The Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa is extremely highly respected among elite managers, and his uncompromising and analytical approach managed to get Leeds back into the Premier League for the first time since 2004.
So it was surprising to hear him talk about our “rookie” manager Mikel Arteta, and says that he sees in his Arsenal side.. “things that I have never seen in any other team.”
He told Leeds- Live: “Arsenal is one of the best teams in the league. They have players of hierarchy in all of their lines. They have a manager who proposes a style which distinguishes the team. He’s a coach who wants his team to play as he projects. From a tactic point of view, if you watch Arsenal closely they show things that I have never seen in any other team.”
That is high praise indeed, and Arteta himself also knows that Bielsa is going to have his Leeds team set up to out-tactic Arsenal tomorrow. The only time he has ever faced Arsenal before was in last year’s FA Cup, not long after Arteta arrived. We narrowly won 1-0 but he admitted that Arteta was a worthy opponent. He said: “In that game we played well in the first half and not in the second half. The improvement of Arsenal in the second half neutralised all of the good things we did in the first-half.
“But the game that is being played on Sunday is not comparable to the one we played in January.”
So, we are definitely going to be in for a tactical battle again tomorrow, and let us hope that Arteta can come out on top once again…