On paper, being drawn against a Championship club in the third round of the FA Cup should not be too concerning for a team playing in the Europa League. But for some Arsenal fans, the prospect of facing Leeds United in January is one that has them worried.
The Gunners could go into that contest without a permanent manager. Freddie Ljungberg has taken charge on a temporary basis and oversaw his first game at the weekend. However, it is not clear how long he will be needed for.
Arsenal will certainly hope to have ended their winless run by the time January arrives. The Gunners have not won a domestic game since early October, while it is eight without a victory in all competitions.
Meanwhile, Leeds are currently flying in the second tier. Marcelo Bielsa’s side have won their last five and sit five points clear of third in the Championship.
And that perhaps explains why many Arsenal supporters are not optimistic about this tie. The game has provided some famous moments in the competition’s history – Allan Clarke’s header in the 1972 final and Thierry Henry’s winner on his second debut – and it appears that some may be expecting another in a couple of months.
Another interesting factor centres around Eddie Nketiah. The striker is on loan at Leeds from Arsenal, but there is speculation surrounding his situation.
The Daily Mirror recently reported that the Gunners are considering recalling the youngster in January. And it was suggested that Leeds – who are hopeful of keeping Nketiah for the campaign – are looking at potential replacements.
Interestingly, Nketiah’s only way of featuring in the game seems to be if Arsenal recall him. FA rules state that he is not allowed to play against the Gunners in the competition.
The striker himself tweeted his reaction to the draw. And that prompted some Arsenal supporters to respond by imploring him to return in the winter window.
But it is clear that plenty of Gunners fans are not too optimistic about their chances of reaching the fourth round.
Here is how some of the fans reacted to the draw…
Get nketiah back and make him play against Leeds #revenge
— Magista49 🇸🇬🔴⚪ (@magista49) December 3, 2019
Leeds at home in the cup should be fun with our defence #afc
— AJ (@Aaronrutter9) December 2, 2019
— jadaaa (@jadaboii) December 2, 2019
— charlie7zero (@charlie7zero) December 2, 2019
— fran (@Jolilfred) December 2, 2019
— Simpy (@Simpy141) December 2, 2019
— Caroline (@chopdoll24) December 2, 2019
And here is Nketiah’s reaction and some of the responses from some of the Arsenal supporters…
— Eddie Nketiah (@EddieNketiah9) December 2, 2019
You’ll be back at Arsenal by then buddy. Score a hatty against Leeds.
— 𝙅𝙖𝙘𝙠 🔥 (@afcjacques) December 2, 2019
Take the week off
— Pierre Pepe Arsenal 🏴 (@Syncopy_) December 2, 2019
Should call Eddie back and play him! Leeds are wasting him!
— Neil Hughes (@NHughsey1) December 2, 2019
Please knock us out
— Alex (@RobWasOnly3Mill) December 2, 2019
I beg you take it easy on us, you know the state we’re in
— Me (@henman415) December 2, 2019
Please don’t score a hat trick against us
— Diego (@DiegoParker20) December 2, 2019