PRO SOCCER TALK | NBC SPORTSPST Leeds United
Getty Images

Players say Arteta lit Arsenal squad up at halftime of Leeds win

Leave a comment

Arsenal should have been down 2- or 3-0 to Leeds United at halftime of their FA Cup match. Mikel Arteta was displeased.

“The manager shouted a lot,” Alexandre Lacazette said after the eventual 1-0 Arsenal win. “He was not happy because we knew they’d play like this and we didn’t respect what he had said.”

[ RECAP: Arsenal survives against Leeds ]

It worked. After being completely dominated through the first 45 minutes of the match against the Championship leaders, Arsenal came back out refreshed and revitalized, eventually winning through Reiss Nelson‘s game-winner in the 55th minute.

“As a coach you always need to have the aggressive side and the side where you give love as well,” Nelson said after the match. “He just said that we weren’t playing the way we should be playing. Mikel is a manager who wants to play with a purpose. He said we needed to be more aggressive and we did that in the second half. We showed more fight and character. We went out and did what we were supposed to do.”

Nelson said Arsenal wasn’t prepared for the high Leeds press that forced the Gunners into a number of bad mistakes. The visitors at the Emirates held 63% possession in the first half and ripped off 15 shots to Arsenal’s three. Granit Xhaka committed a number of first-half fouls and David Luiz was guilty of a bad turnover in the defensive third, among many other mistakes. Yet it was 0-0 at the break, and Arsenal regrouped.

“They [Leeds] played well in the first half,” Nelson said, “but of course Leeds are a great team and they pressed us. We didn’t expect it. In the second half we played with a real purpose. The team came out ready to go and showed we could create a lot of chances.”

Arteta may be partially to blame for the team not being totally prepared to face Marcelo Bielsa’s side, but they survived and advanced, likely also thanks to the Spaniard’s leadership qualities, displayed at the break.

FA Cup: Arsenal survive Leeds scare thanks to Nelson goal

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Arsenal are through to the fourth round of the FA Cup, barely, after surviving a noble effort from EFL Championship leaders Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium on Monday.

[ MORE: Full results from FA Cup 4th round draw ]

For 45 minutes, the Gunners were the second-best side, by some distance. The performance was so dire that defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos reportedly gestured to the crowd to calm down and ease off their criticisms moments before halftime. Manager Mikel Arteta “shouted a lot” at halftime, according to forward Alexandre Lacazette, and everything changed in the second half.

20-year-old Reiss Nelson scored the game’s only goal in the 55th minute. It came in somewhat fortunate circumstance as Nelson got on the end of a touch by Nicolas Pepe, and goalkeeper Illan Meslier couldn’t keep hold of the ball after making the initial save.

[ MORE: Tottenham end racism investigation due to lack of evidence ]

Leeds out-shot Arsenal by a margin of 14-3 in the first, before the Gunners roared to life in the final 45 minutes and dominated the second period by an 11-3 tally.

Following the fourth-round draw earlier on Monday, Arsenal will be away to fellow Premier League side Bournemouth in the fourth round on the weekend beginning Jan 24.

FA Cup Preview: Arsenal v. Leeds United

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mikael Arteta and Marcelo Bielsa will square off for the first time as Arsenal host Leeds United at Emirates Stadium on Monday in the third round of the FA Cup.

 [ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

The Spaniard and the Gunners kicked off 2020 in grand fashion, edging Manchester United 2-0, but their debut in this year’s FA Cup doesn’t project to be a walk in the park. Leeds are currently the Championship’s top-of-the-table side, with only four losses to their name.

That said, there is a significant chance Bielsa – the man who Arteta’s teacher, Pep Guardiola, has referred to as the “best manager in the world” – will not focus on the tournament, and instead will double down on promotion. 


Injuries/suspensions

Arsenal: OUT — Calum Chambers, Kieran Tierney QUESTIONABLE — Dani Ceballos, Hector Bellerin, Gabriel Martinelli

Leeds: OUT — Pablo Hernandez, Adam Forshaw  QUESTIONABLE — Jamie Shackleton


Probable lineups

Arsenal: Martinez; Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Holding, Saka; Willock, Guendouzi; Pepe, Ceballos, Nelson; Aubameyang​

Leeds: Meslier; Ayling, White, Cooper, Alioski; Phillips; Helder Costa, Gotts, Klich, Harrison; Bamford


What they’re saying

Arteta on Bielsa: “When you talk to players that had him as a coach, the words that they have for him are always positive.” 

Bielsa on the importance of playing against Arsenal: “Of course it is a big challenge for us. It is enough to see the players and the prestige and level they have. When people think that we are the favorite in one match, we don’t consider things like that, neither with the opposite, which is in this case. Every time we compete we trust in our resources and respect our opponent’s resources.We will always do this with the wish to impose our style and we will try to do this on Monday.”


Prediction

Arsenal will go for blood from the start and probably until the end, while Leeds day dreams about promotion. Arsenal, 3-1.

Report: Salzburg star Haland meets with Borussia Dortmund

Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images
1 Comment

Erling Braut Haland is one of the most promising young names in European football, his career trajectory shooting up, up, up after several dynamite performances in the UEFA Champions League.

The Red Bull Salzburg striker, 19, wasn’t in full fitness when his side was bounced from the UCL by Liverpool on Tuesday, but he’d made his presence felt earlier in the competition.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Haland bagged eight of his 28 season goals in the UCL, including three against Napoli and one against the reigning champion Reds.

Now the Leeds-born Norwegian is eyeing up his next step. Having been linked with Manchester United and his dad’s club Leeds, Haland reportedly flew into Dortmund for a Wednesday meeting with Borussia Dortmund.

Dad, Alf-Inge Haland, played 22 years between Bryne, Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, Manchester City, and Rosseland.

Now should Haland find a new home, it seems awfully likely it would work similar to Christian Pulisic‘s move to Chelsea from Dortmund last season; The twice-capped Norway international could sign for BVB (or another club) and head back to Salzburg to star in the Europa League (he’s cup-tied in the UCL).

Plus, Salzburg would love to give coach Jesse Marsch a full year with the star. They’re unbeaten in league play.

Mina, Stevens charged by FA over breaking gambling rules

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Everton’s Yerry Mina and Leeds United’s Jordan Stevens have both been charged by the English Football Association over breaking gambling rules.

Stevens, 19, has been banned from all soccer related activity for six weeks after placing 59 bets last season, including five on Leeds. He was also fines $1,482.

Mina has been fined $12,300 and warned about his future conduct after he appeared in an advert for a betting company in his homeland of Colombia. He was charged in July and has now been charged.

Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear released a strong statement with regards to the sanctions against Stevens.

“We are hugely disappointed in the FA’s choice of sanction,” Kinnear said. “To prevent a young footballer from taking part in any football activities at such a critical period of his career is a disproportionate punishment following a foolish mistake from a young player. We are particularly disappointed that the sanction was determined by two former professional footballers who we hoped would have had a better understanding of the impact of their decision.”

In recent years Daniel Sturridge, Joey Barton and others have been charged by the FA for breaching betting rules and with the rise in availability of betting on sports in the UK it is an issue which will continue to crop up.

Professional players in the UK are banned from betting on any soccer, no matter what game or team are involved.

Powered by WordPress.com VIP