Leeds United will face an uphill task to end their winless streak when they welcome table toppers Arsenal to Elland Road on Sunday afternoon.
Arsenal just cannot stop winning and are one point ahead of the reigning champions Manchester City at the top of the table, while Jesse Marsch’s men sit in 14th place with nine points to their name.
Last summer’s personnel overhaul saw a team that unmistakably has Marsch’s stamp all over it, but Leeds have endured a destabilising slump since the highs of romping past Chelsea in August.
The Lilywhites took seven points from their first three games, but they are winless in their last five outings (D2, L3) and have taken a measly two points from a possible 15 ahead of Sunday’s showdown.
Pascal Strujik handed Leeds the lead inside the first ten minutes of the closely contested game when Marsch’s side visited Crystal Palace.
The American could not have asked for a better start to the contest. But despite their early vigour, Odsonne Edouard levelled matters in the first half before Eberechi Eze ensured the Lilywhites left south London empty-handed.
Marsch insisted that his side’s 2-1 defeat was ‘a step in the right direction’ given their proactive approach, which unsettled the Eagles for much of the contest.
However, whether or not they can take another step in said direction when they play hosts to the league leaders remains to be seen.
Arsenal emerged victorious from a dramatic, highly tense brawl with their fiery foes Liverpool, ending their Jurgen Klopp curse. The result could not have come at a better time.
Mikel Arteta then fielded a heavily rotated side for their Europa League trip to previously unbeaten Bodo/Glimt, but they returned to north London with yet another win in the bag.
It is now 11 wins from 12 games across all competitions, and Arteta’s high-flying Gunners continue to look infallible as they build on their winning momentum.
With Pep Guardiola’s side breathing down their necks, Arsenal will be looking to continue their near-perfect record and temporarily go four points clear of the title holders.
Arsenal have won eight of their nine Premier League games this season (L1) and will be looking to make it nine from ten games for the first time in their top-flight history.
The Gunners have been prolific in front of goal in the Premier League this season, scoring three goals in each of their last three games, and have kept three clean sheets in their four away matches.
Their impressive away record will boost their confidence coming into this game as they have won 10 of their last 15 league games on their travels (L5) – a run which coincidentally started with a 4-1 win at Leeds last December.
The bulk of Leeds’ misfortunes thus far have come on their travels. Marsch’s side are unbeaten at home this season (W2, D2), conceding just two goals in four games.
He will be hoping his side’s home form can propel them to a result against the rampant Gunners, but Leeds have only ever gone unbeaten in their first five home Premier League games twice in their history.
Leeds fell to defeat home and away against Sunday’s opposition last season, and it has now been 19 years since the Whites last prevailed against Arsenal.
The last time they triumphed over the Gunners was when they ended Arsenal’s Premier League title hopes at Highbury in 2003.
Leeds United vs Arsenal Potential Line-ups
Leeds United (4-2-3-1): Illan Meslier; Rasmus Kristensen, Robin Koch, Liam Cooper, Pascal Struijk; Tyler Adams, Marc Roca; Jack Harrison, Brenden Aaronson, Luis Sinisterra; Rodrigo.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Aaron Ramsdale; Benjamin White, William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, Takehiro Tomiyasu; Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey; Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli; Gabriel Jesus.
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Leeds United vs Arsenal Prediction
Leeds have proven to be a tough nut to crack at Elland Road this season, and Sinisterra’s return will boost their attacking firepower.
However, the absence of a killer instinct will cost them against an Arsenal side looking to use the tie as an avenue to put some distance between them and second-placed City should the Cityzens falter at Anfield.
Leeds United 1-3 Arsenal
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