Having signed his new contract Mikel Arteta has received plenty of backing from the Arsenal board.
The Spaniard admitted that the timing of the offer was actually a little odd in his pre-match press conference.
“The club offered me the contract when we lost three matches,” he revealed.
“That day I went like this ‘chapeau‘. And that doesn’t happen in football. That’s a part of what they think, the conversations they have, the belief that they have in myself. The coaching and staff in what we are doing and the people that we have now at the football club and leading this football club and I haven’t ever seen it and I just got emotional when I see it and I said ‘you guys are serious and committed and I’d better push forward‘.”
With this kind of backing Arteta can have few complaints about any distractions relating to his future.
With top six now secured the only goal Arsenal have is to secure a top-four finish.
With this in mind, the hope will have to be that Aaron Ramsdale is a little sharper with his sweeping this week.
The England international was lucky to escape a potential red card for his late tackle on Jarrod Bowen and has admitted this is a side to his game that he’s still working on as he adapts to life at a top club.
He may be given a bit more security by the return of the defensively outstanding Takehiro Tomiyasu in front of him.
The Japan international is fit and available for this game and will likely start again despite coming off after the hour mark at the London Stadium last week.
Hamstring injuries are tricky to manage and at such a crucial stage of the season, it seems unnecessary to risk him against his former club.
Rob Holding did such a good job deputising last week alongside Gabriel that Arsenal should be fine at the back.
There is a possibility now that Cedric could be flipped out to left-back, particularly after Nuno Tavares‘ defensively suspect performance against West Ham.
The money would have to be on the 22-year-old continuing in the side as Arsenal look to take advantage of Leeds‘ own defensive weaknesses.
Mohamed Elneny has come into his own in the ‘number six‘ role that Thomas Partey was doing so well before his injury, and that should seem his start ahead of Albert Sambi Lokonga, with Martin Odegaard and Granit Xhaka must-starters in front of him.
Eddie Nketiah is a shoo-in to try to exact some revenge on a Leeds side where he struggled to make too much of an impact on loan.
It was telling that even as Arsenal looked to see the game out against West Ham, the 22-year-old stayed on the pitch ahead of Alexandre Lacazette as a clear sign of where the balance of power lies up top.
Bukayo Saka meanwhile is certain to start on the right, leaving the final decision to be made over on the left.
Gabriel Martinelli vs Emile Smith Rowe has been an ongoing battle since December more or less and that doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.
The Brazilian grabbed an assist for Gabriel’s goal last week and that will probably be enough for him to edge it this time out.