The third round of the FA Cup concludes on Monday night with a big tie at the Emirates as Arsenal welcome Sky Bet Championship leaders Leeds to north London.
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This could well be a Premier League fixture next season if Leeds keep going the way they are, but their quest for the promised land means they're likely to make a lot of changes for the trip south.
Marcelo Bielsa has made changes in cup competitions before and with promotion rivals Fulham and West Brom winning their third round ties and remaining in the FA Cup, there is a feeling that going out may not be the worst thing for their chances.
Mikel Arteta was an FA Cup winner with Arsenal as a player and he's determined to try and win silverware in his first season in charge of the Gunners, but he too will likely make a few changes.
Arteta, though, knows that progressing in the cup competitions can do wonders for team confidence.
"I think winning brings togetherness and when you have beautiful experiences together and you win trophies, those experiences stay within that group," Arteta said.
"You like more the people you work with and you believe more in them and share some fantastic moments and that stays.
"That habit of winning, winning and winning. After you win, you don't want to stop winning and you become addicted to that and that is what we have to try and implement at this club."
Bielsa has insisted Leeds know the importance of the FA Cup, but there is no question that promotion is their only goal for the season.
"It is a competition with a great history and in there (the FA Cup), every opponent is important," said Bielsa.
"Of course it is a big challenge for us. It is enough to see the players and the prestige and the level they have. If we are going to play with another opponent, we are going to justify ourselves."
Match Odds: Arsenal 4/9 | Draw 18/5 | Leeds 5/1
Price Boost: 2+ shots on target each team in each half at 5/1
As always with these FA Cup third round ties it's all about the team sheets, but the couple of pointers that give Arsenal the advantage are firstly that the changes Arteta can make will still result in a much stronger side than Leeds could hope to put out.
Arteta also has a lot more to prove and the FA Cup is more important to the Gunners than the visitors on this occasion given the league position Leeds find themselves in. They let their promotion bid slip last season and will not want to repeat that again this time around.
The message seems to be getting across to Arsenal from Arteta, with even their defence starting to tighten up in recent games as he's managed the seemingly impossible and got Arsenal to actually enjoy defending.
Leeds have been decent in defence until recently when shipping four goals at Birmingham and letting a 3-0 lead slip at home to Cardiff, and that kind of form spells danger as one of either Alexandre Lacazette or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is likely to start.
A second string Arsenal against a second string Leeds should see a huge disparity in terms of both class and experience and although you can see the visitors being lively, they shouldn't be able to live with the hosts.
Leeds have only failed to score three times this season so backing them to score could pay off, but we have to reflect the gap in the predicted line-ups and the handicap seems the best way to do that. Our betting insight columnist Dale Tempest has picked out the -1 Arsenal as the way to go and there's no reason why that shouldn't come in.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Leeds (Sky Bet odds: 10/1)
Best bet: Arsenal -1 on the handicap at Evens
Arsenal v Leeds United Opta stats
- This will be the 17th FA Cup match between Arsenal and Leeds and the first since January 2012, when the Gunners won 1-0 in the third round thanks to a goal from Thierry Henry.
- Leeds have lost five of their last six matches against Arsenal (D1 L5) since a 3-2 win at Highbury in the Premier League in May 2003.
- Arsenal have been eliminated from two of their last three FA Cup ties, having been eliminated from just one of their previous 22 ties in the competition.
- Since being relegated from the Premier League in 2004, Leeds have played nine away FA Cup matches against top-flight opponents and won just once, a 1-0 win at Manchester United in January 2010.
- This is the third time Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa has faced a Premier League side in his managerial career – he won both legs of the Last 16 of the 2011-12 Europa League against Manchester United as manager of Athletic Club.
Odds correct as of 1002 GMT on 06/01/20
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