Gabriel Jesus scored twice as Arsenal regained their eight-point lead at the Premier League summit with a 4-1 win over Leeds United.
Jesus marked his first start since November, scoring goals in every half at the Emirates Stadium, with Ben White and Granit Xhaka also scoring goals for Arsenal.
Despite Manchester City applying pressure with their 4-1 win over Liverpool earlier on Saturday, Mikel Arteta’s team did not relent, comfortably claiming their seventh consecutive league win.
Rasmus Christensen’s goal brought hope to Leeds before Xhaka turned it into mere consolation for the away side, who are out of the relegation zone on goal difference alone.
Leeds scared the league leaders in the first minute when Christensen made a smart reflex save from Aaron Ramsdale.
Ramsdale was needed again after Jesus moved to the other end, giving up Crisensio Summerville after a precise one-two with Mark Rock, at the same time he also kept Jack Harrison from a tight corner.
But after weathering the storm, Arsenal drew first blood 10 minutes before half-time as Jesus calmly rolled home from a penalty after being knocked down by Luke Ayling.
The hosts doubled their lead two minutes after the restart. White – integral to Leeds’ league title three years ago – made it to the far post to fend off a delightful cross from Gabriel Martinelli.
Jesus scored his second goal eight minutes later, the Brazilian striker scoring after a great combination with Leandro Trossard.
Leeds bounced back in the 76th minute when Christensen’s shot deflected over Oleksandr Zinchenko, but Xhaka’s header from Martin Odegaard gave Arsenal the last word.
Gabby’s two goals.
One big team win. pic.twitter.com/tAmZFZltbB
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) April 1, 2023
What does it mean? No Saki, no problem
The decision to not include Bukayo Saka in the Premier League starting XI for the first time this season is puzzling, even though Arteta has revealed that the English winger is suffering from an illness.
However, Arsenal were unstoppable as they achieved seven straight league wins for the first time since 2018, with Saka coming out midway through the second half.
Meanwhile, Leeds are now unbeaten in their last 14 encounters with the Gunners, starting with a 3-2 success at Highbury in May 2003.
Jesus is back
After a 2-0 win over Wolverhampton at Molineux on 12 November, Jesus made his last appearance for Arsenal, though he hasn’t scored since against Tottenham in October.
But it was as if he had never been away on Saturday as he showed amazing composure with his penalty and then amazing instincts to come on the signal and cross Trossard for his second goal.
Double Jesús was made after four effective shots on goal (at the level of Martinelli). It may not be Easter yet, but Jesus is definitely back.
Trossard provided another assist.
Trossard continues to shine at Arsenal following his January move from Brighton & Hove Albion.
His accurate pass to Jesus was one of three key passes he registered, while only his compatriot Kevin De Bruyne (12) has made more passes in open play in the Premier League this season (eight).
Key facts about opts
– Arsenal won all seven Premier League matches on 1 April with a 25-3 aggregate score. This is the best indicator of a 100% victory for a team on a specific date.
Leeds have lost 17 Premier League matches to Arsenal, their most defeats against an opponent (also 17 against Liverpool and Manchester United).
– Arsenal have won three consecutive Premier League matches by at least three goals for the first time since October 2015.
– Martinelli has scored two goals and provided two assists in his four Premier League appearances against Leeds – the Arsenal striker has not scored more goals against either side.
– Xhaka has scored 12 goals in all competitions this season (seven goals, five assists), his best result in a single Arsenal campaign.
Arsenal’s next stop on their way to their first Premier League title in 19 years will be Anfield, where they will travel next Sunday to face Liverpool. Leeds’ quest for survival is renewed when they welcome Nottingham Forest to Elland Road on Tuesday.