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2022-23 English Premier League
  • Bukayo Saka (35')

Bukayo Saka winner helps Arsenal edge Leeds to stay top in VAR-impacted clash

Arsenal edged a tight affair with a 1-0 win against Leeds United at Elland Road to remain at the top of the Premier League on Sunday.

Bukayo Saka scored with a fantastic finish 10 minutes before half-time, and Mikel Arteta's side held on despite multiple Leeds chances in the second half in an ultimately uninspiring performance by the league leaders.

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"My heart is still racing but I'm just really happy to get the three points," Saka told Sky Sports. "It was a really tough game. Leeds did well, especially in the second half, and they put a lot of pressure on us.

"Big momentum for us, we've won another game. We need to keep this going and today we showed we can win no matter what."

Play was suspended for 40 minutes immediately after kick-off due to a VAR power outage. Sources told ESPN the hawkeye van had a power outage, meaning there was no communication between VAR and officials.

Both sides had chances in the first half but it was Arsenal who opened the scoring through Saka after 35 minutes.

Rodrigo's poor cross-field ball landed fortuitously for Saka, who charged forward and combined with Martin Odegaard before powering an emphatic right-footed finish past Illan Meslier.

Immediately after half-time, Leeds thought they had taken the lead through Patrick Bamford, however the striker was adjudged to have fouled Gabriel in the build-up and the goal was ruled out.

Arsenal struggled to impart their usual passing game in the second half due to Leeds' insistent pressing -- twice Arteta's side were nearly punished for slack passes in defence shortly after the break.

Jesse Marsch's side had the better of the Premier League leaders in the second half and their good play looked to finally reap reward when they were awarded a penalty an hour in after William Saliba was penalised for a handball.

Bamford, though, dragged the effort wide of the right post with Aaron Ramsdale diving the right way as Arsenal's poor second half continued to go unpunished.

Ramsdale was again forced into action as he acrobatically palmed away Brenden Aaronson's long-range strike.

And after relentless probing, Leeds managed to force late drama and thought they had another penalty.

Bamford charged into Gabriel who fell and kicked out at the Leeds forward, giving the hosts a stoppage-time penalty with a red card being dealt to the Arsenal defender. However, after consulting VAR, referee Chris Kavanagh changed his decision and brandished a yellow card to Gabriel, while also rescinding the penalty decision -- allowing Arsenal to see out their narrow win.

"It was a really good performance from us. Discipline, concentration over the entire match even with the late start," Marsch said.

"A performance that showed that when we play the way we want to play, we can be very good. That's the best team in the league right now and today we were better."

English Premier League Standings

POS Team GP GD PTS
1 Arsenal 19 +29 50
2 Manchester City 20 +33 45
3 Newcastle United 20 +22 39
4 Manchester United 20 +7 39
5 Tottenham Hotspur 21 +9 36
6 Brighton & Hove Albion 19 +10 31
7 Fulham 21 +2 31
8 Brentford 20 +4 30
9 Liverpool 19 +9 29
10 Chelsea 20 +1 29
11 Aston Villa 20 -4 28
12 Crystal Palace 20 -9 24
13 Nottingham Forest 20 -19 21
14 Leicester City 20 -7 18
15 Leeds United 19 -7 18
16 West Ham United 20 -8 18
17 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20 -18 17
18 AFC Bournemouth 20 -23 17
19 Everton 20 -13 15
20 Southampton 20 -18 15