By David Woods

3rd Jan, 2020 | 6:55am

'I love watching Leeds' – Mark Lawrenson predicts FA Cup clash v Arsenal, makes big Bielsa claim

BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson has predicted that Arsenal will beat Leeds United in the eagerly-awaited FA Cup clash on Monday night. 

He thinks Leeds will “Come and have a go” but claims that Marcelo Bielsa will not want a cup run and that the manager won’t play his strongest team.

The tie gives Bielsa the chance to pit his side against Premier League opposition but the Championship is the priority for manager and players.

The festive season has been hectic for Leeds with four games in the space of 10 days and Bielsa may well make a raft of changes.

Writing in his regular predictions column for the BBC, Lawrenson said, “I love watching Leeds play and they are good enough to give Arsenal a test too.

“But they have seen previous promotion challenges fade in the second half of the season and I don’t think Marcelo Bielsa will want a cup run.

“Leeds will still come and have a go at the Emirates Stadium, but I don’t think they will do it with their first XI.”

Lawrenson has predicted that the score will be 2-0 to the home side.

Leeds fans are understandably excited about the FA Cup tie. Plenty are making the journey down, even though it couldn’t have been scheduled at a worse time.

However, most of them will be thinking exactly the same way as Lawrenson.

The only thing that matters this season is promotion and a cup run would just be a distraction.

Bielsa will likely make changes but if that is the case, the manager will probably let the fans know in his pre-match press conference. That’s what he did last year and explained that it’s important for fans not to travel with false expectations.

In other Leeds United news, ‘The word from down south’ – Phil Hay delivers Leeds update on Che Adams as Nketiah exits