Arsenal vs Leeds United
Two of English football’s big names, Arsenal and Leeds United have been involved in some unforgettable clashes over many a decade.
And on the occasions when their respective heydays have crossed over, those matches have had extra spice.
Of course, both clubs are now at very different stages of their development but, in what will be their first Premier League meeting in North London for nearly 17 years, the intensity should remain unrelenting.
Given that the sides are currently midtable and given that Leeds have scored 11 more goals and conceded an entertainingly high 15 more than the Gunners, this should also provide Premier League highlights for the neutrals.
Leeds have already shown they can give the leading sides a good game – most recently in a 3-1 success at high-flying Leicester City.
On others, they have been thumped good and proper.
The question is, which Leeds will turn up at the Emirates?
They will monitor midfielder Kalvin Phillips, who came off in Monday’s win over Crystal Palace with a calf injury.
Marcelo Bielsa doesn’t expect any other injured members of his squad to return.
FA Cup holders Arsenal will be without Thomas Partey, who strained a hamstring during last weekend’s defeat at Aston Villa.
Kieran Tierney remains sidelined with a leg injury but goalkeeper Bernd Leno and centre-back David Luiz are available after serving one-match bans.
It’s also likely captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang will return to the starting line-up.
A substitute last weekend, he missed a number of recent games as he cared for his ill mother, a period which boss Mikel Arteta said had ‘drained’ his star striker.
His reputation as a fans’ favourite was evident again this week as he surprised a fan celebrating his 70th birthday with a heartwarming letter.
The Gabon international’s return could well be a catalyst for Arsenal who may have lost successive league games but are unbeaten in five at home and have not conceded in any of the last three.
Indeed, they could keep five successive home clean sheets in all competitions for the first time since a run of seven from December 2013 to February 2014.
However, with Leeds dangerous in attack and generous in defence, I wouldn’t put my money on any clean sheets!
It is quite a history and, for the most part of their league meetings in the modern day, it’s been one-sided.
In fact, Leeds have not beaten Arsenal since May 2003 but that was a mightily important game as it was a shock win which ensured Leeds survived in the Premier League, while ending Arsenal’s title hopes at the expense of Manchester United.
It remains their only success against the Gunners in the last 11 league meetings in league and cup.
They drew 0-0 at Elland Road earlier this season which was their best result for some time.
Until then, their most recent top flight match had been in 2004 when Arsenal were on the verge of reclaiming the championship and Leeds were within weeks of being relegated. That night Thierry Henry was unstoppable, netting four in a 5-0 win at Highbury.
Since then, they have met four times in the third round of the FA Cup with Arsenal winning all three ties (one following a replay).
In 2011, Arsenal needed a last gasp Cesc Fabregas penalty to earn a 1-1 draw before winning the replay 3-1 at Elland Road when Samir Nasri, Bakary Sagna and Robin van Persie scored the goals.
The following season, Arsenal won 1-0 with a goal from the returning Henry who was on loan at the club.
They then repeated that scoreline in the competition last year with Reiss Nelson the matchwinner.
Historically, the rivalry has been a much closer one with 47 Arsenal wins, 41 Leeds triumphs and 33 draws.
They have never met in the league outside of the top flight.
Arsenal are firm favourites with the SBOTOP Premier League betting odds, despite back-to-back league defeats.
Leeds, meanwhile, may fancy their chances of upsetting the home side given they are a point ahead of them in the table.
If you do fancy Marcelo Bielsa’s side, look no further than Asian Handicap +0.25 @ 2.42 or 1X2 @ 4.20.
A draw will earn a decent pay day too @ 3.55.
A repeat of the goalless draw from November with correct score odds also offers attractive odds of @ 14.00.
As for the Gunners, they can be backed to bounce back either 1X2 @ 1.82 or Asian Handicap -0.75 @ 2.13. After an encouraging start to the new year, Arsenal have lost their way a little and need to win.
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
CHECK OUT OUR BLOG FOR MORE FOOTBALL STORIES & ODDS
Stay updated with everything sports and betting.