Arsenal FC: 5 Bold Predictions for Their FA Cup Clash Against Leeds

Matthew CelentanoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2012

Arsenal FC: 5 Bold Predictions for Their FA Cup Clash Against Leeds

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    With Arsenal 12 points adrift of first place in the Premier League, major underdogs to win the Champions League, and knocked out of the Carling Cup, the FA Cup is looking like the Gunners best bet at winning their first trophy in six years.

    Arsenal will go head-to-head in an FA Cup third round-clash against Leeds on Monday in a match where they are expected to be clear winners. Not only do they have home advantage, but the North London outfit are in an entire different league than Leeds (quite literally) and should see them them out in a comfortable win.

    Although it may not seem like it, Arsenal's match against Leeds could be one of their most important of the season.

Thierry Henry Will Score

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    Thierry Henry, the King, is back.

    Arsenal supporters will be getting the once in a lifetime treat of seeing the club's legend back wearing red and white for two months—and it all begins on Monday at the Emirates.

    Arsene Wenger has stated that Henry will start against Leeds, ensuring a dramatic return for the Frenchman to the club where he made his name. Last time Henry faced Leeds, he netted an emphatic four goals in a 5-0 win. 

    I don't think he'll score that many this time around, but I'm expecting him to push his all-time goalscoring tally for Arsenal up to 227.

Marouane Chamakh Will Score as Well

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    Marouane Chamakh has had a pretty horrible start to the season. After arriving on a free transfer from Bordeaux in the summer of 2010, Chamakh looked like a good move by Wenger. Midway through the 2010-11 season he looked like an even better move, netting seven goals in the league and really stepping up for Arsenal in the absence of Robin Van Persie.

    And then it all went downhill.

    Chamakh has scored just two goals in all competitions since his good run of form at the end of 2010, and there's a very good chance he's going to leave the Emirates this summer, hopefully being replaced by a more complete forward.

    Nonetheless, he's sure to see some playing time against Leeds and I'm predicting that the Moroccan will net his first (and possibly only) goal of 2012.

Andrei Arshavin Will Put in a Man of the Match Performance

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    When Andrei Arshavin's arrival at Arsenal smashed the Gunners transfer fee record, the Russian dynamo was completely on. When I say on, I mean he was possibly Arsenal's most dangerous player, scoring a prolific four goals against Liverpool and lighting up the Premier League.

    And then last season happened. With every match Arshavin was looking less and less sharp, and he soon became the sort of player who was just on and off, a footballer that you just don't know what to expect from.

    This season, he's simply been off. He continues to put in match after match of lethargic, rusty performances, seeming almost apathetic about his football.

    However, his last match for Arsenal was actually a high, where he assisted Robin Van Persie's winning goal against QPR with a surprisingly sharp through ball. Arshavin has certainly been more off than on this season, but when he's on he can be a complete game changer. 

    I'm predicting that Arshavin will be on against Leeds.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Will Grab an Assist, Continuing To Show His Brilliance

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    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has perhaps been Arsenal's most exciting player of the season.

    It's really a shame Wenger doesn't play him more often. In every single match he's played in so far he's seemed to have been the best player on the pitch, scoring against Olimpiacos and Shrewsbury as well as being the Man of the Match against Manchester City in the Carling Cup.

    There's no reason the Ox shouldn't play against Leeds, just like there's no reason he shouldn't continue to be brilliant.

    While he's showing off his talent as a wing wizard on Monday, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will grab an assist, hopefully (crossing my fingers) convincing Wenger to start playing him in the Premier League.

Arsenal Will Win 4-1

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    Although this exact fixture actually resulted in a 1-1 draw last season, I think the Gunners will prevail this time around without too much trouble.

    I'm expecting them to boss the possession with at least 60 percent, score a few goals and then get a scare when Leeds hit one back off of a header or defensive error, but eventually go on to win 4-1.

    Although it may not seem like it, this is a must win for Arsenal if they want to keep their hopes of winning any trophy alive this season. A comfortable win will hopefully spark another winning streak to help Arsene Wenger's men secure their top-four spot and push for silverware.