'Playing Leeds is like going to the dentist' – Arteta pleased as Arsenal 'learn to suffer' in FA Cup victory

Reiss Nelson scored the only goal of the game in the second half, after a first period in which the Gunners’ Championship opponents had dominated play

Mikel Arteta was pleased to see Arsenal learning on the job in their 1-0 FA Cup win over Leeds, beating a team which he says ‘batters a team every three days’.

The Gunners were played off the Emirates Stadium pitch at times in the first 45 minutes against the Championship leaders, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side looking far superior.

But Arsenal came back after some choice words from Arteta at the interval, and progressed to face Bournemouth in the fourth round courtesy of a goal from Reiss Nelson.

“Now I’m really pleased but we saw two different teams from the first to second half,” Arteta told reporters.

“I tried to tell them exactly what they were going to face and after 32 minutes we had won one duel, I think. We changed our attitude, desire and organisation at half-time and then we were completely different.

“They had to experience how hard and tough it was going to be.

“I watched a lot of Leeds games and they battered every team every three days. It was good for my players to learn and to suffer on the pitch.

“Thank God, I wasn’t happy at all [after the first half]. If you’re not ready for Leeds, you’ll get exposed.

“To play against Leeds is like going to the dentist. They are a great team and what they’ve built is powerful.

“When I see what I don’t want to see, I cannot be happy and I have to let them know.”

Leeds are currently joint-top of the Championship, ahead of West Brom on goal difference alone but nine points clear of their next-closest competitors.

Social media was full of praise for Bielsa and his side as they took the game to their Premier League opponents right from the first whistle, with Patrick Bamford’s effort off the crossbar as close as they eventually came.

“We wanted to beat them,” Bielsa said after the game.

“We should have played with much more balance. What we needed to do in the match is repeat what we did in the first half.

“The first half of the team was very, very positive for us. In the second half the control of the match changed a lot.

“In the first half we pressed the opponents’ defence more and were able to attack fast. We couldn’t do that in the second half.”

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