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What Mikel Arteta said to his players at half-time against Leeds United

Mikel Arteta told his players they needed to improve in the second half against Leeds United.

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Arsenal continued their impressive form in the Premier League with a comfortable 4-1 win over Leeds United on Saturday afternoon at the Emirates Stadium.

Gabriel Jesus’ penalty in the 35th minute gave Arsenal the lead in the first half despite not finding their fluency before Ben White added the second just after the restart in the 47th minute. 

Jesus grabbed his second in the 55th minute before Leeds United pulled one back through Rasmus Kristensen in the 76th minute. Granit Xhaka made sure there was no nervy end to the game with the fourth goal from Odegaard’s superb cross in the 84th minute.

Arsenal have relied on their fast start in matches this season to kill off opponents, but did not look as sharp against Leeds, giving away chances to the visitors.

Mikel Arteta in his post match conference says his team needed to improve in the second half despite taking the lead.

“The first thing is that we had to improve. Obviously the way that they set up, they were really man-marking our attacking midfielders and they played with four really fast players to cut us in transition. 

“We started to lose the ball in areas that we cannot do against a team that wants to defend that way. We improved that a lot, we exploited all of the spaces and we changed a little bit the shape and position of a few players, and we were more fluid attacking in the final third very close to the box with good numbers and good positions. We looked a threat.”

The Gunners were looking to respond to Manchester City’s 4-1 win over Liverpool which reduced their lead at the top of the table to five points, and they responded in an emphatic fashion.

READ MORE: Three things we learnt: Arsenal 4-1 Leeds United

Having been on a six game winning run before the international break, Arteta made changes to his side, with Jesus replacing Bukayo Saka who missed training on Thursday due to illness, and moved Trossard to the right of the attack.

Arteta added: 

“We have players now who need a little bit of space and freedom and those interactions I think contribute to the team and make the opponent more conscious and worried about those rotations. It’s a little more difficult for them to defend and they also like it, they feel better, they feel free doing it and they have our blessing to do it.”

The win takes Arsenal to seven consecutive victories in the league, the first time the team have managed such a run of form under Mikel Arteta. 

According to Opta: Arsenal has the best 100% win record in the Premier League on April 1st, winning all seven games by an aggregate score of 25-3. The league leaders have also won three consecutive Premier League games by a margin of 3+ goals for the first time since October 2015.

Arsenal’s next three matches in the league will see them travel to Anfield to face Liverpool on April 9, and a trip to the London Stadium to face West Ham on April 16, before welcoming Southampton on April 21.

NEXT ARTICLE: PLAYER RATINGS: Arsenal 4-1 Leeds United

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