Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored his first ever Premier League hat trick as Arsenal bounced back from successive defeats to put four past Leeds United in a 4-2 win.
Back-to-back losses to Wolves and Aston Villa had put Mikel Arteta and his players under some pressure, but the Gunners dominated the visitors to the Emirates Stadium from the start, opening the scoring after just 13 minutes.
Aubameyang grabbed his first of the game by cutting inside off the left side in trademark fashion, finding the bottom corner with a reverse finish. And the forward doubled Arsenal’s advantage from the penalty spot after Bukayo Saka was felled by Illan Meslier.
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Hector Bellerin scored a third on the stroke of half time, firing home at the near post after some tidy passing play around the box, and Auabmeyang completed his hat trick after the break by converting an Emile Smith-Rowe cross with his head.
Pascal Struijk gave Leeds United a foothold in the contest with a powerful header from a Raphina corner kick with the visitors scoring a second through Helder Costa. That was, however, the extent of their fightback despite some Arsenal nerves.
The result sees Arsenal lift themselves up into the top half of the Premier League table, two points above Leeds and just two points behind rivals Tottenham Hotspur in ninth place.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
Image credit: Getty Images
TALKING POINT - Signs that Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe can play together
While there was much excitement over the January signing of Martin Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid, it wasn’t quite clear how Arteta planned to use the Norwegian following the emergence of Smith Rowe as Arsenal’s primary creative force. This provided some encouragement that the two midfielders can play in the same team together, with Odegaard and Smith Rowe very fluid in the roles they performed in this win. Arteta will surely try this again.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
Aubameyang netted his first hat trick as an Arsenal player with a right-footed strike, a finish from the penalty spot and a header at the back post. The 31-year-old’s productivity in front of goal has been questioned this season, but this was a demonstration of what he can offer Arsenal as the most gifted goalscorer at the club.
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Arsenal: Leno 6, Bellerin 8, Luiz 7, Gabriel 5, Cedric 6, Ceballos 7, Xhaka 5, Saka 8, Smith Rowe 8, Odegaard 6, Aubameyang 9. Subs - Willian 3, Elneny 4, Holding.
Leeds United: Meslier 4, Ayling 6, Struijk 6, Cooper 4, Alioski 5, Shackleton 5, Raphinha 7, Dallas 5, Klich 5, Harrison 4, Bamford 5. Subs - Costa 8, Roberts 7.
13’ GOAL! Arsenal 1-0 Leeds (Aubameyang): It's an opener for Arsenal and it's Aubameyang who has found the back of the net! The left-sided forward cut inside, confused Ayling with a stepover or two and then cut back a finish into the near corner! Excellent strike from Auabmeyang!
40' PENALTY! Saka is once again felled in the box and this time it's a certain spot kick! Meslier fouled him.
41’ GOAL! Arsenal 2-0 Leeds (Aubameyang pen): Aubameyang steps up to the penalty spot and makes no mistake, smashing home a shot from 12 yards out! Meslier went the wrong way, but there was no way he was getting there anyway! Right in the side netting!
45’ GOAL! Arsenal 3-0 Leeds (Bellerin): It's a third for the Gunners before the half time break! What a brilliant team goal that was! They created the chance through some neat passing and then Bellerin powers home the shot past Meslier at the near post! Three ahead!
49’ GOAL! Arsenal 4-0 Leeds United (Aubameyang): Arsenal are rampant! Leeds United gave up the ball cheaply inside their own half and Smith Rowe picked out Aubameyang at the back post! He heads home to clinch his first ever hat trick as a Premier League player!
57’ GOAL! Arsenal 4-1 Leeds United (Strujik): A lifeline for Leeds United, although it's probably too little too late for them. Struijk gets on the end of a corner kick delivery into the Arsenal penalty area and powers home a header from six yards out! What a header that was!
69’ GOAL! Arsenal 4-2 Leeds United (Costa): Oh! Hello? Leeds United have a second goal and all of a sudden they are back in this game! Costa got on the end of a low cross into the box and finished into the back of the Arsenal net! The away side aren't out of this yet! They believe!
78’ Aubameyang off the woodwork! So close to being a fourth goal for the Arsenal forward, but he crashes a strike off the bar! Meslier was beaten! That would have been a real stunner!
85’ Off the post! Inches away from being a fifth Arsenal goal. Saka was played through, but his low shot comes back off the far post and then a foul is committed to let Leeds off the hook.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is one of only three players to score a hat-trick in three of the top five European leagues, along with Alexis Sánchez and Salomon Kalou, since the start of the 2009-10 season.
- Leeds conceded three or more first-half goals for the fourth time in the Premier League this season, twice as many times as any other side.
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