Noel Whelan slaughtered Illan Meslier’s first-half “horror show” against Arsenal as Leeds United slumped to a 4-2 defeat.

The former Leeds attacker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted that all three first-period goals were preventable.

A brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and a low drive from Hector Bellerin had Leeds three goals down at the interval before Aubameyang completed his hattrick in the second half.

Pascal Struijk and Helder Costa pulled two goals back as the game finished 4-2 but the performance of Meslier came in for much criticism in the immediate aftermath of the game.

Whelan labelled the Whites keeper’s failure to keep out Bellerin’s goal as ‘criminal’ but insisted that Meslier will see the game as a learning curve.

He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, “It’s one of those learning curves. His kicking wasn’t great, the penalty just summed it up really, he was far too slow. 

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“We knew Arsenal were pressing high and aggressively with intent, I struggle to understand how he felt that he had that much time on the ball.

“It’s a mistake that cost a penalty and gave Arsenal a 2-0 lead in the game but I believe three of the goals were preventable. 

“The three goals in the first half. When Aubameyang cuts inside normally Kalvin’s [Phillips] there to back it up and send them down the line. 

“Maybe Meslier could’ve got down a bit better and earlier. It wasn’t struck with tremendous power but maybe it just caught him off guard. 

“Second one, well that’s just a mistake he’ll look back on and realise you don’t get that much time on the ball in the Premier League. 

“The third one, for me you’ve got to save anything at the near post. It’s criminal. Not the finest 45 minutes for Meslier but he’s not had too many horror shows this season and he made some good saves in the second half.”

Meslier has only missed one Premier League game this season as he was absent for the club’s 1-0 loss to Brighton in January through illness.

The 20-year-old has kept seven clean sheets in the Premier League which has helped Leeds climb to 11th place in table.

In other Leeds United news, Whelan: Bielsa got it badly wrong over these three Leeds players v Arsenal.