Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch has called Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta the “most underrated manager in the league” as their sides prepare to face off on Sunday.
Arsenal lead the Premier League after winning eight of their opening nine games, and Arteta has received much praise for the way his young side is playing. And Marsch has added to those plaudits.
“The most underrated manager in the league,” Marsch said of his counterpart. “He’s done an incredible job. Complex, stable, exciting to watch, amazing job. (It has) taken time, took heat at the start, but seeing the fruits of their labour now.
“The combination of the way they play and the clarity of their roles, along with individual quality they have, makes them very difficult to deal with.”
Marsch was then asked whether he considered Arsenal title contenders.
“(I) have to say yes,” he replied.
Leeds currently sit 14th in the league, having not won since a 3-0 victory over Chelsea in August, though they are yet to lose at Elland Road this season. And Marsch hopes that home comforts can help them get a result against the Gunners.
“We are confident at Elland Road we can play how we want, and Arsenal are very good,” he said. “Being clear on our tactics and finding the players that can execute at the highest level with discipline and confidence (will help against Arsenal). Monumental task.”
Bukayo Saka scored Arsenal’s midweek winner in the Europa League against Bodo/Glimt, and he spoke after the match about the need to refocus ahead of a tricky game against Leeds.
“We have to be happy with the three points and focus on Sunday,” Saka said.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Leeds United – Rodrigo
Rodrigo scored four in three to start the campaign but is yet to find the net in the Premier League since. He suffered a dislocated shoulder against Everton but returned after missing just one game, and will hope to return to his early-season form by scoring here.
Arsenal – Gabriel Martinelli
Martinelli has been involved in eight goals in his last 10 Premier League matches and scored and assisted in the 3-2 over Liverpool last weekend. Leeds will have to keep a close eye on the 21-year-old if they are to upset the Gunners.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Leeds are winless in their last five Premier League home games against Arsenal (drawn two, lost three) since a 1-0 win in November 2000. All three of their defeats in this run have been by a 4-1 scoreline.
– Leeds are winless in five Premier League games, alternating between defeat and a draw each time (two draws, three defeats). They lost against Crystal Palace last time out, last losing consecutive league games in May (a run of three, the second of which was against Arsenal).
– Arsenal have kept three clean sheets in their four Premier League away games this season, as many as they had in their previous 14 on the road. The Gunners have won 10 of their last 15 away league games (lost five), starting with a 4-1 win at Leeds last December.
– Leeds are unbeaten at home in the Premier League so far this season, winning two and drawing two of their four games at Elland Road. Only twice have they remained unbeaten in their first five at home in a single Premier League campaign, doing so in 1992-93 and 2001-02.
– Arsenal have won eight of their nine Premier League games this season (lost one) – only in 1903-04 (in the second tier) have they won as many as nine of their opening 10 games to a league campaign. Each of the last four sides to win as many as nine of their opening 10 games in a Premier League season have gone on to win the title (Chelsea in 2005-06, Man City in 2011-12 & 2017-18 and Liverpool in 2019-20).