Leeds v Arsenal: the team and a lack of apology

By Bulldog Drummond

Apologies are nice.  Apologies are good.  They show that the person making a mistake, or being very foolish, can admit the error.  Most of us accept sincere apologies and think more of the individual for making the apology. 

But so far in terms of what the media said last season, and in the run-up to this season, I haven’t seen any.  Which I suppose is typical of the UK media.  Mostly they wouldn’t know decent behaviour if it lept up the kicked them in the face.

Consider: “Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta tipped to be first Premier League manager sacked next season”   That was the story run in all seriousness by the Express newspaper on 14 June this year.

Today their headline is “Arsenal star Bukayo Saka gives honest verdict on title hopes ahead of Leeds test,” implying that quite often he gives a dishonest verdict, which is a pretty grotty thing to imply.   There’s no apology for their suggestion that Arteta would be the first manager to be sacked this season.

Moving on, Sky Sports today runs the old favourite:

Jesus expected to return

And yes it is an old favourite for the same sequence of four words in relation to Arsenal can be found in Sky Sport, 16 January 2018,Sky Sports 12 February 2022, HaytersTV 12 Jan 2018,Si.com 18 February 2022, the Sun 16 October 2022,Yahoo news 14 October 2022, Goal 15 October 2022, and Football.co.uk two days ago.   And finding that lot took about 5 seconds.  Does these journo characters have no imagination whatsoever.   Or are they all so desperate for the Second Coming, that they just grab at any straw?

But of course it’s not the long-awaited and oft-predicted second coming, when unbelievers like me will be cast aside into the pit.  Rather as the Express says a little later, “Gabriel Jesus will return to the Arsenal squad for the trip to Yorkshire having been rested for the Europa League victory over Bodo/Glimt.  Oleksandr Zinchenko has been missing with a muscular issue and will be assessed ahead of the game.”

Sports Mole as ever have a team prediction.   One can only hope that it is more relevant to reality than their pre-season prediction for Arsenal which read, “With Manchester United already looking like a side reinvigorated under Erik ten Hag, the Red Devils could very well pip Arsenal to a top five place and force the Gunners to try to go all the way in Europe.   VERDICT: 6th.

They have a team for today of 


White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu;

Xhaka, Partey;

Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli;


and they predict a result of Leeds 0 Arsenal 2.   There’s no mention in the preview of their forecast of Arsenal’s end-of-season position.

The Hard Tackle offer the same team but suggest slightly different positional formations


Ben White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu;

Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka;

Saka, Jesus, Martinelli

And these two variations of the same line-up appear time and again.  See for example here.

But in criticising the media for being so focussed in the summer on Arsenal not making it into the top four this season, we really ought to give credit to The Short Fuse  which ran a series of predictions which included Arsenal in the top four.  In fact in a series of comments by their writers the predictions were of four third-place finishes and a fourth-place finish.   So hats off to them.

Even the Leeds-focused media such as Leeds Live think this could be a tough one for their local club.  They reported on two predictions… Chris Sutton gives the result to Arsenal with a 4-1 win.  Paul Merson suggests it will be 0-3 to Arsenal.  And Lewis Jones of Sky gives it as Leeds 2 Arsenal 4.   So if it turns out to be a 0-0 draw they are going to look a bit silly.   But in truth, I would agree that looks rather unlikely.

However, Arsenal have not dominated Leeds in history as much as one might imagine winning 51, drawing 33 and losing 41 but the recent run has been rather pleasing:


Date Game Res
Score Competition
1 Nov 2003 Leeds United v Arsenal W 1-4 Premier League
4 Jan 2004 Leeds United v Arsenal W 1-4 FA Cup
16 Apr 2004 Arsenal v Leeds United W 5-0 Premier League
8 Jan 2011 Arsenal v Leeds United D 1-1 FA Cup
19 Jan 2011 Leeds United v Arsenal W 1-3 FA Cup
9 Jan 2012 Arsenal v Leeds United W 1-0 FA Cup
6 Jan 2020 Arsenal v Leeds United W 1-0 FA Cup
22 Nov 2020 Leeds United v Arsenal D 0-0 Premier League
14 Feb 2021 Arsenal v Leeds United W 4-2 Premier League
26 Oct 2021 Arsenal v Leeds United W 2-0 League Cup
18 Dec 2021 Leeds United v Arsenal W 1-4 Premier League
8 May 2022 Arsenal v Leeds United W 2-1 Premier League


So there we are – everyone expects an Arsenal win.

And just as a reminder, here’s the league table showing the Big Seven and Leeds,,,

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 9 8 0 1 23 10 13 24
2 Manchester City 9 7 2 0 33 9 24 23
3 Tottenham Hotspur 10 7 2 1 22 10 12 23
4 Chelsea 8 5 1 2 13 10 3 16
5 Manchester United 8 5 0 3 13 15 -2 15
6 Newcastle United 9 3 5 1 17 9 8 14
11 Liverpool 8 2 4 2 20 12 8 10
15 Leeds United 8 2 3 3 11 12 -1 9


12 Replies to “Leeds v Arsenal: the team and a lack of apology”

  1. Phew! We had to hang on for that win

    We are top of the league.

    Now just need our Women to produce the same result against Reading this evening.

  2. just strange seeing suddendly VAR decisions go our way….
    And luck as well.

    I like winning with grit, ‘Arsenal vintage’ way. The Young Guns are learning, are getting tougher.
    As for Saka’s goal…just incredible.

    We are still top of the league. A tie or a Pool! win would be perfect, would it not ? After all, we can dream, can we not ?!?!?

  3. Chris

    As I said a couple of weeks ago.

    Isn’t it funny how once we start to get the media a little more on our side (Thanks I think mainly due to our young players, especially Saka, young AND English, and the style of our play) the officials are no longer so afraid to give us the benefit of the doubt, the 50’50’s, and even some more contentious decisions that we would never of got a couple of years ago.

    By and large, if you get the media on-side, you get the officials on-side.

    As you say, we toughed it out, which is encouraging. Sounds like we still got away with one though.

  4. And Liverpool have obliged us by beating City!

    Comments on the Ladies game on that post.

  5. @Nitram,

    fully agree. I guess the facts that the Emirates is now fully behind Arsenal and we’re not hearing anything from the anti-Arsenal crowd which makes negative Arsenal pieces 1) difficult to invent 2) difficult to sell has an impact on the economics of the deadwood journalists.

    That being said…except for tity tots winning, it’d say it was pretty much a perfect week-end. 4 points clear, no Invincibles II, next games that seem manageable.

    I mean 4 points clear of multi-billion dollar Citeh…. 8 to Chelsea on 4th, 11th to Manure on 5th.

    This is no fluke anymore. This is a team that is aiming high and has ambitions.

    Just hope Arsenal can manage the pile-up and our players stay safe and healthy.

  6. Chris

    “I guess the facts that the Emirates is now fully behind Arsenal and we’re not hearing anything from the anti-Arsenal crowd…..”

    Good point.

    That makes a huge difference as well.

  7. Massive achievement, best start to a campaign in over 130 odd years. Let’s see if any media kids can care to respect that achievement?

  8. Looking at the Pool!-Citeh game, I must say that the Arsenal defense really did a great job the other week-end.
    Say what you want, but Salah was invisible then.
    The Citeh defense had all sorts of problems and I just won’t admit that the argument that they had a bad day at the office.
    Arsenal were better at defending Pool! then Citeh were.
    All 3 teams had 3 games in a week as well.
    Arteta is really damn good.
    Makes me positive for the future.
    The only thing is I’d like stupid fouls like Gabriel’s in overtime to stop. He knows referees are not prone to giving Arsenal the benefit of the doubt. Why then kick the guy in the back ? Why for chrissake ? Grow up ! This (stupid) foul, in any of the past 20 years, would have not been reversed and cost us 2 points if not more. Why it was revered is a full mistery to me, but I’ll be happy to live with that.

    Aniway, just need to make sure we win the next game, then the next one…. win, Baby, just win.

  9. By the way, in terms of fouls and cards, things don’t change.

    Arsenal 9 fouls, 2 yellows
    Leeds 10 fouls, 0 yellow

    No idea what the tackle numbers are.

    Still, I don’t understand why the Leeds player who shoved Gabriel in added time did not get a yellow for doing it.
    Or rather, I do understand it….guess that it could have been much worse !

  10. WOO HOO , HOO ! Three points , a clean sheet , and with all the players still on the pitch !

    But in truth , it was more than a game of two halves !
    A delayed kick off ,and a missed penalty .
    Followed by much drama at the end – a rescinded penalty , and a done grading of a red card !
    Could we have asked for more turns and bends ?
    we could !
    Liverpool beating Man City , ensures that the Invincibles legend goes on for a least another season !

    Up the Gunners !

  11. Chris Gabbys card was reverse because there was no way it was a red and he knew he messed up but to appease the poodits he gave a yellow but no card. The point is Bamford is a cheating shit he instigated it and gabby wouldn’t have accidentally on purpose left his leg out . he also pushed Saliba into a handball when he turned around, which was offside in the first place before it hit Saliba yet not VAR.

    Nitram you are right luckily the fans are back on the teams side and the likes of Saka and white are doing well and ramnsdale that we get some benifit of the doubt now due to the Euros.

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