Leeds United v Arsenal 18th December 2021 at Elland Road

Arsenal H 18th December 2021

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After posting the following on my Facebook and Twitter accounts, on behalf of my family, I just want to say how overwhelmed we have been with the fantastic response to my husband’s terminal cancer diagnosis from the Leeds United family and the wider community beyond. It is very much appreciated.

For those of you who have been asking about my husband Phillip (Captain who used to run the Leeds United Supporters Club Halifax branch).

We have received the devastating news that his cancer is terminal and they have given him 12 months to live. As you can imagine, this has caused a lot of distress to our family. We will continue to carry on as normal as possible, for as long as we can, and he will be having some chemotherapy in the meantime. The main thing is we all support each other which is already hard with our children, but supporting the grandchildren is even harder. Christmas is my favourite time of the year, and we will be having a fantastic family Christmas making as many memories as we can. Enjoy your loved ones as you never know what is around the corner.

Today has been a poignant day as we managed to get my husband Phillip (Captain), daughters Michelle, Danielle and Emily and granddaughters Hannah, Laura and Alexis all to the game courtesy of Michelle winning a hospitality package from Yorkshire Cancer Reseach. Although we haven’t managed to get all the family here today, getting a precious photo at Billy’s statue after the game will keep these memories alive.

Thank you once again for the fantastic support from our fans for buying our CDs. With all costs now covered by sales already made, remember 100% of the balance will be going to the Leeds United Academy/Foundation. Remember if you want any posting, please contact Mick Hewitt via his Facebook page or via email at hewittprog@aol.com

Team: Meslier, Ayling, Roberts, Dallas, Klich, Gelhardt, Raphinha, Harrison, Drameh, Forshaw and Koch (returning from injury).

Subs: Summerville for Harrison (31), Greenwood for Klich (78), McCarron for Summerville (82).

Subs not used: Klaesson, Jenkins, Bate, Kenneh, Gray, Moore.

Leeds lost the game 4-1 with Raphinha scoring from a penalty for Leeds (75).

Attendance: 36,166 with 2,690 Arsenal fans.

Referee: Andre Marriner.

Booked: Gelhardt, Dallas, Koch.

With Leeds ravaged by injuries today, I was surprised that we still had a team to put out that didn’t consist of our youngsters. Whatever happens going forward, we have a great togetherness, a great team spirit with great support from the terraces. Also our youngsters have a great future ahead of them.

The Leeds fans were in good voice showing their support for the team as the game kicked off. Chances today for Leeds were very limited but once Arsenal got their first goal due to a lucky deflection, we faced an uphill battle. That said in the build up, their man went down trying to get a penalty but play was waved on as it had been a fair tackle before Forshaw was fouled, but nothing was given when we should have had a free kick. The ball just wouldn’t run for us today although Arsenal were quick off the mark to intercept some balls that were too short for our players. Leeds kept trying to move forward but although we had a couple of chances, there was nothing to trouble the keeper despite him being off his line and Raphinha trying a long range shot. We had to thank Meslier once again for keeping the score down with a couple of saves but he didn’t stand a chance when their counter-attack ended with a second goal. Meslier then made a further point blank save before succumbing to a third goal with another deflection working in Arsenal’s favour. It was going to be hard coming back from this now.

The second half saw the referee letting Arsenal carry on with the time wasting rather than pulling them up for it. Too many of their players were dropping like flies and the referee continued with the free kicks going their way. Roberts had a couple of chances with one being saved by the keeper. We were thrown a lifeline after some great play by Gelhardt saw him brought down to give Leeds a penalty. There was no doubt in my mind that it had to be given which Raphinha duly stepped up to score. Sadly despite being urged on by the crowd, we were unable to get a second goal although one great pass across the box was just waiting for someone at the far post but they’d already moved into the box. With Arsenal getting their fourth goal to put the game beyond us, the Leeds faithful once again showed their fantastic support for the lads, continuing to sing well past the final whistle. We may have got nothing out of the game once again, but we still carried on trying to score and make a game of it. This season has shown once again that having so many injuries has impacted greatly on our performances and as the list grew even more over the last week, this is going to be the case going forward. No one can predict where we will end up as yet, but the sooner we get some of the team off the injury list the better.

I would just like to say a big thank you for the hugs and words spoken in support of our family today and please note they are greatly appreciated. I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and whilst our day as a family at Elland Road was very emotional today, we are going to enjoy our family time over the festive period. LUFC – Marching on Together!