Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Martin Odegaard plan works for Mikel Arteta

Arsenal v Leeds: Match in pictures

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta’s decision to select Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Martin Odegaard paid off as the Gunners defeated Leeds United 4-2. Aubameyang scored a hat-trick, with Odegaard also impressing on his first Premier League start.

The Gabon forward has not started for Arsenal since the 3-0 victory over Newcastle last month after being absent to deal with a personal family matter.

But after he came off the bench against Wolves and Aston Villa, Arteta decided to select him as the leading striker against Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds.

And the decision to restore Aubameyang paid off, as he cut inside Luke Ayling before firing past Illan Meslier to hand Arsenal a 13th-minute lead.

He went on to make it two four minutes before the break when he stepped up to dispatch a penalty after Meslier had brought down Bukayo Saka inside the box.

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He completed his hat-trick just two minutes into the second-half, heading Emile Smith-Rowe’s cross past Meslier.

Sunday’s hat-trick was Aubameyang’s first in the Premier League, and his first within the top five European leagues since September 2017, when he played for Borussia Dortmund.

Before the game, Arteta had revealed that the decision to select Aubameyang was because of weak links Arsenal had spotted in Leeds.

“It’s great, he needed a little bit of time. He’s spent a few days without any training sessions, away with the family,” Arteta told Sky Sports.

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“He’s back, he’s been training well and that’s why he’s in the team today. He’s playing through the middle as part of the game plan and something we think we can exploit against them. Let’s see if it works.”

Arteta also took the decision to hand Odegaard his first start for the Gunners since joining from Real Madrid on loan.

The Norwegian has made a couple of substitute appearances against Manchester United and Aston Villa afterarriving last month.

And he impressed when handed his chance to start by Arteta, adding the creativity that has been missing from Arsenal’s midfield.

The Arsenal boss revealed in his pre-match interview that Odegaard had earned the chance to make his first start with his performances in training.

“He’s had a really good path the last two weeks where he’s been playing some parts of games. He’s been training really good and deserves a chance to start,” Arteta said.

Hector Bellerin had made it 3-0 on the stroke of half-time, before Pascal Struijk rose above the Arsenal defence to plant a header firmly past Bernd Leno in the second-half.

Helder Costa then gave Leeds hope of a remarkable comeback with a strike 21 minutes from time, but the Gunners ultimately ran out comfortable winnners.

The victory means Arsenal now lie tenth in the Premier League, and are just five points from Chelsea, who are fifth.

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