Arsenal v Leeds; Leeds new manager, recent history, levels of fouling.

By Bulldog Drummond

Arsenal against Leeds in history is a bit like Arsenal this season – runs of wins, then runs of defeats.  Consider this extraordinary run of games…

Between 19 March 1958 and 10 December 1977 Arsenal played Leeds United 35 times; 33 in the League, one in the FA Cup and one in the League Cup.  Arsenal won four of these matches (ie 12%) and six were drawn.   The other 23 Leeds United won.

Then we had a run of ten games in which eight were draws, between 1981 and 1991.

The final run of games takes us from November 2003 and December 2021.  This run takes in the last 11 games between the two teams.  Nine have been won by Arsenal and two were drawn.  It is an extraordinary up and down set of results between the clubs, but obviously this most recent run, plus this season’s form, plus recent results all suggest Arsenal should get through this ok.

The only thing therefore we might seriously have to worry about is injury.

Meanwhile Chelsea’s draw today with Wolverhampton once more opens up the possibility of Arsenal creeping into third place.  Winning our game in hand against Leeds United won’t be enough but another slip by Chelsea could be all that we need.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 34 26 5 3 84 21 63 83
2 Liverpool 34 25 7 2 86 22 64 82
3 Chelsea 35 19 10 6 70 31 39 67
4 Arsenal 34 20 3 11 54 41 13 63

There’s an interesting snippet that has come from the BBC in which they say “Arsenal won 15 of their last 17 Premier League games played in May (D1, L1), including each of the last seven.”  That’s quite a remarkable record.

And indeed their statistician is on fire today, as they also reveal that 24 of Arsenal’s Premier League goals this season (excluding own goals) “have been scored by Englishmen, as many as in their previous four campaigns combined.”  That presumably comes from having such a bunch of youngsters.  Here are the stats on scoring

  • Saka: 12 goals, 6 assists
  • Smith Rowe: 11 goals 2 assists
  • Alex Lacazette: 7 goals 8 assists
  • Martin Odegaard: 6 goals, 5 assists
  • Gabriel Martinelli: 5 goals, 4 assists

I would not be the slightest bit surprised to find Martinelli and Smith Rowe in particular rising up the scoring rankings next season.  And also I would note that Saka has involvement in 18 goals and Smith Rowe in 13 goals out of the 54 scored so far this season.

Looking at Leeds United they have not secured three consecutive away clean sheets in the top league since December 1996.

Finally, perhaps we should have a look at Leeds United’s new manager, Jesee Marsch, who was given a 3.5 year contract after Marcelo Bielsa was kicked out after Leeds were beaten 4-0 by Tottenham, and slipped to two points above the relegation zone.

(They are still just two points above the relegation places).

Marsch has had experience as coach at New York Red Bulls and RB Salzburg, although he left the latter after Salzburg were beaten 6-3 by Manchester City.   The Leeds press release at the time said, “Jesse is someone we identified a number of years ago during his time at Red Bull Salzburg and we believe his philosophy and style of football aligns with that of the club and will suit the players very well.”  

That seems to suggest that he accepts and indeed likes the high level of fouling which Leeds have engaged in this season.  Sadly I don’t have figures from his last job, but it will be worth watching for the level of fouls Leeds undertake in the game against Arsenal.

Tomorrow we will have a look at the predictions for the team,

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