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A second-half goal by Reiss Nelson saw Arsenal beat Leeds United 1-0 into the fourth round of the FA Cup. Marcelo Bielsas side dominated the first half at the Emirates Stadium.

If one of the rites of passage for a rookie manager is their inaugural half-time rollicking then Mikel Arteta could hardly have met the occasion to greater effect. He had no option but to aim harsh words at an Arsenal team that had been shredded at will by a bewitching display from Leeds during the first 45 minutes and the response he received is further evidence that, for all his tender years, he is not a character to be trifled with.

Reiss Nelsons scruffy winner topped up the feelgood factor that has coursed through Artetas early tenure and rewarded an unrecognisable second-half performance that ended with the home side seeing things out in comfort.

It means Arsenal will travel to Bournemouth in the fourth round and ensures Leeds, insulated from those chasing the Championships automatic promotion places by a nine-point cushion, can concentrate on what seems an inevitable return to the top flight.

In that sense it was hard not to suspect that everyone had got broadly what they wanted. Leeds faded badly after the interval but their point had already been well made. They operated with a strut and a swagger but, importantly, the precision and substance to match; nobody would have begrudged them a three or four-goal lead at the change of ends and if this was a precursor to their approach against similar opposition next season then Premier League clubs can consider themselves well warned.

Playing against them is like going to the dentist, Arteta said. It was a nice line and the analogy worked particularly well because, after an excruciating spell on their backs, Arsenal came back out with their bite renewed.

They had come close several times before some sparkling approach play from Nicolas Pp gave Alexandre Lacazette space to square across goal. Gaetano Berardis intervention, on the stretch, was designed to stop Pp finishing the move he had started but succeeded only in diverting the ball forwards to Nelson, who bundled it past Illan Meslier from in front of the posts.

There was never much hint of a comeback and, given Artetas anger at the way Arsenal had been overrun earlier on, that was probably just as well. I wasnt happy at all, he said of their effort in the opening period. If youre not ready for their game you get exposed and you get done. When I see what I dont want to see, and Im not talking about technically and tactically, I cannot be happy and I have to let them know.

Emiliano Martnez was required to make a number of saves in the opening minutes. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images

His players had, he said, been forewarned that Leeds have battered teams in the Championship every three days and until he got hold of them in the dressing room the pattern had been no different. Leeds roared out of the traps at the tempo Marcelo Bielsa demands, swiftly playing the kind of football Arteta would like to see his team practising before too long. Bielsa has had 18 months, rather than Artetas 17 days, to get his message across but the number of chances they created was remarkable nonetheless.

Leeds had 10 opportunities to score in the first half, according to Bielsa, and it was not a gross exaggeration. A flowing move from which Rob Holding heroically thwarted Patrick Bamford set in train what was less a siege than a perpetual whirl of intricate, dazzlingly rapid incursions that reduced Arsenals back-line to spinning tops. Emi Martez saved awkwardly from Jack Harrison and Bamford worked space inside the box before striking the bar. Only 15 minutes had passed by then and the pressure was relentless.

By the time Arsenal went in to have their ears warmed, Martnez had brilliantly prevented Sokratis Papastathopoulos from scoring an own goal and the Leeds debutant, Robbie Gotts, had spooned a glorious chance over at the near post.

Other situations went begging through loose final balls or rushed shooting; Leeds simply could not apply the finish and Bielsa was left to regret that their excellence did not tell. The first half was what we wished, and in the second half we understand its difficult to keep controlling the match as we did in the first half, he said. We should have played a more balanced match.

Instead, Lacazette clipped the woodwork with a free-kick after the restart and then forced Meslier into a smart save. Nelsons decider swiftly followed and the only remaining item of real interest was a VAR review for what appeared to be a kick off the ball by Lacazette on Berardi. No punishment was meted out, which was perhaps fortunate for the Frenchman, but this was too absorbing a tie to be dominated by more complaints and conjecture about the technology.

They can enjoy and feel proud of what they do if they play like they did in the second half; its their choice, Arteta said.

It felt as if Arsenal had been given no alternative.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/jan/06/arsenal-leeds-united-fa-cup-third-round-match-report