I’d almost compare this to like Christmas Day coming early.
But given the time of year it is, that might sound a little bit too weird, so let’s just say that in fact it’s like getting a second Christmas.
As Marcelo Bielsa revealed during his press conference ahead of the game tonight, there is going to be a few changes sprung on the Gunners at the Emirates, with the likes of Illan Meslier and Robbie Gotts set to be given a runout.
As Phil Hay reported a number of months ago, Meslier is likely going to receive some minutes if Kiko Casilla is found guilty of his charge with the FA, so this game acts as a little bit of a warm-up for him in a sense.
Those of you who are regulars to this site will know that I have been calling for Meslier to be called up and given more game time more or less since he signed for the club on loan during the summer, but has so far been stuck on the bench.
The thing is, is that this game, and his first chance to impress comes at a rather unusual time, in that it is right at the start of the January transfer window, so there is going to be that extra bit of pressure on him to perform.
If he doesn’t put in a decent performance tonight, then that could ramp up desire to go and bring in another goalkeeper on loan to fill in for Casilla when and if the ban does come down. Having waited so long for his opportunity to shine, hopefully he’ll be able to step up and take it now that it’s been presented to him.
Do you want Leeds to beat Arsenal?
Yes, take the cup seriously
No, focus on the league
And if Casilla is found not guilty in his case, then this could very well be his one and only appearance for Leeds United this season, so he had better make it count. I suppose the best way you could put it, is that this game is ‘make or break’ for him when it comes to his time at Elland Road.