Goal frame denies Leeds three times as 10-man Arsenal hold on for a point

Pepe struck the crossbar in a first half where Arsenal were largely on the back foot.

Patrick Bamford saw a header come back off the post
Patrick Bamford saw a header come back off the post

Leeds were denied by the goal frame three times as they failed to make their dominance count against 10-man Arsenal, who had Nicolas Pepe sent off but held on for a goalless Premier League draw.

Pepe struck the crossbar in a first half where Arsenal were largely on the back foot and the Gunners were under the pump even more when their winger was dismissed in the 51st minute after an apparent headbutt on Ezgjan Alioski.

Substitute Rodrigo hit the bar, Patrick Bamford saw a header come back off the post, while Raphinha’s strike from an acute angle hit the outside of the upright as Leeds settled for a point at Elland Road.

The hosts therefore bounced back after successive 4-1 defeats to Leicester and Crystal Palace but this felt like an opportunity missed against a side that was unable to find any fluency.

Arsenal lost 3-0 to Aston Villa before the international break and they were second best throughout here, with Leeds on the front foot from the off.

Raphinha was handed his first Leeds start since moving from Rennes last month and was lively early on, driving forward before slipping as he shot, perhaps undone by the rain that steadily fell for the first few minutes.

Some clever work on the left saw Jack Harrison feed an overlapping Alioski before the Macedonian pulled back to Bamford, whose toe-poke towards goal lacked sufficient power and was easily saved by Bernd Leno.

Arsenal were given little space to operate and lacked urgency but they came closest to scoring in the first half, Pepe’s cross-cum-shot from the left by-line dipping on to the crossbar before being cleared.

Thereafter Leeds piled on the pressure and after Luke Ayling’s cross had cannoned off the chest of Gabriel, Bamford was given another sight at goal but his instinctive volley was palmed away by a diving Leno.

The Gunners were becoming increasingly stretched with Kalvin Phillips pulling the strings in the centre on his return from a shoulder injury and Harrison on the left creating many opportunities for those around the edge of the area.

However, Raphinha, Stuart Dallas and Mateusz Klich were all wayward with their efforts, with Leeds unable to make their dominance count. They had 13 shots in the first half but only two were on target.

Pepe was sent off just after the break
Pepe was sent off just after the break (Paul Ellis/PA)

Reiss Nelson replaced the ineffective Willian before the resumption for Arsenal, who were reduced to 10 men when Pepe was sent off following an off-the-ball skirmish with Alioski.

Replays showed Pepe bringing his head towards Alioski – who went down clutching his face – and referee Anthony Taylor brandished a straight red to Arsenal’s club record signing after watching the altercation on a pitchside monitor.

Leeds came close to immediately capitalising on their man advantage, with Dallas’ left-foot strike destined for the top corner only for Leno, at full stretch, to parry over the bar.

Former Arsenal academy product Ayling’s first touch after being teed up by Raphinha allowed the visitors to clear their lines, while Rodrigo’s introduction off the bench saw Leeds step up their attacking intent.

The club record signing’s thunderous left-footed effort was just wide while another attempt from the edge of the box cannoned off the crossbar although they were almost caught cold in the final 10 minutes.

Substitute Bukayo Saka burst through on goal but after rounding Illan Meslier, the home goalkeeper recovered to get the crucial interception. Thereafter, it was all Leeds as they went in search of a winner.

However, Bamford’s header from Ian Poveda’s right-wing cross struck the post with Leno well beaten, while Raphinha’s effort from a narrow angle hit the outside edge of the upright – Leeds’ 25th effort on goal on a day they lacked a clinical edge.

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