Two entertainers Leeds and Arsenal meet as they aim to bounce back from heavy defeats
Arsenal to win 3-2
Both Leeds and Arsenal have blown hot and cold so far this season and need three points this weekend to re-energise their team going into the next phase of the season.
Arsenal have, at times, been on the verge of the top four following a win here and there, before falling to a poor defeat the next time out.
Their victory over Manchester United prompted many to suggest that this was a sign of things to come under manager Arteta, before putting in a shocking performance against Aston Villa, losing 3-0.
The Gunners seems to have problems finding their best side and formation and are likely to produce inconsistent results until they do so.
Leeds have constantly entertained in all of their matches, but have hit on a run of bad form recently which has seen them drop from 6th to 15th in recent weeks.
This should be a match with plenty of goals.
Form Guide (all comps): DLWLL
Reasons to be cheerful:
Midfielder Kalvin Phillips is available after a month of injury
Have consistently troubled the top teams this season
Reasons to be fearful:
Recent form is worrying and will want to stop the rot
Hernandez, Shackleton and Llorente are unavailable
The last two matches, both defeats, will have worried manager Marco Bielsa.
Losing 4-1 to both Crystal Palace and Leicester showed defensive frailties that their manager will not have seen before, especially after a Championship season where they prided themselves on a solid back line.
Because Leeds have blown hot and cold this season, certainly in terms of results, it’s hard to know which we’ll see against Arsenal this weekend. The fact that Arsenal are suffering from such mixed form too may motivate them to perform at their best.
It is likely that midfielder Kalvin Phillips, a key player during the earlier successes of the season, will be back fit after missing the past month through shoulder injury.
A positive, attacking Leeds could cause Arsenal a heap of problems this weekend.
Star Man – Patrick Bamford
Was unlucky to have a goal chalked off controversially for offside against Palace.
Form Guide (all comps): LWWWL
Reasons to be cheerful
Opponents are conceding plenty of goals
Manchester United victory showed improvement, but consistency is a must
Reasons to be fearful
New signing Thomas Partey has suffered an injury and will miss out
Defeat to Villa shows huge improvements still needed
Of all the teams to suffer from mixed consistency this season, Arsenal have arguably been the most frustrating for their fans.
To go to Old Trafford and play brilliantly in victory over Manchester United captured the attentions of many, with predictions flying in that Arsenal could now challenge for the top four, if not higher.
Results before this, as well as afterwards, have shown that is unlikely to be the case for some time unless they can solve several problems at the club.
One of these is going forward – despite possession the likes of Aubameyang, Lacazette, Pepe and co. Arsenal are struggling to create chances.
They have only scored three goals in their last five league games – a shocking statistic for Arsenal football club.
Star Man – Bukayo Saka
Has been one of Arsenal’s best players in a tough season so far, and one of their brightest sparks in a blunt attack.
Goals are likely with both sides poor in defence
Game will come down which side is more positive
Thomas Partey will be a big miss for Arsenal
The lack of goals which Arsenal are scoring is a strange problem. The Gunners are known for the fluid attacking play, particularly against the smaller teams.
Arteta must find a way to get more from his players in the final third, but may find it easier to do so against a Leeds side who have not been the best at keeping the ball out of their own net.
The hope is that this one is a fast-paced, end to end game of football. Either side could pinch it, but Arsenal may just have enough this time.
Arsenal to win 3-2