Thomas Tuchel defended picking goal-shy Kai Havertz to lead his attack after Chelsea drew a blank at Leeds United.

The 0-0 draw at Elland Road could prove costly in fourth-placed Chelsea's attempt to qualify for next season's Champions League, with West Ham, Everton and Tottenham in pursuit.

Havertz was a free-scoring player from an attacking midfield berth with Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, which drew Chelsea's attention and led to him arriving at Stamford Bridge last September.

But he has not carried that form over into the Premier League and came into the clash with Leeds having scored just once in 20 games in the competition. After failing to score again, his shot conversion rate this season dipped to 5.56 per cent.

Tuchel, however, decided that Chelsea were well equipped to find a breakthrough against Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds with Germany international Havertz spearheading their attack.

Asked about Havertz playing a 'false nine' role, Tuchel disputed that description and said: "I think he's pretty much a nine. I don't think he's a false number nine.

"He is a nine because he likes to be in the high positions, for him it's not always necessary to drop to number 10 in turn.

"For me, his biggest strength is he loves to be in the high position and he loves to arrive in the box, in the six-yard box even, he loves to be there and likes to have the last touch."

Havertz had four goal attempts, the most he has had in a Premier League game, but the 21-year-old could not apply a clinical finishing touch to his chances.

"Sometimes it's like this," Tuchel told BT Sport.

"As long as we have chances, as long as we have a lot of touches in the box and don't concede too many chances, the results will be there.

"There were enough chances. I don't want to be too harsh."

Leeds had only 38.1 per cent of possession, the lowest they have recorded in any of their 120 league games under Bielsa's leadership. Chelsea bossed the ball but lacked the required cutting edge.

Olivier Giroud, the second highest scorer in the history of the French national team, sat on the bench throughout, with Tuchel perhaps saving the target man for the midweek Champions League home clash with Atletico Madrid.

Timo Werner only came on after the midway point in the second half.

"It happens sometimes that it's hard to score, that you miss some big chances, and you go out with a zero-zero," Tuchel added.

On the plus side, Tuchel is now unbeaten in 12 games since taking over from Frank Lampard, the joint-longest unbeaten start by a manager in the club’s history, matching Luiz Felipe Scolari's tally.

Scolari did not last long at Chelsea, but Tuchel will hope to, and he believes the reaction from his players pointed to their ambition to succeed.

"The boys are disappointed in the dressing room which is a good sign," Tuchel said. "We draw away, we played a good game, but everybody's disappointed which is good."

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel explained why he yelled at Timo Werner in the Premier League win over Everton, insisting the misfiring forward did not take it personally.

Werner was in the firing line of fellow German Tuchel during Chelsea's 2-0 victory against Everton on Tuesday.

Tuchel was caught on the broadcast shouting: "Timo, Timo, for how long are you still going to play on the left? You must play on the right! You have been playing on the left for a quarter of an hour now. Don't you understand it?"

Werner has scored five goals in 27 Premier League appearances this season since his big-money move from RB Leipzig, though he has only scored once in his last 13 appearances across all competitions.

As pressure mounts on the 25-year-old Germany forward, Tuchel lifted the lid on his exchange with Werner as in-form Chelsea prepare to face Leeds United on Saturday.

"It was very direct, and at the moment without spectators, things like this can get out there," Tuchel told reporters after the footage and audio went viral. "I was aware [of the video] because people around me showed me.

"We reminded Timo to re-join his position on the right because he was on the left too long. Switching positions is not a problem but we wanted Callum [Hudson-Odoi] on the left and Timo on the right side to make things easier for him. We reminded him but it was not an insult or aggressive. It was direct.

"I know what you mean but in the end, if it is respectful and not insulting each other [it is fine]. I have no problem with the players being direct to me and sometimes on the sideline, the coaches are in a game mode where things are direct and meant to be clear.

"Sometimes things are not pronounced in the most friendly or nice way. I agree but me and the players are in a game mode. I have the feeling that no one takes it too personally. It is about passing information. This is it."

Tuchel is unbeaten in his nine Premier League games since replacing Frank Lampard – only Maurizio Sarri (12) and Frank Clark (11) have had longer runs without defeat from the start of their Premier League careers.

Chelsea have won five of their six away games in all competitions under former Paris Saint-Germain head coach Tuchel so far (D1), having lost four of their last five under Lampard (W1).

Tuchel's Chelsea occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot, two points clear of London rivals West Ham and 18 points adrift of runaway leaders Manchester City.

Thomas Tuchel has vowed he will not allow his Chelsea players to get caught up in a "honeymoon atmosphere" after his fine start in charge at the club.

Since replacing the sacked Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge, Tuchel has revived the Blues' fortunes.

Chelsea have gone 11 matches unbeaten across all competitions, winning eight.

They travel to Leeds United on Saturday sitting fourth in the Premier League table, still in contention for Champions League and FA Cup glory as well.

Tuchel was asked when he thinks his honeymoon period will come to an end ahead of the trip to Elland Road.

"Hopefully [it can go on forever]!" said Tuchel. "Hopefully it lasts until Saturday and we keep on winning and performing. 

"It is a pleasure to be here, I'm very happy and grateful for that. 

"Nevertheless, we are here to do a job: we need to win games. We need to take care about the atmosphere, and this is what we do. 

"We cannot get too lost in a honeymoon atmosphere, or anything else, we have to be focused. 

"This is what we do, what we try, to reach our best level. 

"We will for sure not waste one second reflecting on maybe when this will end. That is not what we are focused on, we are focused on continuing to press on."

Tuchel is only on an 18-month contract at Chelsea but already feels extremely settled just over six weeks into his tenure.

The former Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund boss added: "I feel very comfortable, very happy. 

"All I wished for as a coach is here. I feel a part of a big football club that is run like a family, I feel a lot of support and feel very, very comfortable with my team. 

"It is a pleasure to compete with them, to be on the sideline, to be around them and be in Cobham, in this club, every day. 

"This is maybe what you feel out there, because it's the reality regarding my feelings and my situation here."

Victory over Leeds would put Chelsea third in the table, given Leicester City do not face Sheffield United until Sunday.

Chelsea have lost away to a promoted club in each of the past three Premier League seasons (Newcastle United in 2017-18, Wolves in 2018-19 and Sheffield United 2019-20). 

Having already won at Fulham and drawn at West Brom this season, avoiding defeat against Leeds will ensure they keep up a record of never losing to a promoted side for four consecutive campaigns.

Leeds come into the game after losing a second consecutive Premier League game for the fifth time this season.

However, they are yet to lose three in a row so far in the campaign. Indeed, they have not lost three consecutive league games since November 2017.

Thomas Tuchel is concerned over the ankle injury that is continuing to bother Tammy Abraham, while the Chelsea boss has once again spoken about Christian Pulisic's role at the club.

Abraham had to be replaced after 20 minutes against Newcastle United on February 15, having been hurt following a challenge in the 2-0 home win.

The striker started in the next league game – he was substituted at half-time in the 1-1 draw at Southampton – but has not featured since. 

Tuchel confirmed on Friday that the England international is still troubled by the issue, forcing him to cut short his involvement in Thursday's training session ahead of the trip to Leeds United.

"I'm a bit concerned because the pain from the tackle against Newcastle is still there," Tuchel said ahead of Saturday's game at Elland Road.

"It's been a long time since he's been 100 per cent pain-free and comfortable in training. Even if he finishes in training, I can see he isn't 100 per cent free. I have complete trust in our medical department and they will take care of him.

"Tammy had to leave the pitch during the warm-up yesterday and he will get all the time he needs.

"It's important he feels zero pain and then we can think about his comeback."

Tuchel is unbeaten in his nine Premier League games in charge – only Maurizio Sarri (12) and Frank Clark (11) have had longer runs without defeat from the start of their careers in the competition – and the upturn in the team's fortunes has them on course for a top-four finish.

However, as well as Abraham, the German coach is set to be without Thiago Silva this weekend, the centre-back having suffered a problem in his recovery from a thigh injury.

"Thiago had a little setback in training at the end of the session, the day before yesterday, he felt something around the same area he was injured," Tuchel revealed.

Pulisic is available but has yet to start a league game since Tuchel's appointment, though his former boss at Borussia Dortmund wants the winger to be ready when called upon, whether that be as part of the initial XI or from the bench, having made seven appearances as a substitute.

Asked if Pulisic is prepared to be patient, Tuchel replied: "I hope so. When you sign and play for Chelsea, it is part of the job description, as a player, to be impatient and patient at the same time. 

"Impatient because all of my players are competitors; all want to play every single minute. This is what they all show every day, this hunger and desire. This is what Christian shows. 

"At the same time, when you're not selected by the coach – by me – you have to be patient, to not lose confidence and keep on going. Be ready at any time, because it can happen at any time. 

"At the beginning he was a bit unlucky. We knew how much of an impact he can have from the bench, and we used this power and strength from him.  

"When it was around the time for him to start – against Sheffield United and Barnsley – for one game he was unavailable, the other came a bit too soon.

"If you turn it around, it's also the duty of the players to show up and really earn that they play. This is what Christian does, so it can happen at any minute, for any game."

Chelsea have won five of their six away games in all competitions under Tuchel, having lost four of their previous five towards the end of Frank Lampard's reign.

They head to Yorkshire looking to complete a league double over Leeds for the first time since the 1988-89 season, a time when both clubs were in the second tier of English football.

Matthijs de Ligt was linked with Manchester United before his move to Juventus in 2019.

United have reportedly renewed their interest in the 21-year-old Dutch defender.

Could he end up in Manchester?

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT DE LIGT

Manchester United are set to target Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, according to TodoFichajes.

United were heavily linked with De Ligt before the Netherlands international swapped Ajax for Serie A champions Juve in 2019.

With United reportedly not advancing in their pursuit of Real Madrid pair Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, the Red Devils are eyeing De Ligt.

United have also been linked with RB Leipzig's Ibrahima Konate, Sevilla defender Jules Kounde and Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato reports Paris Saint-Germain are poised to offer David Alaba a €25million-per year deal in an attempt to prise the Bayern Munich star to the French capital. Out of contract at season's end, Alaba has been tipped to join Madrid. Chelsea, Barcelona and Manchester City have also been linked.

United have been left alone in the fight to sign Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, claims TodoFichajes. Unwilling to match Villa's valuation, City have reportedly exited the race for Grealish. The report also says United could sell Marcus Rashford to fund the move.

- Madrid stars Lucas Vazquez and Isco are wanted by Everton, according to Calciomercato. After prising James Rodriguez from the LaLiga champions, Everton are targeting another two players from the Spanish capital, though Milan and Juve are also keen.

- Diario AS reports Madrid are prioritising a move for in-demand Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland. Chelsea, United, City, Juve, PSG, Barca and Bayern have all been linked but Madrid are reportedly shifting their attention from Kylian Mbappe to Haaland.

French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain are plotting an ambitious move for Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.

PSG, headed up by ex-Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, are keen to replace 34-year-old Keylor Navas.

De Gea has been with United since 2011 and has two years remaining on his contract.

 

TOP STORY – PSG TO TEMPT UNITED

Mega-rich PSG would be able to offer United a significant fee for the 30-year-old De Gea and match his £375,000-a-week wages, according to The Sun.

United have been linked with a move for Milan's Gianluigi Donnarumma, who is coming off contract, while Dean Henderson has pushed De Gea this season to be number one.

PSG have also been linked with Tottenham custodian Hugo Lloris given his connection with Pochettino from their time together at Spurs.

ROUND-UP

- AS reports that Liverpool could enter the race for Kylian Mbappe, due to the alleged rift between forward Mohamed Salah and manager Jurgen Klopp.

- West Ham have turned to Stuttgart's Sasa Kalajdzic in their search for a striker, according to the Daily Mail. In the queue already are RB Leipzig and Roma.

- Limited funds means Barcelona are out of the race for Wolves' Adama Traore, according to Mundo Deportivo. The Spain international has been linked with Liverpool and Manchester City.

- UOL Esporte reports that Manchester United have registered an interest in Leeds United winger Raphinha.

David Beckham's Inter Miami are trying to woo Cristiano Ronaldo to MLS.

Ronaldo, 36, is contracted at Juventus until 2022, but his next move is seemingly already a discussion point.

And MLS could suit nicely if Beckham has his way.

 

TOP STORY – BECKHAM'S INTER MIAMI EYE CRISTIANO

Beckham is speaking to Ronaldo's representatives about a move to Inter Miami, according to todofichajes.com.

The Portugal international is understood to be interested by the challenge of joining the club in the United States.

The financial contract would be massive for Ronaldo but he may potentially make the move next January, lowering the transfer fee, given the MLS runs from March to December.

Lionel Messi was reportedly previously sounded out about a possible US switch.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Express are reporting that Gareth Bale's recent form upturn means Tottenham are now keen to sign him permanently, with the Welshman having joined on loan from Real Madrid. Subsequently, the funds availed from a permanent transfer could enable Madrid to enter the fray for Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe.

West Ham, Leicester City, Southampton, Brighton and Hove Albion and Aston Villa are among the list of clubs interested in Tammy Abraham if Chelsea deem him surplus to requirements, according to The Telegraph.

- The Star claims the Hammers are also keen on two other young English strikers; Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah and Brentford's Ivan Toney.

- Deportivo Alaves goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco is being pursued by Premier League pair Leeds United and Southampton, according to todofichajes.com.

David Alaba has appeared set to swap Bayern Munich for Real Madrid.

Alaba is keen for a new challenge following a successful partnership with Bundesliga and Champions League holders Bayern.

But three of Europe's elite are still reportedly eyeing Alaba.

 

TOP STORY – TRIO NOT GIVING UP ON ALABA

Liverpool, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are still trying to sign wantaway Bayern Munich star David Alaba, according to Fabrizio Romano's Benchwarmers column.

Alaba will leave Bundesliga champions Bayern on a free transfer at the end of the season and he has been tipped to join LaLiga holders Real Madrid.

However, Liverpool, Chelsea and PSG are still pursuing the Austria international.

 

ROUND-UP

- RAC1 suggests Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is one of Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta's targets if Ronald Koeman does not remain at Camp Nou beyond 2020-21.

Madrid are interested in Manchester United target and Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, reports the Daily Star. Sancho was wanted by United at the start of the season but a big-money move did not materialise.

- Mundo Deportivo claims Atletico Madrid are tracking Lyon midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, who is valued at around €25million.

Manchester United and Premier League rivals Leeds United are eyeing Torino defender Nicolas Nkoulou, according to Tuttosport. The 30-year-old is set to become a free agent at season's end.

- L'Equipe says Mauro Icardi is free to leave PSG if a suitable offer arrives amid links to Juventus. Icardi is contracted to the Ligue 1 champions until 2024, but PSG are focused on re-signing Kylian Mbappe and making Moise Kean's loan deal from Everton permanent. If Mbappe departs for Madrid, PSG will look to raise funds by selling Icardi as they dream of Tottenham's Harry Kane and Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

Mikel Arteta affirmed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's importance to Arsenal, insisting having the striker at his best is vital to the future of the club.

Aubameyang marked his first Premier League start since January 18 with his first hat-trick in the competition, surpassing 200 goals in Europe's top five leagues in the process as Arsenal beat Leeds United 4-2 on Sunday.

Having opened the scoring 13 minutes in, Aubameyang doubled his tally from the spot – the goal which saw him become the ninth player to score 200 times across Europe's elite divisions since his Ligue 1 debut in 2009.

Hector Bellerin added a well-crafted third before Aubameyang completed his hat-trick two minutes into the second half, though Pascal Struijk and Helder Costa hit back to give Arsenal a fright.

It was the first time Arteta's team have scored four times in a league game at Emirates Stadium since July last season, and after what has been a stop-start season for Aubameyang – due to injury issues and personal reasons – the Gunners' boss reiterated the 31-year-old's importance.

"I thought he was superb today, he has been training really good the last week or so, he looked back to normal," Arteta told a news conference.

"He looked really committed in training, really hungry and today he had a great performance, not only for the goals but the way he worked without the ball and the way he worked every Leeds defender, he set the tone.

"We know that a big part of our future success is related to Auba being at his best and scoring as many goals as possible.

"If he is in that type of form we are going to be closer to winning football matches, that is for sure – we cannot just rely on him but he is a big piece of our puzzle and you saw today that when he is firing he is a difficult player to play against."

With Alexandre Lacazette on the bench, Aubameyang started in his preferred central role on Sunday and duly delivered the goods.

The former Borussia Dortmund star had a game-high five attempts, with three of them on target, and another one hitting the crossbar late on.

He also created two chances, behind only Leeds' Raphinha (three), and Arteta was delighted that his decision to play Aubameyang through the middle proved fruitful.

"We have the options depending on the game and the options and the area we want to explore," he added. "I thought it could be a good option today and it worked well."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit a personal milestone as his first Premier League hat-trick saw Arsenal past Leeds United on Sunday.

Aubameyang and Hector Bellerin put Arsenal 4-0 up by the 47th minute at Emirates Stadium, though Leeds did strike back twice to make things a little more uncomfortable for Mikel Arteta's side.

That match followed on from Wolves beating Southampton in the day's early kick-off, and West Brom holding Manchester United to a 1-1 draw – Bruno Fernandes' stunner earning the Red Devils a point.

In the late game, lowly Fulham picked up a much-needed win by seeing off a lacklustre Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park.

ARSENAL 4-2 LEEDS UNITED: DOUBLE CENTURY UP FOR AUBA

On his first league start since January 18, Aubameyang was in sparkling form against Leeds.

Having opened the scoring after 13 minutes, Aubameyang netted from the penalty spot shortly before half-time, bringing up his 200th goal across Europe's "top five" leagues.

It was the 31-year-old's 369th appearance across spells at Lille (two goals), Monaco (two), Saint-Etienne (37), Borussia Dortmund (98) and Arsenal (62).

Since his Ligue 1 debut in 2009, he is one of just nine players to score 200 or more goals across the continent's five leading divisions.

Arsenal scored four (or more) goals at the Emirates for the first time in the Premier League this season, having last done so in a 4-0 win over Norwich City in July of last year.

Leeds, meanwhile, have won just one of their last 24 away league games in London (D6 L17), losing all four such matches this season by an aggregate 14-4 score, and the Whites remain without a win in nine meetings with Arsenal in all competitions (D2 L7).

Aubameyang was also 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.

WEST BROM 1-1 MANCHESTER UNITED: MORE BRUNO BRILLIANCE SAVES LACKLUSTRE RED DEVILS

The Red Devils' only win from their previous five top-flight matches was the 9-0 hammering of Southampton at Old Trafford (D3 L1), while the Baggies have just one win in 11 under Sam Allardyce and have conceded nine more goals than any other team since his first game at the helm.

The ever-reliable Fernandes scored United's leveller just before half-time at the Hawthorns, with the Red Devils now recovering 22 points from losing positions this term – 10 more than any other team.

The Portuguese playmaker has 38 goal involvements in as many games for United – the only player with more in their opening 38 in Premier League history is Andrew Cole (46 in 1993-94 for Newcastle United).

West Brom's goal was scored after just 83 seconds by Mbaye Diagne – the earliest conceded by United in a Premier League game since Christian Eriksen's 11-second strike for Spurs in January 2018. He is the 12th different Senegalese player to score under Allardyce.

United full-back Luke Shaw has five league assists for the season, the most he has managed in a single campaign – he only had seven in total prior to the start of this season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are unbeaten in all 12 away Premier League matches this season (W8 D4), only the fourth time a team has avoided defeat in their first 12 away Premier League games of a season: Arsenal in 2001-02 and 2003-04, and Liverpool in 2019-20, all of whom went on to win the title.

SOUTHAMPTON 1-2 WOLVES: SAINTS MARCH INTO CLUB-RECORD WORST RUN

It has been a miserable time for Southampton recently with Sunday's defeat to Wolves at St Mary's settled by second-half goals from Ruben Neves and Pedro Neto, which cancelled out Danny Ings' 25th-minute opener.

The Saints have now lost six consecutive league matches for the first time in their history, while they have led in each of their last four top-flight matches against Wolves without winning any of them (D2 L2), resulting in 10 points lost – the most points one side have dropped against another since the start of last season.

Only Liverpool (14) and Manchester United (12) have won more Premier League matches after going behind than Wolves' 10 since the start of 2018-19.

Meanwhile, winger Neto has been directly involved in nine Premier League goals this season (five goals and four assists), which represents the most of any under-21 player in the competition this campaign.

On the opposition side, Ings is one of only four players to score 30 Premier League goals since the start of last season, along with Mohamed Salah (36), Jamie Vardy (35) and Harry Kane (31).

EVERTON 0-2 FULHAM: MAJA MAGIC BOOSTS COTTAGERS

It was a first Premier League start to remember for Josh Maja, who is the second-youngest player to score on his full debut for Fulham in the competition, after Collins John versus Blackburn Rovers in April 2004 (18y 178d).

Maja is also the first Nigerian to mark his first Premier League start with a brace since Efan Ekoku for Norwich City back in May 1993 (v Middlesbrough).

It helped Fulham pick up their first-ever away win at Everton in league competition, on what was their 28th attempt. Coming into the game, they had lost each of their last 22 away league games against the Toffees.

The Cottagers consequently have a first Premier League victory since November, ending a run of 12 games without a win in the competition.

Everton have now lost three of their last four Premier League games at Goodison Park (D1), as many defeats as they suffered in Carlo Ancelotti's first 17 home games in charge in the competition (W8 D6).

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang revelled in his stunning return to Arsenal's starting line-up after his hat-trick propelled the Gunners to a 4-2 win over Leeds United.

Aubameyang put Arsenal 2-0 up by the 41st minute of Sunday's clash, opening the scoring early on before doubling his tally with a penalty.

The spot-kick marked his 200th goal across Europe's top five leagues, with the 31-year-old then completing his first Premier League hat-trick two minutes after the restart.

That goal, which came after Hector Bellerin had rounded off a neat team move, put Arsenal 4-0 up, though Pascal Struijk and Helder Costa made life uncomfortable in the second half.

Aubameyang had not started a league match since January 18, with the Gabon striker having been handed a leave of absence to help care for his ill mother.

He was quick to hail the support he received from Arsenal, both internally and from the fanbase.

"Happy, really happy, and my kids are going to be happy because they're going to get it [the match ball]," Aubameyang told Sky Sports.

"Really happy with the performance from the team today, we knew that it was going to be a hard game, they never gave up, they fought a lot, in the end I think we had good game management.

"Maybe a bit nervy [at 4-2] but we managed it well in the end, we won the game. It was important to show that this is our home, this is where we have to win games.

"It means a lot to me. I'm a guy who always works hard, tries to give the best, for first my family and then the team as well. It's been a tough time for me but now it's time to get the smile back, score goals and win games.

"From everybody around the club, everyone was giving a lot of love to me, my mum and my family – I'm really proud to be part of this family, I have to say thank you to everyone at the club and the fans as well because I received a lot of messages.

"Today's win and the goals are for them."

Mikel Arteta was delighted with the all-round discipline and intensity shown by his side – factors he believes are the only way to match up to Marcelo Bielsa's free-flowing team, who have now conceded 42 goals but also scored 40 in the league.

"Very pleased with the result, very happy with the performance, especially in the first half against a fantastic team that make life so difficult for you and really put high demands into every action, with or without the ball," Arteta told Sky Sports.

"We read the situations really well and created big problems for them. I said to the players at half-time that Leeds will never give up, they throw everything at you and that's what they've done. We scored the fourth goal, could have scored more but they made it hard.

"Every action, you have to be full gas. If you don't take the game like that you are in big trouble. You have to be very precise to find the next pass, the next movement.

"It was great, the amount of chances we created and the types of goals we scored, I am really pleased with that."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang showed Leeds United little love on Valentine's Day as his first Premier League hat-trick led Arsenal to a 4-2 triumph.

Making his first league start since January 18, Aubameyang put Arsenal 2-0 up by the 41st minute on Sunday and then rounded off his hat-trick early in the second half.

Aubameyang's second goal marked his 200th across 369 appearances in Europe's "top five" leagues, with Hector Bellerin making it 3-0 four minutes later.

Arsenal went some way to undoing their hard work as goals from Pascal Struijk and Helder Costa gave Leeds hope, but Mikel Arteta's side ultimately held firm.

Patrick Bamford had the game's first meaningful attempt when he headed straight at Bernd Leno, but where the Leeds forward failed, Aubameyang showed no such profligacy.

Having been given space and time to square up Luke Ayling, Aubameyang dispatched a drilled finish into the bottom-left corner, though Illan Meslier could have done better.

Arsenal looked set to have the chance to double their lead when Liam Cooper bundled into Bukayo Saka in the box, only for referee Stuart Attwell to overturn his decision to award a penalty after checking the pitchside monitor.

Yet Leeds did not capitalise on their luck, Meslier getting himself into a tangle when he dallied on the ball and felled Saka, with Aubameyang slamming home from 12 yards.

It soon got worse for the visitors – Saka toying with their defence before Dani Ceballos slotted through for Bellerin to arrow in at Meslier's near post.

The contest appeared over two minutes after the restart when Aubameyang turned in Emile Smith Rowe's cross-shot to complete his hat-trick.

Struijk's fine header ruined Arsenal's clean sheet and when Costa thumped in Leeds had hope of an unlikely comeback.

Bamford had a penalty appeal turned down as Leeds rallied further but Marcelo Bielsa's team could not forge a memorable turnaround, with Aubameyang denied a fourth by the crossbar.

Martin Odegaard was named in Arsenal's starting line-up for the first time in their Premier League meeting with Leeds United on Sunday, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned to the first XI.

After joining on loan from Real Madrid for the rest of the season in January, Odegaard made his first two appearances as a substitute.

The 22-year-old playmaker was handed his first start in place of Nicolas Pepe as one of five changes from Mikel Arteta compared to the team that started in a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa last weekend.

Having only been used off the bench at Villa Park after returning from a leave of absence last month, Aubameyang was picked to lead the line ahead of Alexandre Lacazette.

David Luiz and Bernd Leno returned from suspension and were brought in for Rob Holding and Mat Ryan respectively, while Dani Ceballos joined Granit Xhaka in midfield with Thomas Partey out injured.

Arsenal are unbeaten in their last eight games against Leeds, a run that dates back to a 3-2 Premier League loss in May 2003.

Since a goalless draw with the Gunners in November, none of Leeds' 13 top-flight away games have ended in a draw.

The Whites have won seven of those fixtures and were looking to record three straight Premier League wins on their travels for the first time since August 2002.

However, Marcelo Bielsa was without influential midfielder Kalvin Phillips, who is injured.

Roses are red, violets are blue, have we got the perfect Valentine's Day content for you!

Questionable rhymes aside (okay, very questionable), love is in the air as long-standing couples and newly formed relationships celebrate the day of romance on Sunday.

The world of football is certainly no stranger to the language of love, so before you crack open a bottle of red and exchange cheap knock-off gifts with your significant other why not get some inspiration for love with our Valentine's Day facts with some help from Cupid!

(Well not Cupid, Opta – but the team at Opta are full of love!)

MATT LE KISS-IER LOVES TO SCORE ON VALENTINE'S DAY

Valentine's Day is of course a day for love (and overpaying for those last-minute flowers and cards you forgot to buy…).

Two players have been particularly good at spreading the joy on February 14th with Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier and ex-Liverpool striker Michael Owen each scoring three times in the Premier League on this date – the most of all players.

Here's something even more interesting about that stat, though – each man's tally is a result of scoring a Valentine's Day hat-trick.

Le Tissier registered three against the Reds back in 1994, while Owen took home the match ball with a treble versus Sheffield Wednesday four years later.

Owen's three goals are part of 12 Liverpool have tallied on the day of love – comfortably the most by a team. Arsenal follow on seven, with Aston Villa and Southampton on four.

A ROSE FOR THE LADY?

Flowers are synonymous with Valentine's Day but none more so than the rose.

Two players named Rose have plied their trade in the Premier League – Danny (194 appearances) and Matthew (five appearances). The former, of course, is an England international who with his marauding runs from full-back has often been a, ahem, thorn in the side of opponents…

There are other love-themed names to have featured in the top flight. Valentino Lazaro played 13 times in the Premier League for Newcastle United on loan last term, while Valentin Roberge made 10 appearances for north east rivals Sunderland.

The Black Cats also had Donald Love on their books, the defender having previously represented Manchester United once in the top flight.

FOXES RACK UP THE CARDS

Whether from a partner or a secret admirer, it's always nice to receive a card or two on Valentine's Day.

Unless of course you're playing in the Premier League, in which case you want to see the referee keep their cards in their pockets.

In this regard, Leicester City have not been overly successful – the seven yellow cards representing the most received by a team on Valentine's Day. Arsenal follow closely behind with six, with Manchester City on four.

The Foxes also fare badly when it comes to red cards, having picked up two on February 14th – Danny Simpson and Hamza Choudhury account for those dismissals. The only other player to have been sent off on Valentine's Day is Everton hero Duncan Ferguson ... no, we weren't shocked either.

THE BEST BROMANCES

It goes without saying that we don't need to confine our love sharing to one manufactured day of the year…

No, we should be spreading the joy in our hearts all year round and these strike partnerships certainly succeed in that category.

Going back to the start of the 2015-16 season, no two players have combined for more goals than Spurs duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-min (33).

In fact, Kane features three times in the top-five – also ranking third with Christian Eriksen (19), and sharing 18 with Dele Alli.

Manchester City pairing Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne are second with 20, while Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez (18), who fired Leicester to shock title glory in 2015-16, also feature.

Thomas Partey's injury problems since joining Arsenal have taken a toll on the midfielder, according to manager Mikel Arteta.

Partey joined the Gunners for £45million from Atletico Madrid in October and appeared a perfect answer to a problem position in the midfield engine room.

However, a hip issue meant he was restricted to four Premier League starts before the turn of the year and was forced off at half-time during the latter of those.

He returned to start in five consecutive league matches from mid-January onwards but the 27-year-old Ghana international sustained a hamstring injury during last weekend's 1-0 loss at Aston Villa.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's match against Leeds United at Emirates Stadium, Arteta conceded Partey's latest setback is more serious than first anticipated.

"It is a difficult one, he felt something during the game and we didn't think it was too bad but after the scan looked a little bit worse," he said.

"He won't be available to play against Leeds and we will see how it evolves in the next two days, but it is a muscular issue.

"He was devastated, we were all devastated because we know the importance of Thomas and we haven't had him since we signed him.

"I think he has only played 90 minutes once since he has come back from injury, so it is a big blow for us.

"But he is adapting to the league, he has been very unlucky as well and he is very frustrated because he is a very competitive guy who wants to feel important and be important for the team.

"At the moment the injuries are restricting a lot of game time for him."

Kieran Tierney is also out of the Leeds match, but the Scotland defender at least has light at the end of the tunnel following a knee sprain and is expected back in training next week.

"We have to see how the knee reacts when he starts to get a bit more load," Arteta explained.

"He hasn't had much left but he is very positive at the moment, he is in good spirits and he is desperate to get back in the team and we will see in the next few days.

"The moment he starts to train with the team [we will] see how he is feeling and how he reacts."

Nicolas Pepe was sent off when the sides drew 0-0 at Elland Road earlier in the season but the club-record signing has had a better time of things lately, scoring in each of the recent trips to Southampton and Wolves.

"Again, he can maintain that level now for months, not weeks," Arteta said, although he feels the improvement by the former Lille winger is clear to see.

"I think there has been a click with him, even in his mentality, how he's approaching every training session, the importance of every action in the game and how he can sustain his focus and his determination during games.

"I really like his attitude. What he's done in the last few weeks I think it's been much better.

"He still has a lot of room to improve and grow and he's willing to do that so I'm expecting him to go to the next level very soon."

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