Arsenal Super Fan previews Leeds United League Cup clash
This is part of a regular series from our panel of Super Fans on upcoming Leeds United games. Ahead of Tuesday’s League Cup game against Arsenal, we caught up with @SemperFiArsenal, an Arsenal fan with over 95,000 followers on Twitter
Leeds United visit the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday to face Arsenal in the round of 16 of the League Cup, and they will back themselves to shock the North Londoners.
They pipped Fulham to a place in the last-16 after running out 6-5 winners last month in a tense penalty shoot-out following a goalless 90 minutes, but the Gunners are a different side entirely.
Leeds are likely to ring the changes, but Marcelo Bielsa knows a place in the quarter-finals will help lift the morale of his side amid their Premier League struggles.
As a result, he could be fielding a lot of first-team regulars in order to boost his side’s chances of progressing to the next round.
Ahead of the last-16 clash, we spoke to @SemperFiArsenal, to gauge the mood amongst our opponents.
What have you made of Leeds so far this season?
I think it’s a combination of a couple of things.
Bielsa doesn’t like to work with a bigger group or wants to operate with a small squad, so fatigue factor is a problem, and the fact that Leeds are missing a total of six regular starters, including big-name players Kalvin Phillips, Raphinha and Patrick Bamford.
Their absence would be sorely felt at most top-flight clubs. Also think Leeds should have brought a striker and a new central midfielder instead of spending that money on Dan James.
However, I have no doubt Leeds will come back strongly after a difficult start to the campaign
Who will cause you the biggest issues?
It might be controversial, but I would say Illan Meslier if he starts tomorrow.
Arsenal don’t create a lot of chances and have shots on target in the majority of the games under Arteta, and if a goalkeeper has a good performance which Meslier is very capable of, we could be in trouble
What have you made of your start to the season?
It has been a rollercoaster so far. A few performances were really of that of a top-four team. The other times we have looked clueless.
I hope we go on a winning run in the Premier League soon. We desperately need it.
Who should Leeds watch out for?
I am expecting Gabriel Martinelli to start. I think he is the player to watch because he wants to prove himself to our coach that he is good enough to be trusted upon or even given starts.
I think he is an exceptional talent as well, so he will be very hungry and determined, knowing his nature.
Is Mikel Arteta likely to make any big changes to the side?
Yeah, excepting a lot of changes to take place and us fielding an entirely different team from the one we saw against Aston Villa on Friday.
Are there any particular weak links in the Arsenal side you fear may get exposed?
I personally think the centre-back pairing is quite susceptible (I am expecting Rob Holding and Pablo Mari to start).
Score prediction/what type of game will we see?
I can see a very open match with goals scored by both teams.
Leeds will be up for it and will be backed by a brilliant away following. I can see Leeds going full strength as well, but I think quality which Arsenal possess will still get them through.
I am going with Arsenal winning 3-2
In other Leeds United news, Whites staff have been left thrilled as Bielsa funds behind-the-scenes development at Elland Road.