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Preview: Arsenal vs Leeds United – prediction, team news, line-ups

Preview: Arsenal vs Leeds United – prediction, team news, line-ups

Arsenal resume their quest for an elusive Premier League triumph when they lock horns with relegation-battling Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium in Saturday’s lunchtime showdown.

Mikel Arteta’s side thrashed Crystal Palace 4-1 in front of the Gunners faithful heading into the international break, and the Spanish manager will be hoping for more of the same at the weekend.

However, they will come up against a reinvigorated Leeds side who took a massive step in their bid to retain top-flight status with a 4-2 success over Wolverhampton Wanderers in their last outing.

Having earned a second win in just four league games since arriving at Elland Road over a month ago, Javi Gracia will be hoping his side can muster a performance to stun the league leaders and register consecutive wins.

Match Preview

Arsenal continued their red-hot Premier League form at the expense of the previously managerless Palace as goals from Bukayo Saka (2), Gabriel Martinelli and Granit Xhaka ensured Jeffrey Schlupp’s second-half strike was only a consolation.

A perfect response to a disappointing Europa League night three days earlier, having fallen at the last 16 to Portuguese side Sporting CP at the Emirates following a nervy penalty shootout.

The disappointment on the European scene could be a blessing in disguise for the impressive Gunners as they can now focus on ending their Premier League title drought.

They have won their last six league games on the trot after failing to win any of the previous three following a patchy early February period.

The six-game streak is their longest such run under Arteta, and they will be hoping to extend it to seven for the first time since August – October 2018 under former manager Unai Emery.

Arsenal’s impressive record over Leeds bodes well for their chances as they are unbeaten in their last 13 meetings with the Lilywhites in all competitions (W11, D2).

Their only defeat to Saturday’s opponents in that run came in May 2003, which ended the Gunners’ title bid that season.

Despite opening up an eight-point lead at the top of the table with ten games to go, Arsenal will be wary of the never-say-die attitude of the chasing defending champions Manchester City who have a game in hand.

Maximum points against Leeds will see them take a step closer to immortality, but Leeds will fancy their chances of throwing a wrench in Arsenal’s plan following an impressive outing at Molineux.

Gracia’s side came out on top in the crucial relegation six-pointer against Wolves. Having raced to a three-goal lead around the hour mark, Wolves looked poised to muster a comeback as goals from Jonny Otto and Matheus Cunha put them within touching distance.

However, Otto received his marching orders with five minutes of normal time left to play before second-half substitute Rodrigo put the game beyond the reach of Julen Lopetegui’s side deep into stoppage time.

Leeds picked up their first success on the road to move two points clear of 18th-placed West Ham United, but a negative result on their trip to the Emirates could plunge them back in trouble.

Gracia has impressed in the Leeds dugout, having lost just one of his first four games (W2, D1), but it is still early to say whether or not the Spanish manager has what it takes to steer his side away from trouble.

Currently embroiled in a nine-way battle for survival, it goes without saying that a positive result in north London will do wonders for their objectives.

However, their uninspiring record against league leaders leaves little to be desired. Leeds have won just two of their 23 league games against teams at the summit of the division (D9, L12). 

Although both victories came away from home (v Middlesbrough in August 2000 and Man City in April 2021), Leeds have lost all four such games against Arsenal by an aggregate score of 14-2.

Premier League Form

Arsenal: WWWWWW

Leeds United: LLWLDW

Team News

Arsenal will be without Mohamed Elneny and Takehiro Tomiyasu, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery.

The Gunners are also sweating over the fitness of William Saliba, who has been sidelined for weeks with a back injury, leaving Rob Holding to keep his place in the starting line-up for a second consecutive game.

Midfield enforcer Thomas Partey, who missed Ghana’s 1-1 draw with Angola on Monday due to a minor concern, could start the game on the bench as a precaution.

Arteta has Gabriel Jesus back and healthy, but Eddie Nketiah is unlikely to return in time for the clash as he recovers from an ankle problem. 

Meanwhile, Kieran Tierney and club captain Martin Odegaard have also emerged as doubts, with the former picking up a calf injury via a tackle from Rodri while on international duty.

The Man City defensive midfielder will also be responsible for Odegaard’s potential absence, prompting suspicions of foul play from the defending champions.

Leeds did not come through the international break unscathed either, with Wilfried Gnonto (ankle injury) and defender Maximilian Wober (thigh) casualties for their countries.

Although it is understood the pair did not suffer any lasting damage, they could miss the weekend clash as a precaution.

Gracia will also be without midfielder Tyler Adams who strained his hamstring during training in the build-up to the Wolves clash.

Adams joins Stuart Dallas and Adam Forshaw in Leeds’ growing list of long-term absentees, while Luis Sinisterra and Pascal Struijk could return to the fold in light of Gracia’s fitness concerns.

Arsenal potential starting line-up:

(4-2-3-1): Aaron Ramsdale; Ben White, Rob Holding, Gabriel Magalhaes, Oleksandr Zinchenko; Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey; Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Martinelli; Gabriel Jesus.

Leeds United potential starting line-up:

(4-2-3-1): Illan Meslier; Luke Ayling, Robin Koch, Pascal Struijk, Junior Firpo; Weston McKennie, Marc Roca; Jack Harrison, Rodrigo, Luis Sinisterra; Patrick Bamford.

How to Watch?

Arsenal vs Leeds, alongside all other fixtures in England’s top flight, is available to watch online via live Premier League streams.

We Say: Arsenal 4-1 Leeds United

Leeds are not famous for running a tight ship at the back, but they have proven to be potent threats in attack and will back themselves to trouble the Arsenal backline.

The Lilywhites netted more goals in the 4-2 victory over Wolves than they had managed in their previous six on the road combined (3).

So the chances of continuing their goalscoring form at the Emirates is high, especially against an Arsenal side that have managed just one clean sheet in their last five games in all competitions.

However, whether Gracia can guide his side to an improbable victory is another question, with the title-chasers having scored at least three goals in their last four top-flight contests.

Arteta’s side survived several nail-biting moments to come away from Elland Road with a narrow 1-0 win back in October. 

But with the stakes much higher approaching the crucial part of the campaign, the Gunners should be swatting aside a lowly Leeds with relative ease.

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