Fabregas spares Arsenal's blushes

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Cesc Fabregas slotted home a 90th-minute penalty to prevent Arsenal from falling to a first FA Cup third-round defeat since 1996 as they drew 1-1 with Championship side Leeds.

The Spain midfielder, called off the bench by manager Arsene Wenger after the home side had fallen behind to a Robert Snodgrass penalty after 54 minutes, spared his side's blushes after Ben Parker had pulled back Theo Walcott.

Despite defending for the majority of the game, Leeds had looked as though they would replicate last year's third-round win at Manchester United, until Fabregas intervened.

The first real chance predictably fell to the home side, though, and it was one that Andrey Arshavin should have taken. The Russian ran on to Tomas Rosicky's 11th-minute chip over the top and beat the offside trip but could only drive against the body of the onrushing Kasper Schmeichel.

Leeds has a great opportunity of their own three minutes later, with Wojciech Szczesny saving well at the feet of Luciano Becchio after a neat through-ball from Snodgrass.

Jonny Howson cleared off his own line after a bundled effort from Sebastien Squillaci, while Becchio also cleared off the post following a goalmouth scramble.

Arsenal began the second half in similar vein, but they were not prepared for what was to come in the 54th minute as Leeds went in front against the run of play.

Max Gradel, barely in the game all afternoon, skipped into the box, was brought down by Denilson and, after Phil Dowd had pointed to the spot, Snodgrass blasted under the body of Szczesny to send the 9000 travelling fans wild.

Snodgrass flashed a 30-yard free-kick narrowly wide after Becchio had been brought down, while Arsenal appealed for a penalty of their own following Andy O'Brien's fine tackle on Nicklas Bendtner.

Arsenal thought they had won a penalty with two minutes to go when Alex Bruce and Walcott came together, but the linesman had flagged for offside. But, just seconds later, Parker pulled Walcott back in the area and Dowd had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, allowing Fabregas to level.

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Andrey Arshavin
Sebastien Squillaci
Premier League
Manchester United
Wojciech Szczesny
Ben Parker
Kasper Schmeichel
Tomas Rosicky
Robert Snodgrass
Nicklas Bendtner
FA Cup
Leeds United
Luciano Becchio
Theo Walcott

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