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Fabregas penalty saves Arsenal blushes

A last minute spot kick by substitute Cesc Fabregas gave Arsenal a 1-1 draw in an enthralling game at the Emirates against Championship outfit Leeds. Arsenal may be 22 places higher in the Football League pecking order but that counted for nothing as Leeds came within a minute of clinching a shock victory over Premiership opposition.

In injury time Theo Walcott almost won it for the Gunners but that would have been harsh on the visitor's who deserved their replay back at Elland Road on January 18th.

The first half ended scoreless with apart from a brief moment of Arsenal pressure the Championship outfit comfortably restricted their more illustrious opponents.

The Gunners dominated for long periods but as against Manchester City in midweek found it difficult to convert their chances.

So it was against the run of play that the Yorkshire side took the leads from the penalty spot after 55 minutes.

Max Gradel was upended in the box by Denilson and Robert Snodgrass converted even if keeper Wojciech Szczesny did get a hand to the ball.

Luciano Becchio almost doubled Leeds advantage and as the game entered its final minute Arsenal won their own spot kick just moments after being denied another one for offside.

This time Ben Parker held back Walcott and Fabregas coolly slotted home.

Referee: Phil Dowd

Venue: Emirates Stadium Attendance: 59,520

Arsenal scorers: Fabregas (pen) 90 Leeds scorers: Snodgrass (pen) 54

ARSENAL 53 Szczesny 18 Squillaci 20 Djourou 27 Eboue 28 Gibbs 07 Rosicky (yellow card) (Vela 79) 15 Denilson (yellow card) 17 A Song (Fabregas 59) 23 Arshavin 29 Chamakh (Walcott 68) 52 Bendtner

Substitutes 21 Fabianski, 22 Clichy, 48 Miquel, 04 Fabregas, 14 Walcott, 16 Ramsey, 11 Vela

LEEDS 01 Schmeichel 02 Connolly 04 Bruce 19 Parker (yellow card) 40 O'Brien 07 Gradel (Hughes 90+1) 14 Howson (yellow card) 16 Johnson 10 Becchio (Somma 85) 18 Watt (Bromby 76) 23 Snodgrass

Substitutes 12 Higgs, 05 Collins, 26 Bromby, 22 Hughes, 09 Paynter, 27 Somma, 44 McCormack

 It's all kicking off again! Click here for the No1 coverage of Arsenal's winter market transfer news.

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Dave Williams

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