Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rediscovered his achievements with his first Premier League hat-trick in a 4-2 victory over Leeds on Sunday.
Aubameyang put the hosts ahead in the 13th minute at Emirates Stadium, annoying Leeds right-back Luke Ayling with a series of stepposts before missing him. The striker then squeezed a shot between Isling and Liam Cooper to beat the goalkeeper on a nearby crossbar.
Aubameyang’s penalty in the 41st minute gave Arsenal a second, and right-back Hector Belerin scored the team’s third goal shortly before half-time after a good game. Aubameyang finished off his hat-trick when midfielder Emil Smith Rowe set up his captain to head home in the 47th.
“I thought he was great today,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told Aubameyang. “He had a great performance.”
This was a difficult time for Aubameyang, as he struggled for form and dealt with personal problems – taking time to care for his sick mother. He had restarted to regain his shape when he suddenly went to be with his mother for a few days.
“It was a difficult time for me, but now it’s time to get my smile back, win matches and score goals,” Aubameyang said as she pulled him by the arm.
Leeds returned to the game in the second half, with manager Marcelo Bielsa making a double substitution. Pascal Struke scored with a header from a corner to beat goalkeeper Bernd Leno in the 58th. Visitors got a second in ’69 when Helder Costa slipped past Leno after being prepared by Deputy Tyler Roberts.
Arsenal climbed to 10th place with 34 points after losing a two-game losing streak.
“Life is very different when you win,” Arteta said.
Leeds, meanwhile, dropped to 11th place with 32 points.
Arsenal beat the guests in their own game in the first half, with high pressure and attacking intensity. Leeds were missing midfielder Calvin Phillips, who is recovering from a calf injury, and Arsenal managed to exploit the space in the middle to accumulate forward.
Arsenal controlled the first half and were happy to leave the ball to Leeds during spells, especially as the Gunners moved on. Minutes after Aubameyang’s goal, Bielsa’s disappointment showed when he kicked a glass from the goal line.
The Argentine manager’s frustration continued to grow as he shouted at his players to push higher and run faster. But the negligence of his players allowed Arsenal to take control in the first half.
Referee Stuart Atwell twice indicated the place in the match, the first of which was canceled after a video review revealed that Cooper did not trip Bukayo Saka in the penalty area. When Atwell signaled another penalty minutes later, there was no need for VAR to intervene.
Leeds goalkeeper Elon Mellie was negligent when he received a return pass and when Saka attacked the ball, Mellie fouled him. Aubameyang stepped up and his accurate shot easily beat Meslier, whose performance in the first half he would want to forget quickly. The Frenchman was also beaten twice on his near post, first by Aubameyang and then with a strong Bellerin finish.
Bielsa was happier with the way his team played in the second half, but was not impressed with the performance in the first half. He said his team could not cope with the defensive midfielders of Arsenal, Granit Jaka and Danny Chebalos.
“We didn’t defend ourselves well,” he said. “We didn’t defend well because the ball went from back to front in front of Arsenal.”