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2 Highs and 2 Lows from Leeds United’s start to the season

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2 Highs and 2 Lows from how Leeds United have started the season

Leeds United have made a positive start to life in their second season under the reign of Marcelo Bielsa after a playoff defeat earlier in the summer damned them to yet another campaign of Championship football. 

A 1-0 defeat to Swansea City at home last weekend ended the Whites’ unbeaten run in the league but the manager has plenty of positives to take from the club’s impressive start to the ongoing campaign. 

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Indeed, those agonising memories of how Leeds blew away a golden chance to make it back to the Premier League last season are still likely to be fresh in the minds of the supporters.

However, the Whites have already laid down an early marker that they are once again going to be strong contenders for promotion this term and with that in mind, let us take a look at a few positives and negatives from their start to the season.

Positives

1. Absolutely no hangover of last season’s failure

Having seen their hopes of making a much-awaited return to the Premier League come to nothing last season, it was always going to be intriguing to see whether Leeds United would be able to put all the disappointment behind them and raise themselves to compete for promotion all over again. 

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Well, it’s only six games into the season but the fans at Elland Road should be pleased with the way their team has performed in the opening rounds of the season. 

Those monsters from last season’s play-off agony against Derby County have hardly come back to haunt the Whites and the players certainly haven’t lacked any sort of commitment and motivation, as evident from their performances so far. 

In fact, Leeds have looked like a well-oiled unit in most of the games and when at their best, the Whites have produced some sparkling attacking football to ensure that the fans get their money’s worth.

Leeds were the architects of their own downfall for a number of reasons towards the end of last season and Marcelo Bielsa certainly deserves a lot of credit for inspiring his team to a promising start this term. 

2. Bamford and Nketiah getting amongst the goals

One of the key takeaways from Leeds United’s failed bid for promotion in the previous campaign was the absence of a prolific striker, with Kemar Roofe’s tally of 15 goals not enough to match the exploits of some of his counterparts from the promotion rivals. 

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And plenty of eyebrows were raised when the Whites sanctioned the sale of last season’s top-scorer, Roofe, this summer, whilst bringing in youngster Eddie Nketiah on loan from Arsenal to provide cover and competition for Patrick Bamford.

Bamford struggles with injuries and his failure to deliver the goods consistently had come back to haunt Leeds badly last season but the fans will breathe a sigh of relief following the former Chelsea man’s promising start to the ongoing campaign. 

The 26-year-old has already chipped in with 4 goals and an assist in 6 starts, while Nketiah, yet to start a game in the league, has already netted thrice in all competitions, including the winner as a substitute in the 1-0 victory over Brentford.

With Tyler Roberts also on the comeback trail from injury, Leeds will be hoping that Bamford and Nketiah continue their impressive run of form in front of goal and more importantly, manage to keep themselves free of injuries. 

Negatives

1. Home Form

Bielsa, though, is likely to be aware of his team’s inconsistent run of form in the home fixtures since the second half of the previous campaign.

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Leeds turned Elland Road into a fortress in the earlier stages of the 2018-19 season but their home form took a significant turnaround in the latter stages of the campaign, something that has continued to haunt them this term as well. 

Leeds have won only one of their three fixtures in the Championship this season, with the Whites accumulating just 4 points in those 3 league games.

They also lost at home to Stoke City in the second round of the EFL Cup, a result which came as a surprise to many. 

2. Defending Set-Pieces

Leeds currently boast of the best defensive record in the Championship, having conceded only thrice in their first six games in the league.

With new signing Ben White taking well to the surroundings at Elland Road and filling the void left by the departure of Pontus Jansson, the Yorkshire giants have looked rock solid at the back so far. 

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However, it is worth mentioning here that 3 of the 5 goals that they have conceded in all competitions so far have come from corners, a fact that might have gone under the radar due to their impressive start to the season. 

That seems pretty ironical though, given that both White and Liam Cooper are strong in the air and very much adept at dealing with crosses. 

This is something that a detail-oriented manager like Bielsa would have taken note of and the Argentine will certainly point it out to his defenders on the training ground once the international break gets over. 

To Read More Leeds United News, Click Here:- Latest Leeds United News

Plus, the goal that they conceded against Swansea was a result of some sloppy defending, to be honest, with the players failing to get the ball away to safety on a number of occasions. 

Arsenal

[Image] Man United vs Arsenal: Star-studded combined XI featuring 4 Red Devils and 7 Gunners

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Man United vs Arsenal: Combined XI featuring 4 Red Devils and 7 Gunners

After a round of EFL Cup fixtures, Premier League action is set to return this weekend with plenty of thrills and spills and the high-octane clash between Man United and Arsenal on Monday night is undoubtedly going to be one of the main attractions of matchweek 7. 

Both the teams won their EFL Cup fixtures, with Arsenal handing Nottingham Forest a 5-0 drubbing and Man United somehow edging past a lowly Rochdale in the penalty shootout. 

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Arsenal are currently placed 4th in the Premier League standings after a 3-2 victory over Aston Villa last week and the fans will be expecting the Gunners to continue their winning run, while Man United will have their work cut out away from home after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham last week. 

Combined XI

Bernd Leno (GK)

The German has proven his worth between the sticks on numerous occasions with some fine saves this season and he certainly deserves the nod over de Gea, who has been a bit inconsistent. 

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB)

The youngster has proven himself to be an excellent addition to Man United’s backline and it is a no-brainer that he has fared way better than Maitland-Niles in that position.

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Harry Maguire (CB)

The England international has added a lot of steel to United’s backline following his big-money move from Leicester City earlier in the summer. One of the best centre-backs in the Premier League, he definitely deserves a place ahead of the error-prone David Luiz in the elite combined line-up. 

Sokratis (CB)

The Greek international has hardly been at his best but Victor Lindelof too, has been equally lacklustre and there isn’t really a lot to choose between them so far this term.

Kieran Tierney (LB)

The Scotsman made his first start for the Gunners since his move from Celtic back in August and the fans will be expecting him to play a big part on Monday if he starts.

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Matteo Guendouzi (CDM)

The Frenchman has arguably been Arsenal’s most influential presence in the middle of the park with his excellent all-round game, leapfrogging Fred, Matic, Xhaka and Torreira on the performance charts. 

Scott McTominay (CDM)

The youngster has really come of age for United this term and his combative and energetic displays in the middle of the park have caught the eye amidst a lot of mediocrity from his teammates, including star man Paul Pogba. 

Nicolas Pepe (RW)

The Ivorian is currently on high spirits after bagging his first goal for Arsenal against Aston Villa last week and though he hasn’t done anything spectacular yet, there is hardly a better player from either team in that role. 

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Daniel James (LW)

The former Swansea City starlet has taken the Premier League by storm this season and he will be United’s best bet to find the net on Monday. 

Dani Ceballos (CAM)

The Spaniard has shown a lot of promise in that No.10 role for the Gunners and he definitely deserves the nod ahead of big names like Juan Mata and Mesut Ozil.

To Read More Arsenal News, Click here:- Latest Arsenal News

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST)

The Gabonese international has become a nemesis for the defenders in the Premier League and with an impressive tally 6 goals in 6 league outings this season, Arsenal will look up to him to propel them to a victory over rivals United on Monday. 

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No Eriksen, no problem – 3 top-class replacements who Tottenham can consider including these Serie A stars

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3 ideal replacements for Christian Eriksen at Tottenham next summer

Tottenham came out of their miserly habits to spend big this summer but the Lilywhites still have plenty of issues to sort out after an indifferent start to the Premier League campaign. 

The North Londoners grabbed the headlines with big-money deals for Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon earlier in the summer but if the first seven games are anything to go by, Spurs still have plenty of gaps to plug if they are to push on under the stewardship of Mauricio Pochettino and ultimately challenge for the Premier League crown.

Indeed, the arrival of Lo Celso and club-record signing Tanguy Ndombele has strengthened Spurs’ cavalry in the middle of the park but Pochettino is likely to have a few more targets high on his wishlist for the upcoming transfer windows. 

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While a replacement for Kieran Tripper continues to be a nagging issue, the transfer saga involving influential playmaker Christian Eriksen has turned into a big distraction for the club, with the Dane stalling over signing a new deal. 

Eriksen, who is out of contract next summer, continues to be a game-changer for Spurs but the Lilywhites might as well start preparing for life without him next summer. 

It’s pretty evident that he has his heart set on a move to a bigger club to challenge for silverware and reach greater heights and to that end, it is in the best interests of everyone that Spurs let him depart for free next summer or cash in on him in January to fund a move for a replacement.

Talking about a genuine replacement for a player of his calibre, Spurs have got the option to iron out a permanent deal for Lo Celso, who is widely regarded as one of the best all-round midfielders in the modern game.

However, they have the choice to look at other options as well, and here are 3 ideal replacements for the Dane:

1. Paulo Dybala 

The Argentinian stalwart has been forced to take a back seat at Juventus following the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo last summer and Spurs should look to go back in the market for the 25-year-old after failing to get a deal over the line in the summer. (h/t Express)

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The left-footed magician has the playmaking abilities and the natural skill set to fill in the void left by Eriksen, while his versatility to operate in multiple roles in the attacking third could be a massive boost to Pochettino’s team dynamics. 

Dybala is one of the best playmaking forwards in the world and Pochettino’s union with his compatriot could transform Spurs into strong title contenders for the upcoming season. 

2. Nicolo Zaniolo 

Spurs were repeatedly linked with a move for the 20-year-old Italian in the summer following his impressive breakthrough season at Roma last term. (h/t Daily Mail)

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The Lilywhites can certainly afford to look at the youngster as a smart long-term investment but unlike Dybala, he is not really a finished article and Pochettino would need to polish him to a considerable extent to transform him into a player capable of making an impact in the highly competitive atmosphere of the Premier League. 

Zaniolo has illustrated the versatility to play everywhere across the midfield, with his good turn of pace, natural finesse and ability to pick out key passes being some of his most impressive attributes. 

The Italian, though, is held in high regard at Roma due to his tremendous potential, and he certainly won’t come cheap. 

3. James Maddison

Perhaps the best like-to-like playmaking replacement for Eriksen, the 22-year-old Englishman has carved out a massive reputation for himself at Leicester City as one of the hottest talents across the nation. 

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He has been linked with Spurs (h/t Express) and it is a no-brainer for the club to go out all in their pursuit of the Leicester City star.

To Read More Spurs News, Click Here:- Latest Spurs News

The youngster not only has the work rate to shoulder the burden of being Spurs’ main man in the middle of the park but he also has the ability to change the whole complexion of the game with his eye for goals and assists. Going by his current form, Maddison would be a dream signing for Tottenham.

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Arsenal

[Image] Predicted 4-2-3-1 Arsenal XI to face Man United – Xhaka out, Torreira in?

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Predicted Arsenal XI to face Man United in the Premier League

Having edged past Aston Villa in a five-goal thriller last week, Arsenal continued their winning habit with a 5-0 drubbing of Nottingham Forest in the third round of the EFL Cup on Wednesday. 

The Gunners, though, will face a real test of their credentials when they make the trip to Old Trafford to face Man United, who recovered from a 2-0 defeat away at West Ham last week to earn a penalty shootout victory over Rochdale in the EFL Cup.

Unai Emery’s side currently sit 4th in the Premier League standings and they will be looking to finish the week inside the top four. 

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Team News

Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin all returned to action in the midweek fixture and their availability before the crunch game at Old Trafford is likely to be a massive boost for Unai Emery, although he will be expected to make a few changes to the eleven that played against Nottingham Forest.

Emile Smith Rowe picked up a knock in the EFL Cup, although the decision to substitute him was more of a precautionary measure.

Konstantinos Mavropanos and Alexandre Lacazette are unlikely to be a part of the matchday squad for Monday night’s encounter but Ainsley Maitland-Niles will be back after serving a one-game suspension for the red card that he picked up last week.

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Predicted XI

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Bernd Leno (GK)

The German was hardly at fault for any of the goals that Arsenal conceded against Aston Villa last week and he is expected to return to the eleven in place of Emiliano Martinez.

Hector Bellerin (RB)

The Spaniard came on as a substitute against Forest on Wednesday but the Gunners will be hoping that he is ready to start at Old Trafford ahead of Maitland-Niles and Calum Chambers. 

Rob Holding (CB)

The centre-back put in an assured display at the heart of the defence upon his return from injury in the midweek game and he could find himself ahead of David Luiz in the pecking order. 

Sokratis Papastathopoulos (CB)

The Greek international should be fresh and ready to start at Old Trafford after being rested for the EFL Cup game. 

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Kieran Tierney (LB)

The former Celtic man didn’t play the full ninety minutes against Forest but he should replace the lacklustre Sead Kolasinac on Monday in what would be his Premier League debut. 

Matteo Guendouzi (CM)

The Frenchman has emerged as an indispensable weapon for Arsenal in the middle of the park with his superb all-round game and he should return to the eleven after being rested for the cup tie.

Lucas Torreira (CM)

Granit Xhaka has had a few shocking outings in the Premier League this term and one does get the feeling that Torreira deserves a spot in the playing eleven. 

Nicolas Pepe (RW)

The Ivorian will be expected to deliver the goods in the high-octane clash against Man United after scoring his first goal against Villa last week.

Dani Ceballos (CAM)

The Spaniard has proven himself to be an influential addition to Arsenal’s ranks this season and he certainly deserves a start ahead of Mesut Ozil. 

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Reiss Nelson (LW)

The academy graduate has shown a lot of promise this term and he might get the nod ahead of Bukayo Saka, who was equally impressive against Aston Villa.

To Read More Arsenal News, Click Here:- Latest Arsenal News

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST)

He just can’t stop scoring at the moment, can he? The Gabonese talisman has already bagged 6 goals in 6 games in the Premier League this season and Arsenal will need him to fire on all cylinders once again.

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