The biggest question mark for Arsenal’s squad is Ben White who missed out on the win at West Ham. In his press briefing this week, Mikel Arteta noted, “Ben White is still in contention so he needs to train tomorrow to make sure that he’s available to play.” Otherwise, Arsenal enters the match with no new injuries and hoping to keep it that way before they have to face Tottenham in the coming week. It’s tempting to look ahead to that derby, but Arsenal simply cannot let Sunday’s match be an afterthought.
The Gunners will be hoping that recent history continues as the club has a terrific record against Leeds United. Now with Leeds dipping out of the Premier League for so long, there was an eight-year gap from 2012 until 2020 where the two sides didn’t meet. However, Arsenal is unbeaten in the last 11 matches against Leeds, including nine wins. Since 2020 the Gunners have outscored their opponent 11 to 3.
If you missed it make sure to check out this week’s Q&A with SB Nation’s Leeds United site Through It All Together.
- Alexandre Lacazette
- Gabriel Martinelli
- Ben White
- Albert Sambi Lokonga
- Bernd Leno
- Miguel Azeez
- Omari Hutchinson
- Left Out: Kieran Tierney (injury) & Thomas Partey (injury)
- It sounds like Ben White could very well be available to start on Sunday, but is it needed? With Rob Holding’s strong performance against West Ham is it not better to give him the start again, perhaps sub in White late in the second half, to then prepare him for a start against Tottenham in a few days?
- Similarly, how much risk will Mikel Arteta want to take with Tomiyasu? While you can’t look past Leeds, ideally you want Tomiyasu and White starting on Thursday. So would it be best to start Cedric instead or plan a 60/30 split with Takehiro not being pushed the entire match? I’d want to secure the three points against Leeds and re-assess the squad’s fitness on Monday/Tuesday.
- In an ideal situation, Arsenal has a comfortable lead by the 60-minute mark and Mikel Arteta can begin to pull some key players out. We’ve already talked about the backline, but up front getting Pepe, Lacazette, and Martinelli could all use a few minutes on the pitch, if they aren’t starting. How lovely would the five substitute rule be right now with Arteta able to send in White, Cedric/Tomiyasu, Lacazette, Pepe, and Smith Rowe/Martinelli in the second half?
- Which brings us to what I see as the last unknown for this starting XI - Martinelli or Smith Rowe? Would you start Gabby once again or continue to rotate him and Emile? Does it depend on which you would rather start against Tottenham? Both are dangerous, both have brought wonderful energy to the offense this season, and both would love the chance to attack Tottenham’s back in a few days.
How to watch
Sunday (5/8) at 9:00 am ET / 6:00 am PT on Peacock Premium.
Arsenal - 2
Leeds United - 0
Leeds United are struggling with injuries and an already thin squad. With momentum on their side and in control of 4th place, I expect a very supportive Emirates on Sunday morning. Everyone knows how critical these three home points are ahead of the North London Derby. Don’t look ahead and put away Leeds in the first half.