Can Arsenal blame the international break for Leeds draw

Historically, (as in since Leeds were relegated in 2004), Arsenal have had no problems beating Leeds in their last 7 meetings, but on Sunday the Gunners were absolutely rubbish at Elland Road and in the end were lucky to come away with a point.

After the game, Mikel Arteta gave one of his reasons (among the many) as to why he was upset as: “..We had it really difficult for different reasons because we lost two players on international duty and we had a player that came who wasn’t in the condition to start. We lost two players to injury today and one through suspension and we have an incredible amount of games coming up.”

Of course the two players “lost” were Mohammed Elneny and Sead Kolasinac as they were tested positive for coronavirus, and as Thomas Partey got injured against Aston Villa, Arteta had lost his new preferred midfield pairing at one fell swoop.

The player that “wasn’t in condition to start” must have been Bukayo Saka, who is our most potent attacking threat down the wing at the moment. He had played all three games for England at the tender age of 18. We did see him for half an hour at Leeds but surely we would have been more dangerous if he had started the game.

What about Kieran Tierney, who is also usually a potent threat to opposing teams? He only made one dribble and one tackle in the whole Leeds game, but has the excuse of not only playing three full games for Scotland over the break, but also half an hour of extra time against Serbia! No wonder he wasn’t at his best on Sunday.

If you then add that Aubameyang had to play two matches in Africa while sleeping on an airport floor in between games, and it all adds up to a very bad preparation for the team all in all..

Does that go some way to explaining Arsenal’s weak display at Leeds?


  1. Tierney made more ball recoveries than any other player and also blocked more shots… he was up for it!

    If this is to be an excuse for Leeds, then what the bleedin’ hell was the excuse for Villa?! Switching off thinking ahead to the break?? Sheesh….

    And don’t forget Willian went to Dubai.. oh wait, it wasn’t for football….

  2. Not ideal, especially our most high profile player bedding down on the airport floor, but two things;

    1) “Successful” teams logically have their fair share of international players , so (the current crazy schedule taken into account) it’s the same for each side in the race for the top six.

    Squad strength is therefore key.

    This doesn’t excuse the crazy schedule (a 19 year old Saka comes to mind), but like it or not (not) it’s a fact of life right now.

    2) A basic, and very simple point.

    However much patience we fans know we should show – enough of the excuses.

    Our club has under achieved for a number of years now, and for me seems flawed to the very core on many levels, repeating the same mistakes year on year – Deja vu.

    An aside, of which our longer standing supporters will aware.

    Sleeping on the airport floor is one thing.

    Ray Parlour (Liverpool away), was not in the squad.

    Off he went to the players lounge, and sunk 4 pints of lager before kick.

    Ten minutes to K.O. George Graham sent up for him – he was on the bench.

    Went on for last 20 min’s, got an assist for what if I recall was the winner.

    George called him in on Monday morning, told him he done really well when he went on – and promptly fined him 2 weeks wages !!!

  3. Delusional: thinking that willock is better than mesut,toreira and Mateo
    Chelsea retirement village
    Sideways passes, the worst arsenal ball I’ve ever watched…. Miss Wenger,Dennis,Henry,viera, Petit,fabregas,carzola,wilshere, you name them
    Arsenal is not playing the arsenal way

  4. Only a matter of time before we loose saka a big club will snap him up he doesn’t have any chance of winning prem or champions league with Arsenal so if hes ambitious which I’ve no doubt he is then he will move on in the next year or so and be at a club who challenge for these competitions and i would not blame him 1 bit!!

  5. O T

    A thought that won’t leave me.

    Given the very good start Unai Emery had with us (“Unai Emery’s Red & White Army” ringing ’round the Em’s) did the players “down tools ” on Emery ?

    I firmly believe we are a club who over recent times has become prone to “cliques” within the squad.

    Was “player power” more than a factor in U E’s dismissal ?

    The last “8 games for top 4”, and Baku remain a mystery.

    Nags at me to this day, was this more to be laid at the players door than Unai Emery’s (as above).

    And I don’t buy for one minute the “communication” argument – anyone rate Marcelo Bielsa ?

    I remain firmly behind Mikel Arteta, but have more than a degree of sympathy for Unai Emery, and wish him all the very best at Villarreal.

  6. No. There are many players simply not pulling their weight, and others who aren’t good enough. Same problem as always with Arsenal.

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