Bielsa makes it clear that Leeds will play reserves against Arsenal

But the Second Tier season is even longer and harder that the Premier League, and a team with aspirations of winning it would be very wary of adding more games to the schedule with a run in the Cups to distract them, so it is little surprise that Marcelo Bielsa would be happy to play his youngsters in the FA Cup tie at Arsenal, despite it being such a high profile game.

I am sure their first team players would love to step out at the Emirates, but I think the prospect of them playing against top teams every week next season would be a lot more attractive to a real professional, and that is what they are aiming for.

It is VERY unusual for a manager to tell his opponents of the team he intends to play with a couple of days notice, but that is what Bielsa has done, and has admitted that there will be at least two youngsters, Robbie Gotts and Illan Meslier, making their debuts. The Leeds boss said on the official Leeds website: “Meslier is going to play instead of Kiko Casilla, Gaetano Berardi in place of Liam Cooper, Barry Douglas in place of Ezgjan Alioski, Alioski in place of Helder Costa and Gotts in place of Stuart Dallas.

“Meslier has qualities that allow him to be responsible in a massive match like this one and is a goalkeeper who has experience in a first team.

“Gotts is a player that deserves to play and he is in his best moment in our process.

“The most important thing is that he has worked a lot to have this opportunity.

“It’s just one first step in the beginning of his career.

“Most of them don’t have to prove anything to us, if they play well it will be better, but if they don’t play well it isn’t going to change anything about their steps forward.”

So it would appear Bielsa is going to make it easier for Arteta to get his second win on the trot, and it will allow our new coach to rotate the Arsenal team a bit more as well, in the knowledge they will not be facing Leeds best players.

Is this an advantage for Arsenal or could it make Arteta a little more complacent about his choices? The fact is that a lot of our players could do with a rest after the hectic Xmas schedule….

Admin Pat


  1. IMO, a manager who reveals his tactics in advance has an agenda to fool the oppponents into , perhaps, as he hopes, fool Arsenal into fielding a weaker team than they might otherwise choose. I think Arteta will field the team he was always going to field anyway and he is too wise to fall for this nonsense from Bielsa. I believe Arteta was always going to give some more younsters a chancre and that is what we will see tomorrow. For the first time in simply ages I – and others will definitely agree – feel we have a real PROFESSIONAL in charge.
    Agu eman may differ and on this dull Sunday morning I could do with a good laugh, so if you are reading this dear AGU, please come on and give us all some of your best comedy lines as to why that “tactically brilliant and superb communicator” Emery should still be here. Watch out Michael MacIntyre, Agu is after your job!

    1. Agu is nowhere to be found since the game after United.
      Why would he come out now when we’re yet to lose our next game?

    2. Bielsa always reveals his teams a couple of days prior so this is nothing new, he has done it all season so it’s not nonsense as you call it. Yes, Leeds will play players from their under 23s as I’m sure Arsenal will but does this make them weaker? Not sure, Robbie Gotts has been pushing for a 1st team start all season and is another incredible player from the Leeds Academy. Meslier is a very fine keeper who imo should have replaced Kiko Casilla this season already. Any other players that come in will be coming from a team that won their respective double last season and are well versed to playing to the Bielsa system so I look forward to seeing them under more pressure.
      Make no mistake, this is a tough game for both teams and Arsenal certainly seem a more organised unit under Arteta from what I have seen of them.
      Always great to see the youngsters get a chance playing in a lovely stadium against top opposition and I hope that some of them are getting that opportunity on a regular basis next season. Looking forward to the game and good luck under your new boss.

      1. Always like hearing from the opposition’s fans!
        Let’s hope it’s a belter tomorrow night and good luck with the promotion. Isn’t it about time you’re back in the PL?!

    3. Sorry Jon think you are reading too much into Bielsa’s motives re team selection.
      He has been naming is team two days ahead since he came to Leeds. It used to infuriate us until we realised it was not to our disadvantage we always play the same system all a manager has to do is what our previos game.
      I can see lots of goals in this game probably against us!!

      1. steve, interesting news and good to see a Leeds fan on our wonderful site. Nothing personal but I have a long lasting distaste of Leeds from Revies time, where a hugely talented side resorted ,unnecessarily, to gamesmanship and overt violence to beat lesser teams. This has, IMHO, caused many fans to avoid following Leeds like the plague and shows how damaging a win at all costs manager can be for any club in the long term, as well as short. Modern fans look for entertainment and characters, not dour cloggers who had no need to be so, as they WERE hugely talented. Not only Norman Hunter but such as Bremner and Giles who were greats but spoiled their personal legacy among those who love proper sportsmanship. Likewise Revie who is rarely listed among the great managers, which he brought upon himself, sadly. FANS HAVE LONG MEMORIES and though I accept that todays Leeds team may well be clean – I do not see them much, in the Championship, for obvious reasons – I do hope they don’t get promoted. It may well be unfair but I owe you and myself the honest opinion I have given on here. I do think though that Leeds will be promoted. Sigh!

  2. Like I’ve been saying before Arteta got the job.
    The board promised a big money signing for the defense.
    Ignore every news claiming Arsenal don’t have the money to spend. Arsenal will bid 55million pounds for Upamecano this month.
    They’re hoping RBL takes it because Dayot has just 18 months left on his contract. RBL wants 70 but Arsenal will return with the same 55 million bid they made last summer.
    It will be hard for RBL to reject because Upamecano keeps rejecting their new deal.
    RBL would be lucky if any team bids 50million for Dayot next summer, as most clubs know they will get him for free within a year.
    You’ll see stories that we don’t have funds, but later on this month you’ll see the media reporting we’ve gone for Upamecano.
    I hope RBL accepts the 55mil and run off with it.

    1. Cannot see this happening at all. RB are top of the league, and have the CL as well. Could you imagine Liverpool selling RVD midway through this campaign, for example? I don’t even think RB need the money.

      1. Yes it’ll be hard for them to sell.
        This is the same situation we found ourselves in when City wanted Sanchez.
        They either sell him or they risk losing him for free next after next summer.
        They can play hard ball and accept a lower fee at the end of the season or accept the money now.
        Either ways, they’ve identified his replacement weeks ago, and Arsenal will bid for Dayot this month.
        It’s left with RBL to accept or not

          1. Arsenalwhy,Ignore those telling you he’s slow and doesn’t have pace. Dayot has lots of pace to burn, it helps him alongside his strength and huge physique.
            He will improve us at the back.
            My only worry that I keep pointing out is having the pair of Saliva and Dayot… 19 & 21. Both too young to face European best, but well age is just a number.
            Dayot would certainly improve our defense, ignore anyone saying he’s a slow defender.
            If you want you can go check him up on Bundesliga official itself

        1. Eddie, thanks for the feedback. From what I’ve seen of him on YouTube he seems very dominating and capable, just what we’ve been missing at arsenal. Let’s hope it works out.

    2. Eddie , you seem very sure he is coming. I hope you are right but is there a particular reason why you are so sure but others on here are not? We all know we need CB'(plural) but we also know who owns us and how mean he is.

      1. Jon I’m very sure the bid will be made, I’m not sure about RBL accepting it because they want 70million for him. They either sell him now or risk losing him for peanuts at the end of the season.
        The board promised a good defender to both Allegri and Arteta. I was unsure if they’ll do it this Jan or next summer, but I just found out they’ll go for him this month

        1. But HOW did you find out they’ll go for him this month Eddie. I don’t say you are wrong; merely that I would like to know EXACTLY HOW you can be so sure. What have you heard that others on here have not?

          1. Lol…Jon I have this Booker I follow Twitter who works for a Major betting company. So they get insider information on lots of stuff for their business.
            His ID is actually hidden for his own hob security ish.
            He hardly leaks stuffs, but when he does, he’s a 100% correct as I’ve studied him myself for two seasons now. He’s was the first to leak Arsenal would be letting go of Unai the next morning, he leaked it before the game vs Frankfurt.
            He was the one who leaked Napoli would be sacking Ancelotti regardless of the result against Genk and that Gattuso would be his replacement immediately. The following day, Ancelotti got sacked before the media picked it.
            Man is the only genuine reason I believed we Arteta was the club’s first choice and that the rumours about 26 manger list is crap. He’s the one who revealed Viera was never in run for the job, the one revealed Poch already rejected the job and wasn’t interested so Arsenal would be getting Arteta or Allegri, or Freddie till the end of the season. Before Ornstein came out to say the board has only 2 major targets for the job. Common sense made me know the two candidates Ornstein meant were Arteta and Allegri and Allegri publicly stated He’s not ready that was why I had my money on Arteta. Also he called the Minamino transfer to Liverpool around November.
            So you can see why I’m confident about it. His record is pretty solid to me, and it makes sense since it’s his parent company getting the information for betting odds.

  3. An interesting take on one outfield player given a first run out. The keeper change if due to a trumped up charge hanging over him from the EFL. The young lad needs time on the pitch.
    It’ll be interesting to see how arsenal react to the team news! Physiological warfare, Bielsa gives you a team lineup, it’s up to you to respond( change your lineup!) Or not? He’s done it all season, we’re top of the league!
    Happy Monday!

  4. It’s not unusual for a manager to come out and say he’s going to run out his reserves or youngsters in Cup matches. AW and Fergie have been doing it for years…

      1. @jon fox
        They’ve always announced that they were going to give the youngsters a run in the cups. Nothing new here…

  5. Mikel wouldn’t be much of a manager if he lets anything any manager of an opposing team says before the game, influence him, his team, or the way they want to play.

  6. Every team isn’t in this competition just to make the numbers up!!
    Yes, Leeds have bigger fish to fry, with sealing promotion back to the PL…but I can’t see it being a whole team of youngsters!! They don’t play again until Saturday.. and we’re not as dirty as the officials think 😜 So I expect a handful of changes… as well as a great game! And I hope to be on the tv, as I’m sitting near the tunnel 😉 COYG!!

  7. Let us Gooners not be Upamecano signing crazy this winter but be sober and patiently wait to see if Arteta wants him to come to the club this winter window and the club’s hierarchy bosses will back him with the required incoming transfer fee to sign the CB but If RB Leipzig his club will agree to sell him to Arsenal this winter. And their selling price will not constitute a hindrance to Arsenal signing him this winter. But what of Williams Saliba the St Eitieen’s CB who Arsenal have already signed? Okay, he’ll be joining the Arsenal team squad next summer after loaning him back to St Eitieen for a season immediately Arsenal signed him for a reported £27m transfer fee.

    As for Arsenal FA Cup home match against Leeds Utd tomorrow, I think Arteta should use the match to give game playing time to Macey, Medley, Bola, Burton, Rowe, Olayinka, Jules and Martinelli alongside some experienced Gunners like Bellerin and Mustafi to start the match for Arsenal if they are all okay inform-wise to play for Arsenal who I believe if Arteta start them will even beat the Leeds Championship League first teamers not to talk of their on the fringe players who the Leeds head coach has said he’ll field in the match against Arsenal.

  8. Let’s not forget Arsenal lost to a so called second string team at An field in the League Cup. You have to beat whoever takes the field against you.

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