Leeds vs Arsenal: What can we expect from Mikel Arteta’s Gunners for the trip to Elland Road - and the rest of 2020

Mark Rowntree takes a look at Arsenal's remaining fixtures of 2020 as Mikel Arteta gears up for a tough trip to Leeds

Leeds vs Arsenal: What can we expect from Mikel Arteta’s Gunners for the trip to Elland Road - and the rest of 2020

Mark Rowntree analyses Mikel Arteta's Arsenal

What can we expect from Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal heading into 2021?

In the current climate predicting the state of the country on New Year’s Day is somewhat of a thankless task so we’ve elected to set ourselves the ‘easier’ mission of examining Arsenal. 

The Gunners headed off into the second international break with 12 points from 8 games (W4, D0, L4) but with the majority of fans feeling completely deflated after witnessing a dismal team performance against Aston Villa.

The next eight Premier League games will take Arsenal through into 2021 meaning that the Gunners will have played all bar three opponents; Crystal Palace, Newcastle and West Brom. The upcoming run of fixtures yielded a meagre total of 6pts in 2019-2020; admittedly from seven (Leeds promoted) rather than eight games. For some form of wider context, Arsenal’s historic fortunes are outlined below.

After 16 Premier League Games

2019-2020: 22pts (9th)

2018-2019: 34pts (5th)

2017-2018: 29pts (5th) 

2016-2017: 34pts (3rd)

2015-2016: 33pts (2nd)

Arsenal Invincibles of 2003-2004: 38pts (1st)

With a maximum points offering for 2020-2021 being 36, exactly what can we expect from Arsenal over the duration of the next six weeks?

LEEDS (A)

2019-2020: NA

Leeds made a positive start back in the top-flight showing grit, determination and quality in tough early season home games against Liverpool and Manchester City. However, the wheels have come off since with three defeats in four, twice shipping four goals (Leicester and Crystal Palace). The short-term loss of the energetic midfielder Kalvin Phillips is undoubtedly a major blow.

Draw (1pt)

WOLVES (H)

2019-2020: Draw 1-1

Wolves have struggled to integrate their new signings into what was largely a settled side and were humbled in a 4-0 defeat at the London Stadium. Despite lacking goals and with Adama Traore surprisingly used sparingly from the bench there have been ‘green shoots of a revival’ with recent wins against Fulham, Leeds and Crystal Palace. For Arsenal, this game will come swiftly after a trip to Norway (Molde) in the Europa League with Mikel Arteta no doubt focused on wrapping up qualification for the knockout stages of that competition.

Draw (1pt)

TOTTENHAM (A)

2019-2020: Lost 2-1

North London’s second side have been flying since thrashing Man United (6-1) at Old Trafford, only dropping points in a thrilling climax to an epic game against West Ham. Tottenham have won their last three (Burnley, Brighton and West Brom) yet are in a more challenging spot seeking qualification from their Europa League group. With a positive result in Norway Mikel Arteta should have the luxury of being able to rest key players for the game against Rapid Vienna just a few days prior to this fixture. 

Draw (1pt)

BURNLEY (H)

2019-2020: Won 2-1

Burnley are really struggling (second bottom) and the main reason for that is a distinct lack of an offensive offering. Without a goal in their last four Premier League games, including 0-0 draws with fellow relegation battlers West Brom and Brighton the omens aren’t particularly promising. On a rare positive note, the return of skipper Ben Mee and the much sought after James Tarkowski can only serve to aid their ongoing fight for survival.

Arsenal Win (3pts)

SOUTHAMPTON (H)

2019-2020: Draw 2-2

The Saints have been revitalised since a 5-2 home defeat to Tottenham, entering the second international break on a surprising winning sequence (of five from six) with a first half goals blitz against Aston Villa particularly impressive. However, with a tough run of fixtures in November expect the loss of Danny Ings (knee) to check that positive momentum. Back-to-back Premier League home games offers Arsenal an ideal opportunity to make hay when the sun still just about shines.

Arsenal Win (3pts)

EVERTON (A)

2019-2020: Draw 0-0

To the dismay of their supporters Everton remain the ultimate Premier League Jekyll and Hyde. On the back of three successive defeats it’s difficult to definitively say how they’ll fare over the next few weeks but on paper a reasonable run of fixtures (including Fulham, Leeds and Burnley) should theoretically see them back on track. If that is the case, Arsenal will be fearful of a fully-firing James Rodriguez, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin combination.

Everton Win (0pts)

CHELSEA (H)

2019-2020: Lost 2-1

Boxing Day sees a repeat of the 2020 FA Cup Final and fortunately for Chelsea their form has taken a distinct turn for the better since. Although we’re yet to see too much from Kai Havertz the goals are certainly flowing for Timo Werner while Hakim Ziyech is becoming more and more influential. At the back the veteran Thiago Silva and former Leicester full-back Ben Chilwell are cementing themselves as first-choice picks for Frank Lampard. Chelsea do face a tough December in terms of fixtures (with trips to Everton and Wolves) but a seven-day break ahead of this game should prove advantageous with Arsenal wrapped up in a pre-Christmas midweek EFL Cup Quarter Final clash against Manchester City.

Chelsea Win (0pts)

BRIGHTON (A) 

2019-2020: Lost 2-1

Arsenal have various scores to settle at the AMEX following a fiery encounter there in June (settled by an injury time Neil Maupay winner). However, Brighton haven’t convinced this season under Graham Potter and the pressure is gradually starting to build. The Seagulls have mustered just two points from their first four home games (draws with West Brom and Burnley) and sitting on six points (16th in the table) must re-emerge from the second international break firing on all cylinders in order to avoid a bitter season long relegation battle.

Arsenal Win (3pts)

Into 2021…

A projected total of 12 points from their next eight games will give Arsenal 24 points on the board. Allowing for the fact that the Premier League season started later than usual, history dictates the Gunners are expected to be in approximately 8th place come the turn of the year. The pertinent question being; is this an acceptable position for Gunners fans? Is the Mikel Arteta revolution still on course for further success? Answers on a postcard please.

 
 

 

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