Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang marked his return to their starting XI after five games out (his mother has been ill) with his first ever Premier League hat-trick in an emphatic and entertaining 4-2 home victory over Leeds on Sunday afternoon. Boy have Arsenal missed him.
Aubameyang fired the Gunners ahead in the 13th minute then made it 2-0 from the penalty spot. Hector Bellerin made it 3-0 just before half-time to put the game out of reach. Auba secured his hat-trick with a header two minutes into the second half, although Leeds did threaten to come back.
Pascal Struijk’s powerful header in the 58th minute gave Marcelo Bielsa’s side some hope. Helder Costa added another for the visitors with 20 minutes to go, but they had given themselves too much to do.
Arsenal move above Leeds into 10th spot with 34 points from 24 games. Leeds lie 11th on 32, albeit with a game in hand.
3 – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the third player in Premier League history to score a hat-trick on Valentine's Day after Matt Le Tissier vs Liverpool in 1994 and Michael Owen vs Sheffield Wednesday in 1998. Triplets. pic.twitter.com/jP4WyLt8YP
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 14, 2021
“I’m happy and my kids are happy because they are going to get (the match ball),” Aubameyang said afterwards.
“We knew it would be a hard game. Leeds never gave up but we showed good game management at the end.”
One should never read too much into an Arsenal result, not these days, but they really did look dangerous with Martin Odegaard, Emile Smith Rowe and the hugely impressive Bukayo Saka causing havoc behind the lone wolf Aubameyang. Odegaard looks to have settled in very nicely with his new team-mates. Given that he’s not played much football recently, Odegaard looked fitter and sharper than expected.
Man of the match: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)