Arsenal have a mountain of issues to deal with for the second half of the season, some of which would ideally be seen to before Leeds United head to the Emirates Stadium for Sunday’s Premier League fixture.
Stylistically, the fine margins that constitute victory or defeat in this division have slimmed down since mid-December. Mikel Arteta has worked on the offensive aspect of his side which contributed to the seven-game unbeaten run, although the issue of conversion remains.
Throw in niggling injuries and the issues mount up, although it appears as if Sunday’s opponents, Leeds, have problems of their own to contend with.
Running out comfortable 2-0 winners at home to Crystal Palace on Monday, Marcelo Bielsa’s side moved above Arsenal in the Premier League table into tenth, one point ahead and having played fewer games. They’ve also hit 11 more goals and conceded an entertainingly high 15 more. Glorious viewing for the neutral.
Kalvin Phillips suffers injury scare for Leeds ahead of Arsenal Premier League clash
Making the journey south to the Emirates Stadium for the weekend, they may be without a key operator in midfield as Kalvin Philips, who made his 200th club appearance in the win over the Eagles, was forced off with injury in the latter stages.
He required treatment for a few minutes having initially got back from previously hitting the turf, with the medical staff indicating he had to come off two minutes from time.
Phillips has already been forced to sit out three matches this season with a shoulder injury – returning from that period just in time for Arsenal’s trip to Elland Road, of course – and his importance to the style Bielsa implements means he could be a huge miss for the visitors on Sunday,
After the game he was then spotted with ice on his left calf, a worrying issue for Leeds that Bielsa remained unsure of post-match.
‘The Battle for Tenth Spot’, as it has been referred to in the days building up to Sunday, could see Arsenal have their own vital midfielder fit as Thomas Partey hobbled off 15 minutes before the end of the Aston Villa defeat.
Leeds’ defence is leaky enough with the third-most goals conceded this season, and the potential absence of Phillips strips back a layer of protection in midfield and distribution going forward that Bielsa can’t call upon elsewhere in the squad.