Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa delivered his verdict over his side’s 4-2 defeat at the hands of Arsenal last night.
Mikel Arteta’s men absolutely dominated the first half. We scored three but we could easily have scored a couple more. Leeds didn’t look anything like their usual self, and that made things very easy for us.
Our transition from defence to attack was as smooth as it has been this season, and their midfielders simply could not handle our movement.
Bielsa was asked about his side’s problems in the first half and the Leeds boss admitted that his boys could not control two of Arsenal’s most influential players last night.
He told Leeds Live: “For me, one of the most difficult things to neutralise from the opponents was how their two defensive midfielder play. You watch closely in the first half, one of the biggest things for us was that we didn’t manage to control Xhaka and Ceballos.
“I think the biggest issue that we had was that we were not able to neutralise the circulation between the two centre-backs and the two centre-mids in the first half.
“We would have defended better or we would have defended well if we had stopped the influence of number eight (Ceballos) and number 34 (Xhaka). I prepared the team to avoid this happening. Clearly, the opposing manager prepared well his team to avoid us from achieving this.”
Arsenal Insider’s view:
Both Xhaka and Ceballos were incredible yesterday. The Swiss international has been in tremendous form over the last two months and it is no surprise that he held his own against Leeds to help us get the win.
Ceballos, on the other hand, had one of his best games in an Arsenal shirt. He filled in for Thomas Partey brilliantly, provided incredible balance in midfield and his assist for Hector Bellerin’s goal was absolutely brilliant.
Partey isn’t expected to return any time soon. Ceballos is likely to get a regular run of games next to Xhaka and if he can perform as well as he did yesterday, we will have no problems at all in the middle of our park.