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Mikel Arteta hails power cut delay as Arsenal edge past Leeds United

Mikel Arteta hails power cut delay as Arsenal edge past Leeds United

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta claimed that “the delay was worth it” as the Gunners extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table with a 1-0 win over Leeds United, which was halted for over half an hour because of a power cut.

Less than a minute had gone at Elland Road before play was suspended due to a power outage, with the officials losing contact with VAR and goalline technology also failing.

Both sets of players were taken off the field, and not until 14:40 did play resume, after which Jesse Marsch‘s side enjoyed the better of the contest against an underwhelming Arsenal side.

However, the Gunners would edge the encounter courtesy of a well-taken Bukayo Saka goal, seeing them win nine games out of their first 10 in a Premier League season for the first time ever.

VAR did have to save Arsenal’s bacon in the dying embers, and speaking to the media after the victory, Arteta admitted that the outcome of the game could have been much different without working technology.

Arsenal's Bukayo Saka celebrates scoring their first goal with Gabriel Jesus on October 16, 2022© Reuters

“That delay was worth it. Without it I don’t know what would have happened. It’s always hectic at Leeds but we found a way to win,” Arteta said.

“Obviously, you go to the MLS, this is very common. When we were in pre-season there, the game can get delayed because time distance for three hours, five hours, before play restarts.

“Here, we are not used to that, and we had to adapt to it and give them time to resolve the issue. But it was important because VAR was really important and it would have made the game different.

“We made too many mistakes, failed to close the game in the first half but credit to Leeds in the second half. They were really, really good but I love the resilience, the fight, the character and the courage my team showed. We found a way to win.

“We left the game open and from the beginning – from the first whistle in the second half we started not at the rhythm, not making the right decisions time after time. We put ourselves in big trouble. But then when you get into those moments, I love the resilience, the fight the character and the courage the team showed to win the game.”

Arsenal's Gabriel Magalhaes and Leeds United's Patrick Bamford pictured on October 16, 2022© Reuters

Leeds were awarded a penalty just after the hour mark as VAR spotted a William Saliba handball, but Patrick Bamford dragged his spot kick wide as the Whites continued to threaten.

The Elland Road crowd thought their side had been handed another gilt-edged opportunity to level the contest in second-half injury time, as Gabriel Magalhaes was initially given a straight red card for kicking out at Bamford inside the area.

However, replays showed that Bamford had fouled Gabriel first, and the penalty and red card decision was overturned after Chris Kavanagh went to have a look at the monitor.

“I think the decision is clear. I haven’t looked back at it, but when everybody is telling me the same things, I think there are no complaints there,” Arteta added.

With Manchester City’s unbeaten run ending in a 1-0 loss to Liverpool later on Sunday, Arsenal now sit four points clear of the champions and Tottenham Hotspur at the top of the Premier League table.

The Gunners now have three days to recover before attempting to maintain their 100% record in the Europa League against PSV Eindhoven on Thursday night.

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