Arsenal kick off their FA Cup campaign home to Championship-leading Leeds United. Manager Marcelo Bielsa’s club, along with West Brom, is nine points clear, but in guiding the Peacocks to the top of the Championship, Bielsa did not give Arsenal loanee Eddie Nketiah sufficient playing time. The Gunners recalled the young striker last week and are expected to send him back out on loan during the January window.
The clubs last met in the 2011-12 FA Cup — Arsenal won 1-0. It was the first match in which Mikel Arteta captained the Gunners. Arsene Wenger sent out quite the lineup that day: Szczesny, Coquelin, Squillaci, Koscielny, Miquel, Arteta, Song, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Arshavin, Chamakh. More importantly, one Thierry Henry came off the bench to make his second Arsenal debut. You may remember what happened next.
It will be interesting to see how Mikel Arteta treats the FA Cup and which players he uses. A shot at a trophy is a shot at a trophy, but Arsenal also needs its best players fit and rested for the Europa League and maybe an improbable run at 4th in the Premier League table. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and David Luiz, both on the wrong side of 30, have played a ton this season and could probably use any time off Arteta can find them. This chart gives a window into how and when players have been used in the Premier League at Arsenal this season (it does not include cup competition usage).
Here's a more in-depth breakdown of Arsenal's player minutes colour-coded by game state pic.twitter.com/CHOySnT6Cm— Peter McKeever (@petermckeever) January 6, 2020
Nathan took a shot at guessing the Gunners’ starting 11 for today’s match, and while I like the young lineup he predicted, I have a feeling that Mikel Arteta is going to trot out a more experienced side. The players haven’t had much time to learn or chance to practice Arteta’s formation and tactics; today’s match provides a good opportunity.
Arsenal - Martinez, Sokratis, David Luiz, Holding, Nelson, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Ozil, Lacazette, Pepe
Leeds - Meslier, Berardi, Ayling, White, Douglas, Gotts, Klich, Phillips, Harrison, Alioski, Bamford
Debuts for Illan Meslier and Robbie Gotts tonight against Arsenal, whilst Gaetano Berardi starts in defence alongside Luke Ayling who captains— Leeds United (@LUFC) January 6, 2020
WHAT: Arsenal vs. Leeds United, FA Cup 3rd Round
WHERE: The Emirates
WHEN: January 6th, 2020 11:56 AM PT | 2:56 PM ET | 7:56 PM BT
US TV: Not broadcast. Streaming on ESPN+ ($$$).
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