The Gunners were in impressive form against a depleted Leeds side and raced into a 3-0 lead by half time thanks to goals from Gabriel Martinelli (two) and Bukayo Saka.

 

They eased up in the second half, sensing the game was won, but when Leeds pulled a goal back through a Raphinha penalty, Arsenal then struck against when Emile Smith Rowe scored with six minutes left.

 

 

The win has put Arsenal four points clear of fourth placed West Ham, five clear of sixth placed Manchester United and seven ahead of seventh placed Tottenham Hotspur.

 

With a host of other Premier League games being postponed, Arteta feels it was vital to win as it has put pressure on Arsenal’s top four rivals.

 

 

Asked by the BBC if winning was important to increase the gap on fifth place, Arteta said: “Absolutely. It puts pressure on them. We were really lucky to play today with everything that’s happening.

 

“I told the players to enjoy the game and give everything because I don’t know how this will develop.”

 

 

The Arsenal boss also praised Martinelli, who he feels is now operating with an added level of maturity in his game.

 

“That’s what he can do. He’s getting a level of maturity. He’s so willing to learn.

 

“His passion in life is football. You can see that on the pitch.”

 

Arsenal are next due to play host to Sunderland in the EFL Cup, before returning to Premier League duty on Boxing Day at Norwich City.