Arsenal host Leeds United at the Emirates today, looking to turn around a dip in form that has derailed the club’s post-Christmas momentum. The Gunners need to start picking up full points again if they want to remain in the hunt for the European places. As has been the case for most of the season, Leeds have had mixed results of late, beating Leicester City but losing to Brighton. I think that comes with the territory of Marcelo Bielsa’s style — sometimes it works and they look great, other times they just don’t “have” it on the day.
The clubs have met twice this season: Arsenal knocked Leeds out of the FA Cup in January and the teams drew back in November. If you don’t remember, that 0-0 draw saw Nicolas Pépé sent off for “headbutting” Ezgjan Alioski. The Leeds man poked fun at Pépé in the media during the week, so hopefully the karma gods took note and are ready to enable the Nicolas Pépé revenge game where he scores a hat trick.
Arsenal will be without the services of Thomas Partey, whose most recent muscle injury is a bit worse than initially thought. The midfielder is expected to be out at least another week. Kieran Tierney’s “leg discomfort” was clarified during the week — he has a knee problem and while he is working back into fitness, is very unlikely to be involved today. Bernd Leno and David Luiz are both available today, having served their one-match suspension for their red cards against Wolves.
Marcelo Bielsa has quite the list of injured players right now, Diego Llorente, Robin Koch, Domenico Berardi, Ian Poveda, Rodrigo, Pablo Hernandez, and Adam Forshaw are all out. Midfield engine Kalvin Phillips faces a late fitness test.
Arsenal - Leno, Bellerin, Gabriel, Luiz, Soares, Xhaka, Smith Rowe, Ceballos, Saka, Odegaard, Aubameyang
Leeds - Meslier, Ayling, Cooper, Struijk, Alioski, Harrison, Shackleton, Klich, Dallas, Raphinha, Bamford
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