x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Wenger relieved to avoid 'shocker' against Leeds

A last-minute penalty from Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas denied Championship side Leeds United a famous victory at Emirates Stadium.

LONDON // Arsene Wenger admitted it would have been a "shocker" had Arsenal crashed out of the FA Cup yesterday, when a last-minute penalty from their captain, Cesc Fabregas, denied Championship side Leeds United a famous victory at Emirates Stadium.

It had looked as if the Gunners were set for a third-round exit for the first time since 1996 after Robert Snodgrass's penalty early in the second half. However, with just moments remaining, the substitute Theo Walcott was tugged back by Ben Parker, and Fabregas stepped up to blast the spot-kick past Kasper Schmeichel, who had been in superb form.

"I must say at first that it was a very difficult game because it was a real cup game and Leeds were up for it, they played well," Wenger said. "We looked like we would come back, but we were short of time and it was important to keep the momentum and not to go out today because that would have been a shocker."

The replay will be contested at Leeds next week.

Simon Grayson, the Leeds manager, felt his team, who could be playing Premier League football next season, should take "immense pride" from their efforts.

"Obviously it is tinged with a bit of disappointment because we were minutes away from pulling off a famous result today."