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Preview: Leeds United vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between Leeds United and Arsenal, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two teams in growing need of a Premier League victory face off on Sunday afternoon when Leeds United welcome Arsenal to Elland Road.

Both sides have lost three of their last four top-flight outings to undo promising starts to their respective campaigns, leaving them both languishing in the bottom half after eight games of the campaign.


Match preview

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on November 8, 2020© Reuters

Arsenal have had to wait two weeks for the chance to respond to their deflating 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Aston Villa last time out, and you can bet that manager Mikel Arteta has been stewing over that result and performance throughout the international break.

The Spaniard - still a relative managerial rookie - will have no doubt absorbed some of his mentor Pep Guardiola's admiration for the man in the opposite dugout on Sunday as he pits his wits against the vastly experienced Marcelo Bielsa.

While the two managers are at very different stages of their careers, they come into this match in similar positions, with three defeats in four league games and particularly disappointing three-goal losses last time out.

One day before Arsenal lost to Aston Villa, Leeds were beaten 4-1 by Crystal Palace, with that result coming off the back of another 4-1 defeat at the hands of Leicester City five days earlier.

As a result, two points separate the two bottom-half sides and, while they would have gone into the new campaign with very different objectives, both will be disappointed with such a slump after a positive start.

Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring against Arsenal in the Premier League on November 8, 2020© Reuters

Arsenal's three defeats in four games is as many as they had suffered in their previous 12 Premier League outings, and perhaps an even greater concern will be that they failed to even score in those three losses.

Indeed, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang among those misfiring, Arsenal have not found the back of the net from open play in almost six-and-a-half hours of Premier League football, with their only league goal since October 4 being Aubameyang's winner from the spot away to Manchester United.

Only one team outside the bottom four has scored fewer goals so far this season, which will come as very welcome news to a Leeds side that now has the joint-worst defensive record in the division following their back-to-back 4-1 defeats.

Bielsa's men have already conceded nine times at Elland Road this term - only Manchester United have shipped more in their own backyard - and you have to go all the way back to Boxing Day of 2003 for their last home clean sheet in the Premier League.

On the flip side, though, Leeds have scored 14 goals so far this term, which is the joint-most outside the top seven and the most by a promoted club in their opening eight matches since 2000-01.

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa pictured on November 7, 2020© Reuters

That could be a relevant statistic considering that two of Leeds' better performances so far this season came against Liverpool and Manchester City - two teams who like to play in a similar high-octane style to Arteta's Arsenal.

Last season's Championship winners seem to revel in going toe-to-toe with the big boys and Sunday's match could give them an opportunity to do that, although Bielsa will be well aware that getting points on the board is the most important thing - they earned only one from those games against Liverpool and Man City, after all.

Leeds' expectations were perhaps raised too high following their encouraging start to the campaign and it is worth remembering that they are a newly-promoted team, so sitting 15th in the table, seven points above the relegation zone after eight games and level with Manchester United, is by no means a bad position to be in.

However, those successive 4-1 losses will have been a wake-up call as to the continued challenges the Premier League demands, and this weekend they will be looking to avoid losing three league games on the bounce for the first time under Bielsa.

If they are to do that then they will need to improve a poor record against Arsenal, having failed to win any of their last seven meetings across all competitions in a run stretching back to May 2003, and failed to beat them at home since November 2000.

Leeds United Premier League form: WDLWLL

Arsenal Premier League form: LWLLWL
Arsenal form (all competitions): WLWWWL



Team News

Thomas Partey pictured in Arsenal gear on October 17, 2020© Reuters

Thomas Partey has been ruled out of this match due to the thigh injury he picked up before the international break, leaving Arsenal potentially light in midfield.

Mohamed Elneny is unavailable after testing positive for coronavirus, which means that Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka could both come into the starting lineup for this one.

Joe Willock is also knocking on the door following some impressive performances in the Europa League, while former Leeds loanee Eddie Nketiah will hope to be involved on his return to Elland Road too.

Along with Elneny, Sead Kolasinac returned a positive COVID-19 test during the international break and so will play no part, while Pablo Mari, Calum Chambers and Gabriel Martinelli all remain out too.

Reiss Nelson should be available, but Willian will need to return a negative coronavirus test after travelling to Dubai during the international break.

Leeds have been boosted by the news that Kalvin Phillips is back available after a shoulder injury, and he should go straight into the starting lineup for this one.

Rodrigo Moreno should also be available following a period of self-isolation, although he is more likely to be introduced from the bench.

Sunday's match will come too soon for Diego Llorente and Jamie Shackleton, while Pablo Hernandez has joined them on the injury list for this match with a muscle problem.

Patrick Bamford is expected to lead the line once again having scored seven goals in eight Premier League games for Leeds, although only one of those has come at Elland Road.

Leeds United possible starting lineup:
Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Cooper, Dallas; Phillips; Costa, Roberts, Klich, Harrison; Bamford

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Leno; Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Saka; Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang


SM words green background

We say: Leeds United 1-1 Arsenal

It is tough to know what to expect from either of these teams at the moment. Arsenal have won four and lost four of their Premier League games this season, while Leeds have only won one of their last five, so neither are coming into this one in particularly good form.

It is a match that could quite easily go either way, but with Arsenal missing a few players and Leeds having fared well against teams of similar style to Arsenal this season, we are backing the spoils to be shared.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data



Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


ID:423043:cQx

Who will win Sunday's Premier League clash between Leeds and Arsenal?

Leeds
Draw
Arsenal
Leeds
28.2%
Draw
23.3%
Arsenal
48.5%
326
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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on November 8, 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool106312217521
2Tottenham HotspurSpurs96212191220
3Chelsea953122101218
4Leicester CityLeicester96031812618
5Southampton95221713417
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19Fulham9117918-94
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd10019416-121

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