….. Well, that one felt so long, the international break. Finally, some club football to enjoy this weekend. But Oh! what a treat we are about to receive. Pep going against Klopp, trying to catchup to Arteta, this week. While Arteta wanting to go 11 points clear. Arsenal will be hosting Leeds United in Matchday 29.
The visitors will not be comfy as their last win against Gunners came when Gen Z people were still babies. Surely there is a lot to settle. Arsenal have won their 6 previous games and looking forward to increase the tally. Whereas The Whites, under their new boss, are trying to stay as far from the relegation zone as possible. Statistically speaking, Leeds have struggled this season, be it away or home. They have secured only 9 points away from home, which a big reason of concern. On the similar lines, if compared to Arsenal, they are the team with most points secured, playing at home. This clearly plays into the hands of Arsenal.
Recently, appointed Javi Garcia has won 2, lost 2 and drew 1 from his 5 matches that he has managed Leeds in. A faith has been put into the Spaniard. This would be a battle between the two former La Roja players who used to play in the midfield back in the day. Who gets on top is all to be witnessed.
Arsenal’s PL form: W W W W W
Leeds United’s PL form: W D L W L
WHEN & WHERE?
Where: Emirates Stadium, London.
When: Saturday, 31st March 2023.
Time: 7:30 PM IST / 2:00 PM GMT
Referee: Darren England
Assistants: Dan Cook, Nick Hopton
Fourth official: Jarred Gillett
VAR: Craig Pawson
Assistant VAR: Marc Perry
Arsenal’s in-form defender William Saliba is, once again, ruled out for this fixture. He is still recovering from the injury he had, when playing against Sporting CP, in the European fixture. Tomiyasu, Nketiah and the long term absentee Elneny will be missed. While, Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney will be assessed prior to the match.
For The Whites, Adam Forshaw, Stuart Dallas and Tyler Adams will not be playing this fixture due to injury. Although Maximilian Wober and Wilfried Gnonto are still in doubt. Their injury status should not be hindered as the matches against their relegation rivals are on the avenue. This might lead to Cooper and Summerville starting for Leeds in this match.
The Box midfield of Arsenal is well renowned these days. Arteta loves the 4-3-3 shape. He enjoys the midfield superiority provided by tucking in of Zinchenko and joining Partey to form a middle double pivot. While, Xhaka and Ode operate as number 8’s. Ben White has been having a season of his life. The auxiliary Centre Back role suits him very perfectly. He just might be the best one in the Premier League at his position. At front, vicious Saka alongside with Martinelli and Trossard are haunting the defences and running riot. Gabriel Jesus might be appearing from the bench as he is just coming out of an injury.
For Leeds, Javi Garcia sets up in the 4-2-3-1 formation on paper. Under him, Leeds do not usually enjoy the possession. They are seen defending in more of a 4-4-2 shape. With wide midfielders on the wings defending the line with the midfield of double pivot. Their top scorer Rodrigo will surely be missed as he is sidelined for 2 months after suffering an injury blow. The pressure is on Harrison and Bamford to create chances and trouble the Arsenal defense.
The guy in the red-hot form, who is ruling the hearts of every London citizen. Bukayo Saka is the name. The rising star does not seem to catch break even in the international break. Saka scored a brace against Crystal Palace before the int’l break was about to start. With massive 12 goals and 10 assists, Saka is amongst the only handful of players with double digit goals and assists. Clearly it only gets better for him. The 21-year-old has been decisive for his team this season. Surely, he is the key player for this fixture as well.
The creative Left footed Englishman would be the player to look out for Leeds United. Since Patrick Bamford will be absent, it is all upto Harrison to pull the strings in attack. With a combine tally of 9 including Goals and assists, he might be few of the Leeds’ players to actually find a bit of relief in these troubled times. His relief will be at test as Ben White will be the player he will be going against. The RB is having a terrific season, Harrison has a lot up his sleeve for this fixture.
Arsenal predicted starting lineup: Ramsdale; White, Holding, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Trossard, Martinelli.
Leeds United predicted starting lineup: Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Cooper, Firpo; Roca, McKennie; Summerville, Aaronson, Harrison; Bamford