Thursday, September 23, 2021

Odegaard handed first Arsenal start as Aubameyang returns to line-up

SoccerNews in English Premier League 14 Feb 2021

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Martin Odegaard was named in Arsenal’s starting line-up for the first time in their Premier League meeting with Leeds United on Sunday, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned to the first XI.

After joining on loan from Real Madrid for the rest of the season in January, Odegaard made his first two appearances as a substitute.

The 22-year-old playmaker was handed his first start in place of Nicolas Pepe as one of five changes from Mikel Arteta compared to the team that started in a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa last weekend.

Having only been used off the bench at Villa Park after returning from a leave of absence last month, Aubameyang was picked to lead the line ahead of Alexandre Lacazette.

David Luiz and Bernd Leno returned from suspension and were brought in for Rob Holding and Mat Ryan respectively, while Dani Ceballos joined Granit Xhaka in midfield with Thomas Partey out injured.

Arsenal are unbeaten in their last eight games against Leeds, a run that dates back to a 3-2 Premier League loss in May 2003.

Since a goalless draw with the Gunners in November, none of Leeds’ 13 top-flight away games have ended in a draw.

The Whites have won seven of those fixtures and were looking to record three straight Premier League wins on their travels for the first time since August 2002.

However, Marcelo Bielsa was without influential midfielder Kalvin Phillips, who is injured.

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