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Arsenal v Leeds preview | Trio set to return, Bellerin to start please + prediction

By on January 6, 2020

Rob Holding arsenal 2019

Arsenal take on Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium in the third round of the FA Cup tonight.

Mikel Arteta got his tenure up and running with an impressive 2-0 victory over Manchester United on New Year’s Day so the Arsenal coach will be hoping to build some momentum to get our season back on track.

There is renewed optimism around the club right now following Arteta’s arrival and the players look happy again so it’s important we maintain that feel-good factor as it’s been a difficult few months at the Emirates.

However, we’ve been handed a tough draw in the FA Cup as we’ll host Leeds United – who are flying high at the top of the Championship and are expected to gain promotion back to the Premier League this season – so it’s certainly going to be a tricky test.

Team news

Arteta is expected to rotate his squad with the likes of Bernd Leno, Sokratis, David Luiz, Lucas Torreira, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette rested. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also due a breather but he may be named on the bench.

Gabriel Martinelli could return up front as he’s been back in training after recovering from a hamstring injury while Rob Holding is set for a recall after being named on the bench against United following several weeks out with a knee problem.

Hector Bellerin should also start at right-back after overcoming a niggling hamstring issue while Dani Ceballos could start after making his return from a hamstring injury that’s kept him out for almost two months.

Sead Kolasinac limped off against Man Utd with an ankle issue so he could be replaced by Bukayo Saka at left-back as Kieran Tierney remains on the sidelines. Calum Chambers has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee ligament injury.

Eddie Nketiah has returned to Arsenal after not seeing enough game-time during his loan spell at Leeds but Robbie Gotts and Illan Meslier could make their debuts for the visitors.

Preferred line-up

football formations

Expected Leeds XI: Meslier, Ayling, White, Cooper, Alioski, Phillips, Helder Costa, Gotts, Klich, Harrison, Bamford

Score prediction

Arteta will want a good cup run to try and salvage something from the season and he may see the FA Cup as a good opportunity to win some silverware. Leeds will obviously be a tough test and this will be the first time we’ve met them in the FA Cup since Thierry Henry came off the bench to score the winner when he returned to the club in January 2012.

Hopefully the second-string try to take this opportunity to impress the new manager as if we drop our level we could be on the wrong end of a shock result. However, I’m backing the boys to do just enough to book Arsenal’s place in the fourth round. Arsenal 2-1 Leeds  

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