Arsenal vs Leeds preview as Gunners need to get back to winning ways

Ciaran McLoughlin previews Arsenal vs Leeds after two dispiriting defeats on the road at Aston Villa and Wolves

Arsenal vs Leeds preview as Gunners need to get back to winning ways

Mikel Arteta's Arsenal need to get back to winning ways when they host Leeds at the Emirates on Valentine's Day

After a month of positivity at Arsenal, winning 17 points out of a possible 21 in the league, the Gunners were brought down to earth in a week of misery in the Midlands, losing to Wolves and Aston Villa.

Ahead of a tough and busy run, every game counts and Mikel Arteta will be looking to put things right straight away, as we look at what went wrong and how things can quickly be put right, when Leeds make the trip to the Emirates on Sunday.

Leeds preview

The next couple of games for Arsenal are tough and Europe is creeping out of their reach, meaning three points against Marco Bielsa’s side are a must.

Leeds never fail to produce an entertaining game, even if that has meant a mixed bag of results with their high press meaning a lot of goals both in their goal and the oppositions.

In order for Arsenal to get a result from this, they will need to match Leeds intensity and be prepared to attack in numbers to expose their leaky defence, which has seen them concede the joint third number of goals in the league.

As well as this Arteta needs to ensure that he sets his side up with a tight structure to solidify the defence and allow the attacking personal to break the high Leeds line.

Ødegaard was linking up play well in his short cameo on Saturday and may be the right man to make these quick interchanges, should he get a first start.

Maintaining eleven men will be the key to any of this paying off, with discipline already a big problem this season, including in the reverse of this fixture when Pepe saw red for a head butt.

Ultimately, Arsenal have to have to start quickly and put Leeds under the cosh from the off.

This game will be vital to get Arsenal going again ahead of a period of games where wins are a must.

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Reflection and analysis on Wolves


With Arsenal in red hot form and the hosts Wolves, looking for their first win in just under a month, this seemed like the perfect time to face the often difficult test of Molineux.

However, in the end the Gunners were unable to take advantage, meaning back to back defeats to Wolves in both league games this season.

Arsenal started the game the brighter side, creating chances and seeing a lot of the ball, eventually being awarded for their patience with a superb piece of individual brilliance from Nicholas Pepe, nutmegging two players and finishing cooling in the right corner.

The complexity of the game was switched on its head in a matter of minutes, just before half time.

David Luiz received a red card for apparently making contact with Jose, despite replays showing that
it wasn’t a foul. Along with this, Wolves were awarded a penalty, which was calmly put away by Ruben Neves, meaning the sides would go into the break, level.

With Arsenal a man less and being forced to make a defensive change, Wolves came out of the blocks straight away and were ahead within five minutes of the restart through Joao Moutinho. This goal took the Gunners back a bit as Wolves began to smell blood pushing hard for more and Arsenal’s lack of attacking threat meaning they struggled to come out of the blocks even when in
possession.

As if things weren’t bad enough, Arsenal had their slim hopes of a comeback dashed away, when an abrupt moment from Bernd Leno earned him a straight red card and Arsenal left with nine men, as discipline continues to be an issue, to see out the game and somehow only lose by the one goal.

Reflections and analysis on Aston Villa

The defeat to Wolves may have not all been because of Arsenal's doing, but the one to Aston Villa
certainly was.

One moment of miscommunication and a poor pass between Cedric and Gabriel, allowed Bertrand Traore to latch onto the loose ball, crossing to Ollie Watkins, to give the home side the lead within the first two minutes of the game.

This one mistake proved to be costly and ultimately won Villa the game as they sat back and soaked the pressure.

Arsenal looked like the same side from earlier on in the season, struggling to make many chances, as
they tried to wrestle with the low block and were nearly caught out on a few occasions on the
counter.

So often this season Villa have used this method, to attack with intensity early on, score and then hold onto the lead.

Arsenal often find it difficult to score against these systems and despite having so much creativity on the pitch with Martin Ødegaard, Willian, Pepe, Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka all present on the pitch at one point and yet a goal still wouldn’t come, even with nearly 70%
possession.

As much as it was a defensive masterclass from Villa, Arsenal do have a tendency to try and pass into the back of the net, rarely shooting from range. Their corners were often, as they have been all season, quite average, until Ødegaard came on, who offered a slightly better crosser.

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