Arsenal and new head coach Mikel Arteta will host Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United on Monday in the FA Cup third round. This is the first meeting between the two since they met in the same competition in January 2012. The Gunners prepare for the encounter with few rotation options available to Arteta.
Arsenal v Leeds United Preview
Arsenal will be without Calum Chambers for the next six to nine months. The versatile defender suffered a ruptured anterior crucial ligament injury, same as Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin last season, against Manchester United.
Although normally a centre-back, the former Southampton man has seen action at right-back as well this season. Speaking of full-backs, Kieran Tierney remains sidelined as he recovers from a dislocated shoulder.
Hector Bellerin is also a doubt with a tight hamstring issue. Same too with Gabriel Martinelli, although both do have a chance at making the bench at least.
Meanwhile, Leeds United are without just one of their players. Striker Tyler Roberts is set to miss out with a hamstring issue of his own, although it is not reported to be serious. Other than that, Marcelo Bielsa is working with a full squad.
Bielsa is in his second season in charge of Leeds and he narrowly missed out on promotion after finishing third last year and making the playoffs. They currently sit joint-top in the Championship, level on points with West Bromwich Albion with a superior goal difference.
However, Leeds have struggled somewhat recently. They have picked up just one win and six points from their last five fixtures. Meanwhile, Arsenal have been in dismal form for almost the entire season up until very recently.
Mikel Arteta’s first two matches in charge came against Chelsea and Manchester United. While they let a one-goal lead slip in the former to lose, the Gunners played magnificently well against the Red Devils and took home all three points.
Perhaps they are turning a corner.
Arsenal v Leeds United Prediction
The Gunners are clear favourites, even if they sit in lowly tenth place in the Premier League table. However, that doesn’t mean they can take their opponents lightly. Bielsa is a world-renown coach and will surely get his players up for this big encounter with a big top-flight side.
Even with a number of injuries and having played a lot recently, Arsenal should still have the fire power to blast Leeds United out of the water.
Predicted score: Arsenal 3 Leeds United 1
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