Thanks to Jamie Sanderson from the Young Guns Blog for joining us. He can also be found on twitter: @YoungGunsBlog

Ryan – Hi Jamie, thanks for joining us, It’s been just over a week since the 1-1 draw at The Emirates, what was your verdict on that game?

Jamie – It was a very rough ride, and we’re lucky to still be in the tie. Leeds showed all the qualities the so called “under dogs” need against top sides. They had spirit, energy, tenacity and most importantly, they believed they could win. Arsenal were not fully at the races, and although we had a number of chances to win the game before the penalty, we got a lucky break after some sustained pressure and got a life line. It sets the tie up for a fantastic second leg, though.

Ryan – What did you make of the travelling army that turned up to watch Leeds?

Jamie – “Very impressive. I’m a follower of the lower leagues in general, and for Leeds to keep attracting the big crowds when they had tougher times is certainly testament to the strong, deep rooted passion the followers have. They showed that again at the Emirates, and frankly embarrassed our ever frustrated home support. That pocket in the corner boosted the team no doubt, so I’m not looking forward to seeing how much of a boost it will give the players when most of the ground are like that.

Ryan – After the game, Theo Walcott controversially came out and admitted that he had dived for the penalty that the ref changed his mind over. What was your take on this? Do you respect him for admitting him it, or are you disappointed that he dived in the first place?

Jamie – Myself and Arsenal fans in general found it baffling. There wasn’t any reason to come out and say it. In the immediate after math we wandered whether he’d do more damage being honest than if he’d kept quiet, but he won a penalty for us at the weekend, without diving, so it’s all blown over now. I respect his honesty, but the whole thing is just totally bizzare.

Ryan – What was your opinion of the Leeds performance on the day? Were there any players that caught your eye?

Jamie – The biggest compliment I can pay to Leeds is that they didn’t look out of place at the Emirates. We’ve played sides in the Champions League and upper echelons of the Premier League who haven’t looked as good as Leeds did. Not just in terms of spirit and work rate, but genuine quality. Watt and Gradel both have Arsenal connections and looked like they had a point to prove. They were brilliant and of course the centre halves, who look like astute buys. Unfair to pick out certain players, because it was very much a team performance.

Ryan – Being the writer of the Young Guns blog, you’ll know all about Arsenal’s up and coming talent. Who should we be looking out for in the future? Are there any youngsters that might make an appearance on Wednesday night?

Jamie – There are a number of players you’ll notice have made in roads into the Championship and have come up against Leeds before. Some you’ll probably play against next season if you don’t win promotion. We’ve two very exciting boys called Chuks Aneke and Benik Afobe. Both very exciting talents who we think highly of. Benik is 17 and on loan with Huddersfield. He’s already scored goals in the FA Cup and we’re hopeful he’ll kick on.

Arsenal are taking the FA Cup very seriously, so not too many youngsters. Ignasi Miquel our Reserve team captain was on the bench at the Emirates, but he’s not ready for first-team action yet. Expect a first team line up all the way. This game means a lot to Arsenal.

Ryan – On the same subject, I imagine you’ll be familiar with Sanchez Watt. What did you think of his performance last week? Do you think he has a future with Arsenal?

Jamie – Sanchez is a great kid with a fantastic attitude. I’ve followed him since he was 15, when Barcelona tried to buy him from Arsenal. He’s always been a player who worked hard but never seemed to get the luck that everybody else did. He picked up injuries at the wrong time or just missed out on chances. He was good in patches at the Emirates, but superb against Scunthorpe at the weekend. He’s clearly on his way back after his head and leg problems, so it will be interested to see just what shape he’s in come Wednesday.

I think its fair to say he’s a way off the first-team at Arsenal for the moment. The spell at Leeds has been good for him but he’s not really an Arsenal style midfielder. If Leeds really wanted him, I’m sure Arsene Wenger would allow him to leave.

Ryan – What kind of team do you think Arsene Wenger will put out on Wednesday night?

Jamie – A very strong one. We’ve arguably got the strongest squad in the Premier League on paper. Our injury problems of recent years have now stopped, so we’ve got more options. Players like Chamakh, Bendtner, Vela, Ramsey and Gibbs have been limited to fringe roles in recent weeks, and they’re all full internationals. I’d expect a mixture of those players, plus the normal first team players. A very similar team to the one that played at the Emirates.

Ryan – Finally, what your prediction for the game? Ever the optimist, I’m going for a Leeds win on penalties!

Jamie – I think it’s going to very tight. There are few better examples of how much fans can boost a team than Leeds, their support is fabulous. I’d expect it to be a replica of the game at the Emirates, with either side have a couple of chances at key times in the game. It’s all about who takes them, and I fancy Arsenal due to the more potent fire power.

Ryan – Thanks for taking part, enjoy the game!

Jamie – Cheers Guys, and good luck.

  • Dje

    Fair appraisal (why are opposing fans so even-handed in print, so unreasonably partisan in the flesh?).

    All the talk today is of Wenger playing another spread of second stringers with sparkles of superstars here and there. Oh well, very reasonable of Wenger to leave out his pacy forwards against our slowish defenders; must be some nostalgia about the spirit of Fair Play in there.

    • Craig

      @djedjedje

      I think you’ll find that, in general, the more partisan a supporter is the fewer words he can string together.

  • Matt BB

    Yes, and I’m just waiting for some of those second stringers to mysteriously get injured today and for Fabregas and walcott to appear in the starting line up..

    Didnt know Gradel had Arsenal Pedigree, thought he came through the ranks at Leicester?

  • goonerjim

    Interesting article.

    Gradel doesnt have any links to arsenal though as far as Im aware – Unless it was through the Arsenal academy in Senegal?

  • saltburnwhite

    Hi TSS. Good post as usual .
    However Bradley Johnson has come out today and said again he wants to stay.
    I for one , actually can see the potential BJ has in the centre of the park , hes a real powerhouse , and loves a tackle , he really could actually be the next batty for leeds as long as he curbs his banana feet and stops shooting so much . he is now showing the potential he had when leeds bought him , whether its the contract wrangle or just getting better with age , i thibk bradley is worth a contract , i think it would be a big mistake to let him go on a free . since graysons moved him to the middle hes been a revelation.
    How about doing a poll on whether people think he should get the contract or whether we are better shot of him?

  • Dje

    @saltburnwhite

    I agree about Johnson and it’d be interesting to see the poll result.

    What gets me is that Bates is holding out for £500,000 for Johnson. Who is he going to get to replace him for £500,000? I’m sure Darren Pratley would cost us considerably more, and there’s no guarantee he’d fit in so well with the current squad as a player already here. Anyway, certainly not someone of Premiership quality for that sort of money.

    Alternatively we could redistribute that £500,000 as say an extra £5,000 per week for an extra 2 years on-top of what we are currently offering Johnson and him and his agent are rejecting. Even if we get promoted this season and feel we need a better calibre of central midfielder than Johnson, at least we’d be able to cash in on him in the transfer market where I’d bet we’d get more than £500,000 for him at that point owing to the length of contract that still remained.

    All very frustrating.

  • saltburnwhite

    my sentiments exactly @djeddjedeeeeeeeeee

  • Teeth

    I agree about Johnson- I have written on this a couple of weeks ago and do feel he has matured a lot-less wild shooting and reckless tackles- don’t think he even been booked recently but I may be wrong on that.
    Give the lad another contract I say and see he value increase if we go up!

  • Teeth

    Oh I meant to say good interview with jamie sanderson too. It’s true to say though we all talk a different game in the company of a large group of fans

  • Tim Campbell

    Ramon Nunez strikes again for honduras!! C’mon larry give the lad a proper chance when he gets back