Arsenal vs Leeds UnitedEFL Cup, KO: 19:45 Oct 26, 2021, Emirates Stadium
ARSENAL are finally beginning to build up a head of steam and Mikel Arteta will silence more of his critics if he can guide the Gunners past Leeds United in the Carabao Cup.
The Spaniard was under intense pressure after his side started the Premier League campaign with three successive losses. But injuries and illness played a big part in that and I always felt Arsenal had a first XI capable of holding their own against even the best teams in England's top flight.
That has been backed up by a seven-game unbeaten run and the Gunners turned in one of their best displays of the campaign last time out to crush Aston Villa 3-1 and help bring up another full house for our man Slips Tips.
Arteta's men are now just three points off the top four in the Premier League but attention switches to the Carabao Cup when Leeds come calling.
It has been a poor start to the season for Marcelo Bielsa's side and they seem to have lost the element of surprise that saw them shine in their first campaign back in the top flight.
Leeds have been held back by too many draws, with five of their games ending level, and they needed penalties to see off Championship side Fulham in the last round of the cup.
But they still have enough talent in their attack to dump the Gunners out at the Emirates in what should be an open and entertaining cup tie.
How the bookies view it
I'm surprised to see Leeds as big as 5/1 with SBK for a win inside 90 minutes, given both managers might be tempted to make a few changes. Plenty of punters will fancy a nibble at that price.
Arsenal offer little value at a best 16/25 (Novibet) while the stalemate pays 31/10 at SportNation. To qualify, Bielsa's side are a bit shorter at 13/5 with Mansionbet while the Gunners are a measly 1/3 with most firms.
Recent head to head
Arsenal are unbeaten in their last nine games against Leeds, stretching back to a 3-2 defeat in 2003 when the Gunners were still playing at Highbury. Last season, Arteta's side won 4-2 at the Emirates in the Premier League (bel0w) after a 0-0 draw at Elland Road.
Players to watch
It's hard to tell who will start this game as both managers could prioritise weekend league games. Nicolas Pepe was left on Arsenal's bench for the win over Villa so I'd expect the winger to start here. He netted in the Carabao Cup rout of West Brom and is 7/4 with Bet365 for anytime scorer here. Pepe is also 9/1 with Skybet to score from outside the area.
Youngster Joe Gelhardt made a massive impact off the bench for Leeds against Wolves at the weekend. That should be enough to land him a start here and he's 7/2 at Paddy Power for a goal.
Anything else catch the eye?
Arsenal's last four home matches have all delivered three goals or more so it bodes well for an entertaining game. Six goals were scored when Leeds last visited the Emirates so over 2.5 goals looks a good option, especially for accas, at 5/6 with SportNation. The odds increase to 43/20 at Unibet for over 3.5 strikes.
This EFL Cup match between Arsenal and Leeds United will be played on Oct 26, 2021 and kick off at 19:45. Check below for our tipsters best Arsenal vs Leeds United prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.