Arsenal are expected to name an unchanged lineup from their win over West Ham United when they take on an injury-hit Leeds United at Elland Road on Saturday.
Mikel Arteta will be desperate to end Arsenal’s slump on the road following three successive away defeats in the Premier League. The major concern will be the level of performance, as the Gunners have failed to reproduce the intensity and pressing when playing away compared to their home form.
There could be every chance that Arteta shakes things up slightly for Arsenal’s trip to Elland Road, although looking at their midweek performance against West Ham, it is unlikely he will change the lineup. Arsenal could field the same players against Leeds, barring any late changes deemed necessary by the manager.
The subject of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s exile continues to dominate headlines, and Arteta confirmed the former captain’s absence for the trip to take on Leeds United. In foresight, it could have been the perfect game for the Gabonese striker to bounce back, especially considering he scored a hat-trick in the corresponding fixture last season.
During his pre-match press conference, Arteta chose to stay away from the subject as much as possible by simply stating, “For this game, he’s not available for selection.” Arteta instead decided to speak briefly on Alexandre Lacazette, who is expected to don the captain’s armband for Arsenal for the foreseeable future.
On Lacazette, Arteta said, “He’s always been a really important player, and since we’ve been together, he’s played a lot under me. I have always been really pleased with him. He’s always been a really important player, and since we’ve been together, he’s played a lot under me, and I’ve always been really pleased with him.”
On to the team news, Arteta is fortunate not to have any major problems with injury, as most of his players are fit to play against Leeds. The only exception is Sead Kolasinac and possibly Bernd Leno, with the German goalkeeper failing to feature in the last two matchday squads.
Arsenal will field the same back five that has kept a clean sheet in the last two games, with Aaron Ramsdale the undisputed starter between the sticks. Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes and Kieran Tierney will form the back four.
Arteta might have been tempted to change the midfield by giving Albert Sambi Lokonga a place in the starting lineup. However, the partnership between Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey has been flourishing in the central areas, meaning a change in the double-pivot is unlikely.
Gabriel Martinelli, who had a wonderful outing against the Hammers, came off with a problem. However, there is no mention of an issue troubling the Brazilian in the build-up to the game. The indications are he will keep his place ahead of Emile Smith Rowe, who could yet again be an option off the bench.
Alexandre Lacazette will continue to lead the line for Arsenal and captain the side, with Martin Odegaard operating just behind him, reprising the no. 10 role. Bukayo Saka will continue to attack from the right-hand side, with Nicolas Pepe a backup option to replace him later in the game.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Lacazette