Jesse Marsch says Pascal Struijk will start for Leeds United against Arsenal on Sunday despite the return of Junio Firpo from injury, when speaking to Friday’s pre-Arsenal press conference – as broadcasted by the club’s YouTube.

Leeds play host to Premier League leaders Arsenal, who will have just returned from Norway. The Gunners beat Bodo/Glimt in the Europa League to win 1-0, thanks to Bukayo Saka’s winner. Leeds, though, are winless in five.

In what is probably our toughest test of the season, we go up against a side that have won 12 of 13 games in all competitions this season. Firpo was seen in this week’s pre-Arsenal training video. But Marsch says he will not start.

Instead, the £13million left-back will have to watch from the sidelines. Marsch confirms that Struijk will continue on the left side of the defence, even though he is not naturally a left-back. Marsch says Struijk is in excellent form.

Leeds United v Crystal Palace - Pre-Season friendly
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“Pascal will start, he’s playing at such a high level. We need to get Junior fit and healthy and back to 100%, but he is still really important. We have a three-game week ahead and we will need minutes from him. But he’s ready.”

Marsch: Struijk will start for Leeds against Arsenal despite Firpo return

It is only fair. Struijk has been one of our best players this season, without a doubt. Tyler Adams, Robin Koch, Brenden Aaronson and even Jack Harrison and Luis Sinisterra have been superb. But so has Struijk.

Utter consistency, for a player in an unfavoured position. He has not had a bad game so far, despite his natural position being in the middle of the defence. He has been willing to get forward, but defensively sound, too.

Struijk – who was included in the preliminary Netherlands squad ahead of the last round of fixtures – deserves to start. But the pressure is on him now to keep the starting spot, with Firpo back from injury.

Crystal Palace v Leeds United - Premier League
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