Arsenal v Leeds: Gunners can shoot down lowly Leeds

Arsenal look to cement their position in the Premier League's top-four when they welcome relegation-threatened Leeds to The Emirates on Sunday. Mark O'Haire shares his views.

Arteta pleased with ugly Arsenal win

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said it was the sign of a big team for the Gunners to be able to win ugly as the Gunners beat West Ham 2-1 away at the London Stadium to reclaim fourth spot in the Premier League last weekend. The capital club knew only a win would lift them back into the Champions League places, and they responded by grinding out a key three points.

It was Arteta's centre-backs who came up with the goods, with Gabriel Magalhaes nodding the winner early in the second half after Rob Holding had opened the scoring from Bukayo Saka's 38th-minute corner. However, the visitors were not at their fluent best throughout and often struggled to get a foothold in the match against more vibrant opposition.

Speaking post-match, Arteta admitted: "We didn't play so well. We won ugly. Big teams have to find a way to win ugly when they don't play well. We found a way through set pieces and defending strongly. We showed incredible spirit. We adapted. You have to find a way to win all the time to win - forcing mistakes, being brilliant, digging in, clean sheets."

Marsch proud of Leeds despite defeat

Leeds head coach Jesse Marsch insisted he was proud of his players after overseeing a 4-0 home reverse to table-topping Manchester City last weekend, suggesting that the outcome was like a win in 'many ways'. The Whites were competitive against the champions but failed to take chances that came their way, while the visitors were ruthless by comparison.

A pair of set-piece goals, one in each half, were particularly disappointing for Marsch yet his overriding emotion was pride due to a performance that gives him hope for the relegation battle. He said, "It's a shame. If you take out those two goals, the first 70 minutes were pretty good from a Leeds perspective. We had control in many parts of the match."

Leeds were dealt a blow pre-kick-off with key centre-half Liam Cooper being ruled out and their afternoon worsened when influential Stuart Dallas was forced off with a serious injury. Marsch needs to find goals to replace absent forward Patrick Bamford and now find a system that will work without two more of the team's most important components.

Home comforts suit Gunners

Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 11 meetings with Leeds across all competitions (W9-D2-L0), a run that goes all the way back May 2003. The Gunners are currently on a three-game winning streak against the Whites, with the North London outfit finding the back of the net in each of their most recent 12 tussles when welcoming Leeds to the capital (W9-D0-L3).

Three consecutive Premier League triumphs has propelled Arsenal 1.49 back into the top-four. Only Man City (26) and Liverpool (25) have won more league matches than Mikel Arteta's men (20) this season and the hosts boast an excellent W19-D3-L6 record against sides outside the top-four, including a formidable W11-D2-L1 at The Emirates this season.

Leeds7.60 only reverse in six (W3-D2-L1) came against Man City last weekend and the Whites have seven points from nine in their last three away days (W2-D1-L0). However, the Yorkshire giants have tended to toil against elite opposition, returning 10 defats from 10 against the top-six in the Premier League this term, conceding 43 goals in the process.

The Asian Handicap angle

Surprisingly, Arsenal's matches at The Emirates have largely been timid affairs. The Gunners' home venue has averaged only 2.53 goals per-game with only 9/17 (53%) beating the standard Over 2.5 Goals 1.62 line. Indeed, only half of the hosts' eight encounters here against bottom-half clubs produced a maximum of two strikes.

In contrast, matches involving Leeds remain the highest-scoring in the Premier League at 3.24 per-game, with that figure hiking to 3.41 on the road. Seven (41%) of the Whites' away days have featured five goals or more, including six of seven trips to top-eight opposition, and the absence of Liam Cooper and Stuart Dallas here does raise the levels of concern.

With the goals markets a bit too short to support, I'm happy instead to take Arsenal -1 in the Asian Handicap market at 1.78. A one-goal home success sees our stake returned, whilst a two-goal margin of victory or more will provide a pay-out.

0 nhận xét Blogger 0 Facebook

Post a Comment