On Sunday afternoon, Arsenal welcomes a Leeds United side battling to avoid relegation from the Premier League, and Jesse Marsch has a few injury problems to contend with
Arsenal vs Leeds United is a massive game for both teams at opposite ends of the Premier League table. The hosts are in need of three points to maintain their advantage in the top-four race, whilst the visitors are battling to avoid the drop.
Recent history does favour the Gunners as they’ve already beaten the Whites twice this season – including a 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium in the Carabao Cup fourth round – although a lot has changed since with Jesse Marsch replacing Marcelo Bielsa as head coach at the end of February.
Under the American, Leeds have picked up 11 points from a possible 24, and they are unbeaten in their last three away games. But in order to improve on that record and dent Arsenal’s top-four bid, they’ll have to do so without Stuart Dallas after he suffered a femoral fracture during the 4-0 defeat at home to Manchester City last weekend.
“Stuart Dallas has had a successful surgery, and they believe the outcome was very positive,” Marsch explained in his pre-match press conference. “They’ve said it will be a long recovery, but they believe he will have a full recovery. He has had 400 to 500 messages from fans, family and friends, we know he is loved, and this moment proves it more than anything.
“I don’t want to speak for Stuart, but I have heard he has been so appreciative of people reaching out and extending their concerns and their love towards him.”
Dallas is one of five Leeds players that Marsch won’t be able to call upon in north London, along with Tyler Roberts, Adam Forshaw, Crysencio Summerville and Patrick Bamford, for whom the game against Arsenal is likely to come too soon for his return to action.
“Patrick Bamford has been on the [training] pitch, so we remain cautiously optimistic with that,” Marsch added. “I watched him on the pitch a bit today, and he was moving really well, doing a bit of ball work. Relatively active and dynamic, so I think we still have two-and-a-half weeks, and we’ll go step-by-step, but hopeful that we can see him back into training next week.
“Tyler Roberts, Adam Forshaw and Crysencio Summerville are moving in the right direction.”
With that said, there has been some good news on the injury front for Leeds, with Marsch confirming that captain Liam Cooper will be available for selection after he missed the loss against Man City.
“Liam Cooper trained today, Diego Llorente trained today, so other than the four or five mentioned, we should have our full complement of players,” Marsch revealed. “I think actually think Liam will play. He was fully in training today and felt good. So I think he’ll be available.”