the ball from Jack Harrison but curled his close-range shot onto the bar. Arsenal by contrast looked a shadow of the side which beat Manchester United 2-0 in the Premier League on New Year’s Day. But Mikel Arteta’s team looked a different unit in the second half, with Lacazette whipping an early free-kick off the bar and David Luiz going close before Nelson struck.

“Leeds is a great team and it pressed us. We didn’t expect that. We got the goal in the end and that is the most important thing,” said Nelson. “This will give us confidence to go forward.” Arsenal manager Arteta gave the players a firm talking to at half-time, although the manager made it sound less daunting.

“Now, I’m really pleased but we saw two different teams in the first and second halves. I tried to tell the players exactly what they were going to face,” said Arteta.

“We changed our attitude, desire and organisation at half-time and then, we were completely different. It was good for my players to learn and to suffer on the pitch.” Both sides fielded second-string keepers — with Emiliano Martinez coming in for Arsenal and Illan Meslier for Leeds.

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