Although Arsenal’s team news would’ve been decided well before Man City dismantled Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime, it was still a surprise to see Mikel Arteta leave out one of his young stars.
The Gunners need to keep setting the pace at the top of the Premier League, and City’s win meant that Arsenal started their match at the Emirates Stadium knowing that only a win against Leeds United would see them retain their eight-point lead, albeit Pep Guardiola’s side have a game in hand on the north Londoners.
Though the Elland Road outfit won last time out against Wolves and also recently defeated Southampton, their last Premier League win before that came way back on November 5 against Bournemouth, per WhoScored.
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? Holding at the back
? Trossard on the wing
? Gabby leads the line
Let’s keep this good form up ? pic.twitter.com/wlH513EC53
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) April 1, 2023
It’s perhaps with that in mind that Bukayo Saka was left on the bench by the Spaniard.
That’s a dangerous game to be playing unless the player isn’t fully fit, given that, as Bournemouth showed, being down the wrong end of the table doesn’t necessarily imply that a walkover will follow.
Leeds are currently in 14th position in the table but are only two points above the relegation places.
To that end, points are needed sooner rather than later as the visitors only have 10 games to play after this one, and four of those are against Liverpool, Man City, Tottenham and Newcastle. The remainder, Fulham aside, are against their relegation rivals.
Arsenal fans will surely be hoping that Arteta hasn’t dropped a clanger here.
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