Sleeping giants Leeds travel to reinvigorated Arsenal


Two of England’s biggest clubs, Arsenal and Leeds United, face off in round three of the FA Cup.

Despite both teams falling from grace over recent years, this is still a clash that many supporters look forward to.

The Gunners got their first win under Mikel Arteta on New Years Day; a 2-0 win over Manchester United, while the visitors drew 1-1 away at West Bromwich Albion the same evening.

Although the Gunners are favourites to head into round four, they should be wary of the threat Leeds hold.

The Yorkshire side are currently managed by Marcelo Bielsa, who was recognised by Pep Guardiola as the “best coach in the world.” The Whites sit top of the Championship and with a squad which graces the likes of Mateusz Klich, Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford, there is no doubt a potential upset could be on the cards.

But if there’s anyone who knows about this cup, its Arsenal’s new head coach. The Spaniard, 37, has won the FA Cup on three occasions, twice as an Arsenal player and most recently as Manchester City’s assistant manager in May 2019.

It should be pointed out too that Arsenal are the most successful side in the competition, with 13 victories; their last coming in May 2017 thanks to a 2-1 win over Chelsea.

With the North London side miles below expectation in the Premier League and a top-four finish very unlikely, could Arteta be interested in a potential cup run and a 14th FA Cup?

Following Leeds’ relegation to the Football League in 2004, the clubs have come face to face only three times in the last 15 years. The last meeting was in January 2012 when Arsenal legend Thierry Henry scored the winner in his second debut for the club.

Team news

For Arsenal, Kieran Tierney is still unavailable following his shoulder dislocation and Calum Chambers is out for the rest of the season following a knee injury sustained against Chelsea. Gabriel Martinelli and Hector Bellerin could return after both picking up thigh injuries.

Pablo Hernandez is out for Leeds with a hamstring injury. Jamie Shackleton has a muscular problem. Tyler Roberts is expected to return next week and Adam Forshaw has a hip problem.

Robbie Gotts and Illan Meslier are to make their first-team debuts. Leeds’ first choice ‘keeper Kiko Casilla and captain Liam Cooper are to be rested.

Mikel Arteta praised Bielsa and Leeds United ahead of their Emirates meeting

“Just what he gets out of his team, how he makes them fight and challenge and run and compete, and never give up in any game or any circumstances. He generates that belief in the players, those demands and that is why, in my opinion, he is one of the most successful managers.”

“The way they play, the manner they behave, I follow their coach for a long time and I know how tough it will be to play against them.”

Marcelo Bielsa on the huge task at the Emirates

“Of course it is a big challenge for us.”

“It is enough to see the players and the prestige and level they have.

“The stadium they play at and the quantity of people who go to the stadium, how many supporters they have around the world, the manager and previous managers- all these facts describe the power of the club.

“Being the favourite in one game is external analysis.

“When people think that we are the favourite in one match, we don’t consider things like that, neither with the opposite, which is in this case.

“Every time we compete we trust in our resources and respect our opponent’s resources.

“We will always do this with the wish to impose our style and we will try to do this on Monday.”


Arsenal wins – 46

Draws – 32

Leeds United wins – 41




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