Leeds United have drawn Arsenal in the third round of the FA Cup.
Leeds United will be firmly focusing on their Championship promotion campaign, but they have a juicy FA Cup tie to look forward to.
The Whites are going well in the Championship, and look to be favourites for automatic promotion alongside West Bromwich Albion, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side having a great chance of a Premier League return.
Still, facing Arsenal in the FA Cup in January will provide Leeds with a great test, enabling Bielsa and co to have a real crack at a top Premier League side.
Many players will be looking forward to the game, but it may mean that much more to Leeds defender Luke Ayling, who will be making a return to the Emirates Stadium.
Ayling, 28, is a key player for Leeds, carving out a strong Championship career for himself having come up through the Arsenal ranks to start his time in the game.
The defender joined Arsenal as a 10-year-old, and was part of the side that won the Premier Academy League and the FA Youth Cup in 2009, as pictured below, with Ayling on the left.
None of the players from that cup-winning side are still at Arsenal, but this is a chance for Ayling to prove himself against the club that let him go in 2010 to Yeovil Town.
Ayling will surely want to show the Gunners what a talented player he really is, and dumping his former club out of the FA Cup at the first time of asking would be very sweet for him.
As a boyhood Chelsea fan, Ayling would no doubt love to beat Arsenal anyway, but add in his history with the Gunners, having spent almost 10 years of his life with the North London side, and this game may well mean the most to Ayling – especially as Eddie Nketiah can’t face his parent club.