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FA Cup draw: Arsenal would lose to Leeds if match was played this week – Chris Sutton

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Arsenal would lose to in form Leeds if they played this week in the FA Cup. That is the view of pundit Chris Sutton. Arsenal were drawn against Marcelo Bielsa’s men, who have won their last five matches in a row.

In contrast, Arsenal have failed to win any of their last eight matches and drew 2-2 at the weekend against Norwich.

After the draw was made, former England defender Micah Richards said: “I’m sure they’ll go there with confidence, especially with Bielsa.”

And speaking of BBC Radio Five Live, Sutton felt the Championship side should feel confident about causing an upset.

He said: “I think Arsenal Leeds is fascinating.

“If it was to be played this week I’d actually fancy Leeds to beat them.

“They are in phenomenal form. Arsenal look [the] same old Arsenal, decidedly shaky at the back. That’s a huge game.”

The last time the two sides met in the competition was in 2012 when Arsenal won 1-0 courtesy of a late Thierry Henry winner.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice to earn Arsenal a point on Sunday at Carrow Road.

And he believes interim manager Freddie Ljungberg can give the squad “something special”.

“Everybody is respectful of Freddie,” Aubameyang said.

FA Cup third-round ties

Leicester City vs Wigan Athletic

QPR vs Swansea City

Fulham vs Aston Villa

Chelsea vs Nottingham Forest

Wolves vs Manchester United

Charlton Athletic vs West Brom

Rochdale or Boston United vs Newcastle

Cardiff City vs Forest Green or Carlisle

Oxford United vs Exeter City or Hartlepool

Sheffield United vs AFC Fylde

Southampton vs Huddersfield Town

Liverpool vs Everton

Bristol City vs Shrewsbury Town

Bournemouth vs Luton Town

Brighton vs Sheffield Wednesday

Bristol Rovers or Plymouth Argyle vs Coventry City or Ipswich Town

Eastleigh or Crewe Alexandra vs Barnsley

Manchester City vs Port Vale

Middlesbrough vs Tottenham

Reading vs Blackpool

Watford vs Tranmere Rovers

Preston vs Norwich City

Millwall vs Newport County

Crystal Palace vs Derby County

Solihull Moors or Rotherham United vs Hull City

Brentford vs Stoke City

Fleetwood Town vs Portsmouth

Arsenal vs Leeds United

Gillingham vs West Ham

Burton Albion vs Northampton Town

Burnley vs Peterborough

Birmingham City vs Blackburn Rovers

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Is Sean Dyche the Obvious Choice to Manage Arsenal and Will Football Snobbery Discount him as an Option

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There’s been quite a swing in favour of support for Sean Dyche to replace Unai Emery at Arsenal and it’s rather surprising in the light of the big names available and all the usual suspects that the media continues to promote.

Many see him as a George Graham figure, one that will bring structure and discipline. A battler, a motivator and a no bullshit kind of guy, all of which may be true but would he instantly be discounted by supporters because his name was seen by fans as small time.

Would he also be subject to football snobbery because he managed Burnley ?

Dyche has worked miracles at Burnley with the expected tight financial restrictions and frugal framework that the bigger clubs manage to avoid with a single sponsorship deal.

Dyche has had to implement a strong team ethic and foster a togetherness that has kept them afloat and one which just a few seasons ago, saw them break into Europe. That journey revealed a lack of depth in his squad but Burnley’s failure isn’t that of Dyche himself.

The campaign had an impact on their premiership aspirations but Dyche is realistic enough to know that there was a likelihood of this happening. He is ever the pragmatist but to say that he has resigned himself to a lower level of expectations for his side or for himself would be to misjudge the man entirely.

His sides are determined, well organised, hard working and adventurous. They are the type of opposition that most supporters dread because if there’s anything amiss in your team’s preparation, Dyche and Burnley will find you out.

You tend to view his work with the view that in some ways he has outgrown his current home and is capable of so much more but will that somewhere be the Emirates ?

Sean Dyche is an outside bet at this time but with Arsenal’s top targets dropping like flies, perhaps his name will also pop up in the boardroom as it has on social media.

Remember this, George Graham wasn’t the name supporters wanted back in 1986. Then he was the manager of Millwall who were in the old second division but the Scot had enormous success and is often mentioned by fans in the same sentence as Chapman and Wenger. Just saying.

READ MORE: Ivan Gazidis is the Bonafide Villain of the Arsenal Panto and is Ultimately Responsible for the Chaos at the Club and the Lame Appointment of Unai Emery

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Sokratis calls on team-mates to 'do the dirty work' against Man City and backs Arsenal to 'explode'

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Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos calls on team-mates to ‘do the dirty work’ against Manchester City as he backs Gunners to ‘explode’

  • Sokratis Papastathopoulos has been a regular at centre back so far this season 
  • Arsenal drew at Standard Liege after Monday’s victory against West Ham 
  • The Greek has issued a rallying call ahead of the Gunners’ game against Man City

Sokratis Papastathopoulos believes a home win over reigning Premier League champions Manchester City this weekend can see Arsenal‘s disappointing season ‘explode’ into life.

The Greek defender has called on his team-mates to do the ‘dirty work’ and ensure they match stuttering City at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Arsenal have won just one of their last 11 games in all competitions and had to battle from two goals behind to earn a 2-2 Europa League draw at Standard Liege on Thursday night.

Sokratis in action on Thursday night, when Arsenal came from 2-0 behind to draw 2-2 in Liege

Sokratis in action on Thursday night, when Arsenal came from 2-0 behind to draw 2-2 in Liege

The Greek has been a regular in a struggling side during the opening four months of the season

The Greek has been a regular in a struggling side during the opening four months of the season

The Greek has been a regular in a struggling side during the opening four months of the season

SOKRATIS IN 2019-20  

  • Appearances: 17
  • 90 mins completed: 16 
  • Goals: 1
  • Assists: 0
  • Clean sheets: 2
  • Yellow cards: 4
  • Red cards: 0 

Statistics according to Transfermarkt  

The Gunners have gone almost four years without a league victory over City, who won 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium last season in Unai Emery’s first game in charge.

Arsenal currently sit ninth in the table as their domestic season threatens to fizzle out before Christmas – but Sokratis feels victory on Sunday could kick-start the campaign.

‘Of course it is a very difficult game.’ the 31-year-old said of the challenge of hosting Pep Guardiola’s side.

‘Sometimes, these games are games where you can explode. I think we need one good game in our home to explode and I hope we will have that on Sunday.

Freddie Ljungberg was placed in interim charge of the first-team after Unai Emery's sacking

Freddie Ljungberg was placed in interim charge of the first-team after Unai Emery's sacking

Freddie Ljungberg was placed in interim charge of the first-team after Unai Emery’s sacking 

‘But, first of all, we have to run all together, try to help each other and intensity is the most important thing in football, of course you have to have quality but to show the quality you have to first show intensity, win the duels, be tactically-organised.

‘I think now the manager tries to explains what he likes from us and I think he gave a lot of attention to the organisation and we work very hard until now. I hope things in the future are going to be better.’

A 3-1 win at West Ham on Monday night ended a nine-match run without a victory and, having battled back in Liege, Papastathopoulos feels confidence is starting to return to the ranks and can be bolstered once again this weekend.

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang celebrates his goal against West Ham United on Monday night

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang celebrates his goal against West Ham United on Monday night

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang celebrates his goal against West Ham United on Monday night 

‘I think it’s coming back,’ he said.

‘It’s a big point this. We lost confidence because we didn’t win for a long time. It’s important also, it’s normal for (young) players. 

‘They don’t have the experience before to live this, to lose their confidence. As a team we lost confidence. Now we try to find balance.

Arsenal host Pep Guardiola's Manchester City on Sunday in a pivotal clash for both teams

Arsenal host Pep Guardiola's Manchester City on Sunday in a pivotal clash for both teams

Arsenal host Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on Sunday in a pivotal clash for both teams 

‘Maybe. If we win, create and be more organised the confidence is there. It’s not about quality. The team has quality. 

‘But to show the quality you have to do the dirty work. If you do the dirty work and you’re organised you can win, you can do a lot of things. 

Ljungberg will be hoping to have both Nicolas Pepe and Hector Bellerin fit after the pair missed the trip to Belgium with knee and hamstring injuries respectively.



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THE WOMEN'S FOOTBALL COLUMN: Things are adding up for an Everton future in the Champions League

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THE WOMEN’S FOOTBALL COLUMN: Things are adding up for an Everton future in the Champions League under former accountant Willie Kirk… and taking on champions Arsenal doesn’t even hold the same fear factor now

  • Under former accountant Willie Kirk, Everton are enjoying a revival in the WSL 
  • The Toffees are mounting a challenge to enter next season’s Champions League
  • Everton are an attractive proposition and could recruit well in the next window 
  • League leaders Arsenal come to town on Saturday but it won’t be an easy tie 

Everton‘s revival under former accountant Willie Kirk is in full swing. 

As Arsenal head to Merseyside on Saturday lunchtime, they do so knowing that a trip to the Pure Stadium is a much more difficult prospect than it once was.

Everton have won four of their last five home games in the FA Women’s Super League – a record all the more impressive given their last four wins took 27 matches to rack up. 

Everton have won four of their last five home games and present a tough challenge in the WSL

Everton have won four of their last five home games and present a tough challenge in the WSL

The Toffees are level on points with fourth-placed Manchester United and just six behind Manchester City in third. UEFA’s new proposals to send three English sides into the Champions League don’t come into play until 2021-22, but Kirk may wish it was sooner.

When the former Hibernian and Bristol City head coach took on the troubled Toffees 12 months ago, rooted to the bottom of the table, Kirk admitted the players’ primary concern was whether he would take their Christmas holidays away from them.

As the festive period looms once again, the mind-set in the Everton dressing room is somewhat different as they prepare to welcome the reigning champions Arsenal for what Kirk hopes could be one of club’s last home fixtures at Southport.

Under former accountant Willie Kirk, Everton are galvanised and climbing the WSL

Under former accountant Willie Kirk, Everton are galvanised and climbing the WSL

Under former accountant Willie Kirk, Everton are galvanised and climbing the WSL

THE FA WSL 

GAME OF THE WEEKEND: Everton v Arsenal, Sun 15 Dec, 1230pm

PLAYER TO WATCH: Chloe Kelly (Everton)

Chloe Kelly has two goals in two games

Chloe Kelly has two goals in two games

Chloe Kelly has two goals in two games

Even though the club have lost 10 games against Arsenal in the FA WSL – three more than against any other opponent – there’s no longer a sense of this fixture being decided before a ball has even been kicked, despite Joe Montemurro’s side inevitably running out favourites on Sunday.

If Arsenal’s lethal in-form striker and league top scorer Vivianne Miedema finds the net against Everton – and there’s every chance she will having scored in each of her last five league appearances – she will equal Kim Little’s club record (6) in the competition set back in October 2018.

Everton’s hopes largely rest with striker Chloe Kelly – a former graduate from Arsenal’s Centre of Excellence – who learned her trade playing street football on an estate in West London. 

Somewhat of a breakthrough star of the 2019-20 campaign so far, the 21-year-old credits much of her side’s progress since last season’s 10th place finish to the cohesion and competitiveness Kirk has instilled since his arrival.

Chloe Kelly (right) has been identified as one to watch from a talented Everton team

Chloe Kelly (right) has been identified as one to watch from a talented Everton team

Chloe Kelly (right) has been identified as one to watch from a talented Everton team

Though not all of Everton’s players have bought into the Scotman’s ways, with some of those on the fringes of the squad or barely making the bench likely to make a swift exit in this forthcoming transfer window opening on 27 December.

Some might argue Everton are punching above their weight, but Kirk has undoubtedly made the club a more attractive proposition – so much so that Sportsmail can reveal potential new recruits have been approaching the club’s management with a move to Merseyside in mind, not just the other way around.

Along with three points against the Gunners this weekend in the final league outing of 2019, completion of the club’s new Walton Hall Park home will also be high up on Kirk’s Christmas wish-list.

 



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