Mikel Arteta enjoys the emphatic return of Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Mikel Arteta received high praise for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when the striker returned to the Arsenal side to hit his first hat-trick in the Premier League and down Leeds.

The Gunners captain had not started in five games after leaving the club’s coronavirus-secured bubble to injure his sick mother.

But he celebrated his return in good fashion when a cheerful Leeds were beaten 4-2 at the Emirates Stadium, having started the evening above the hosts in the table.

Acting as the main striker, Aubameyang opened the scoring with a low finish before doubling the lead with a penalty and finishing his hat-trick with an early header in the second half.

In Hector Bellerin’s first goal in more than a year Arsenal had three well-scored goals at the end of the first half, just for Leeds to collect with goals from Pascal Struijk and Helder Costa. to make it an uncomfortable end to the game for the hosts.

Arteta Aubameyang played as his main striker and paid for benefits, with the Spaniard admitting that any success for the club depends on his captain being at his best.

“I thought he was great today, he’s been training really well last week or so, he looked back to normal,” he said.

“He looked very committed to training, hungry and today he performed well, not only for the goals but the way he worked without the ball and the way he did. in which he worked every Leeds defender, he set the tone.

“We know that a big part of our future success is about being at Auba’s best and achieving as many goals as possible.

“If it’s that kind of going to be closer to winning football matches, that’s for sure – we can’t rely on it but it’s a big part of our puzzle and you’ve seen a lot of today when he shoots at the player hard to play against. ”

With Aubameyang moved in the middle, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe worked from the sidelines with Martin Odegaard making his debut at number 10.

“I thought [the creativity in the final third] it was much better, ”said Arteta.

“We were a lot more efficient and we made up. We took our time when needed. We had movement, running in behind you, people in the box and reaching into the box.

“Our decisions were much better and our efficiency, we were hit by blows and many of these were on target. That was the difference. ”

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa went crazy 45 minutes from his side but praised them for getting better after the interval.

“In the first half, we were unable to avoid the Arsenal rout from our half to half,” he said.

“When we were picking up from the back we couldn’t clearly bring the ball into their half.

“The two managers were not surprised, they knew how we were going to push it and they untied it.

“We knew how they were going to put pressure on us and we couldn’t find a solution and in the second half the opposite happened.

“In the first half we couldn’t get the ball back quickly but what we didn’t do well in the first half did the opponent do well – and in the second half we got on with those things. do better than the opponent. ”