Leeds United v Arsenal team news - Four changes as Diego Llorente and Charlie Cresswell join long list of absentees

Robin Koch, Cody Drameh and Joe Gelhardt all start for Leeds United for whom Diego Llorente and Charlie Cresswell have joined the long list of absentees for Saturday evening's Premier League clash against Arsenal at Elland Road.

By Lee Sobot
Saturday, 18th December 2021, 5:01 pm

Koch has not featured since the opening weekend 5-1 defeat at Manchester United, the German international troubled by a pelvic issue which required minor surgery in the USA.

Koch's return had then been delayed by a bout of illness but the German comes straight into the XI as one of four changes to replace Llorente who is not involved.

There are also starts for Gelhardt, Drameh and Mateusz Klich as injured duo Jamie Shackleton and Dan James plus the suspended Junior Firpo drop out of the side.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

Leeds were already without injured quintet Kalvin Phillips, Patrick Bamford, Liam Cooper (all hamstring), Rodrigo (heel) and Pascal Struijk (foot) for Tuesday night's clash at Manchester City in which the Whites fell to a 7-0 defeat, the club's heaviest Premier League loss.

Shackleton was also forced off injured during the contest with an Achilles problem and James then suffered a groin injury in training.

Charlie Cresswell is now also missing, the 19-year-old defender having injured his shoulder according to a national media report.

Fifteen-year-old Archie Gray is among the Whites substitutes, the average age of which is approximately 18 years and eight months.

WELCOME RETURN: Leeds United's German international defender Robin Koch, right, with keeper Illan Meslier, centre, and Mateusz Klich, left, before Saturday evening's Premier League clash against Arsenal at Elland Road. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have named an unchanged side for a fourth game in a row, Emile Smith Rowe having to settle for a place on the bench.

Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is not involved having been stripped of the Gunners captaincy following disciplinary issues.

Goalkeeper Bernd Leno returns to the bench from a recent groin issue but defender Sead Kolasinac is out with an ankle injury, the left back expected back in January.

In the absence of Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette once again captains the Gunners whose XI features former Leeds loanee Ben White.

Leeds United: Meslier, Drameh, Ayling, Koch, Dallas, Forshaw, Klich, Raphinha, Harrison, Roberts, Gelhardt. Subs: Klaesson, Moore, Kenneh, Jenkins, Bate, McCarron, Gray, Summerville, Greenwood.

Arsenal: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Lacazette. Subs: Leno, Holding, Chambers, Tavares, Cedric, Elneny, Pepe, Smith Rowe, Nketiah.

Referee: Andre Marriner.

A message from the Editor:

Leeds has a fantastic story to tell - and the Yorkshire Evening Post has been rooted firmly at the heart of telling the stories of our city since 1890.

We believe in ourselves and hope you believe in us too. We need your support to help ensure we can continue to be at the heart of life in Leeds.

Subscribe to our website and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app.

With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Click here to subscribe.

For more details on our newspaper subscription offers click here.

Thank you Laura Collins