Fa-CupMichael Brown valiantly captained Leeds to victory over his former club Tottenham Hotspur. The fourth round win sees Leeds through to the last 16 of the FA Cup, and is the third time this season that Premier League opposition have left Elland Road empty handed.

In stark contrast to recent league form, Warnock’s men were outstanding throughout. Tasked with shackling former Leeds favourite Aaron Lennon and Welsh superstar Gareth Bale, both Aidy White and Sam Byram admirably showcased the talent of the Leeds academy set up. Byram in particular, fresh from signing a new contract, was superb beyond his tender years and constantly ended promising Spurs’ attacks with his faultless sense of positioning.

Leeds top scorer Luciano Becchio was absent from the squad entirely, with speculation continuing over his future following his transfer request. On this evidence, he may not be missed as much as many have feared. Ross McCormack and El Hadji-Diouf were paired together in attack, removing the lure of hoof ball tactics.

The rest of the team sheet saw favoured cup goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown retain his place, Lee Peltier and Tom Lees continue to build their defensive partnership, and Brown joined in midfield by Paul Green, Rodolph Austin and the frequently-if-perhaps-unfairly maligned Luke Varney.

Varney’s selection did seem incongruous, given that Michael Tonge and David Norris were left to warm the bench, but the decision would be vindicated early on in the first half. With just fifteen minutes gone, Varney raced clear and finished confidently past Brad Friedel in the visiting goal.

Up until the opening goal, Andre Villas-Boas’ men had settled into an attractive passing rhythm, which continued after Varney’s strike.

With Emmanuel Adebayor at the African Cup of Nations and Jermaine Defoe inexplicably left at home, the visitors were without a recognised striker and Clint Dempsey attempted to lead the line. A team of midfielders is full of passing but lacks cutting edge, and Jamie Ashdown was rarely threatened in the first half an hour excluding the occasional long range shot.

Despite Spurs’ passing quality, Leeds were not being outplayed by their big name adversaries, frequently breaking up the play and launching passing moves of their own. Shortly after his opener, Varney saw another chance come and go as he fired over the crossbar.

Spurs best chance of the half came as Bale skilfully tricked his was into the penalty area and tried to slide the ball beyond Ashdown, who was equal to the effort.

A half time lead could have looked even better had Friedel not reacted well to thwart McCormack when through on goal.

In their last match against Premier League opposition, Leeds saw a 1-0 half time lead turn into a 1-5 defeat. Any fears of a repeat were smashed soon after the break as Diouf played in McCormack, who turned Steven Caulker and slammed the ball into the top corner with a sublime left foot strike. Cue delirium from the 30,000 strong crowd.

The Scotsman looked sharp and comfortable all afternoon, clearly revelling in a striking role following recent poor outings on the left hand side of midfield.

Dempsey should have responded immediately, but skewed wide of an open goal following good work from Lennon. However, just before the hour mark Dempsey did manage to halve the deficit as he headed home a Bale cross from the left.

AVB threw on a trio of substitutes as Spurs desperately chased the game, but Leeds continued to hold them at arm’s length. Repeated flying attacks from Lennon, Bale and co were ended by well-timed tackles from Byram, Peltier, Brown and Varney (having his best match in a Leeds shirt).

McCormack could have added a third, but was frustrated by Friedel.

Spurs poured forward in numbers and finally fashioned their best chance of the match, but Lee Peltier heroically lunged into a last ditch challenge to deny substitute Jonathan Obika a shot on goal.

Four minutes of stoppage time were punctuated by Warnock substitutions as Leeds looked to see time out. One final opportunity arose as Brown hacked down Scott Parker, but the resulting free kick evaded the Spurs attack (including Friedel who had joined the fray in the Leeds penalty box) and the whistle was blown.

On today’s showing, Leeds can beat any team in this country. When faced with the ‘underdog’ tag, the team shines. Thankfully, next week’s visitors at Elland Road are league leaders Cardiff City – let’s hope the underdog vigour translates into league matches.

Many thanks to those who entered my ‘predict the score’ competition on Twitter. The best guess came from Joe Gillett (@lufcgillett) who correctly foresaw a 2-1 victory and a McCormack goal. Send your predictions for the next home match to me at @Matt_K_Burton.

  • henrymouni

    Excellent!

    Michael Brown gave a captain’s performance, and he had great support from the lads!

    Where were they all at Barnsley?

    I suppose that is the mixed feelings we all have.

    It should mean a new beginning, but judging by previous cup wins, it means nothing at all.

    NW implied, after the match that the team had been playing poorly because of Luciano!

    Typical Leeds lie, to justify the sale of the fans favourite.

    • Ron

      It actually embarrasses the squad when one players’ negotiations can apparently distract them all. Ronaldo and Messi could distract, not our beloved Luciano however with all due respect. Everyone knew this bid was coming and it was to be expected given the season he’s had, therefore I for one will expect to see NW sign someone that he’s identified with all this in mind. If he claims it’s a tricky window, no clubs want to let their players go etc, all that tells me is that we are not spending (again), even with Becchio money incoming.

      • henrymouni

        Hi Ron.
        I listened to NW this morning on Talksport.
        He said he did NOT have a striker lined up, which is disappointing but not surprising.
        We were supposed to be looking for a back up front man, for weeks now – I thought. Since we let Andy Gray go.

        NW – 3 weeks ago “I’ll be very disappointed if we don’t sign 3 or 4 players before the window shuts”.
        2 weeks ago it was 2 or 3 players.
        Last week on LUTV = “I’ll be very disappointed if we don’t sign ANYBODY before the window closes”!!

        Do we sense a pattern here?? LOL

        • Ron

          It is so obvious that I don’t want to acknowledge it. If I do, I fear I am admitting that I am insane by expecting a different outcome despite the same things happening. The Championship is a torture chamber and I for one wanted to be off the stretching table by May. Can we take another year of this shite?

  • spellz

    Well done today lads really deserved to win, solid effort, Byram and diouffy were electric today and a great finish from McCormack, does anyone know who was M.O.M?

    Man City Away should be a great match whatever happens we have had some decent cup runs this season testement to how hard we worked today, M.O.T

  • Andy

    We all dream of a team of Michael Browns

  • igiveup

    Can someone please explain why Dioufy seemed to be the only player to acknowledge the crowd at the end of the game, it’s really sticking in my throat. The others couldn’t wait to get off the park

  • igiveup

    and why no public support for Becchio from the fans? Cos he wants a pay rise for 5 years great service, too keep at the club he loves, & knowing that his goals this season are keeping us out of the relegation zone. What a set of twats Leeds supporters have become if we cant even support one of our own. Good luck Luciano, wherever you lay your hat

    • henrymouni

      Well said!

    • At the beginning of the first half a song was sung for becchio

    • kev raunds

      Agree,one of the better players over the years

    • TSS

      He’s just had a payrise not long back, he’s already highest paid player at the club. Nevertheless, wasn’t I defending him just the other day? Yes. Yes I was.

      • henrymouni

        Without knowing what that pay rise was, or what the new offer was, it is ridiculous to make a judgement.
        We know we are poor payers, and have been outbid by many clubs in our League.
        We are past masters at forcing people out when an offer of money comes in.
        Remember Adam Clayton? Not a lot of money but enough for us to force him out.
        Just one of many.
        This morning on Talksport they reported that NW was sitting down, THIS WEEK, with GFH, to discuss transfers!!!
        WHAT!!!
        NW will be on Talksport this morning, so let us see!!

        • mrbigwheels

          Haven’t caught the Talksport Henri but I doubt NW is going to expand on what he’s already said.

          The Club and its owners have offered an upgraded contract to Becchio, they want to keep him, Becchio apparently wants to stay at Leeds, the upgrade has been rejected by Becchio and his advisors… This leaves the club in the position of keeping their player unless a bid for him to their valuation is received. I personally accept the personal circumstances of Becchio but… a disparity of circa £14k/week cannot be met by the Club. A truly amazing figure. Clayton seemed to assume his worth at circa £18k, he moved on. These two players are surely guilty of ‘going for it’ and the Club have no alternative but to consider all their options not the singular retention at all costs route.

          It is my view that Warnocks plan was always to have Becchio in the box, hoof it up, he may score when it lands on his head and McC as the impact off the bench. This broadly hasn’t worked with Ross being injured and only now after a return to fitness, some dire football, fans in vocal revolt and Becchio being off the pitch…. a ‘play it on the floor’ via EHD and McC, a more recent successful matchday experience for all… been achieved
          Timing is everything and I think Becchios timing is all wrong in respect to his personal objectives but certainly if he leaves… the Club may well see a tremendous benefit in the management, success and final positioning of the team in the league. We attack more at home and have now to move up the field in away matches and Becchios departure may well enhance our playing style to achieve that.

          As for the Club continuing to hold the accolade of being masters of forcing people out when an offer of money comes in, then its my view, that will not continue and may not have been totally true with some players in the past.

          This week will see Mr Bs departure… I’m sure, but whatever happens, now that Gfhc have finally found the time this week to deal with Warnocks plans, (yes they have been labelled slightly clueless but at least ‘stuff’ is now happening)… perhaps a party should be planned to celebrate the new ambition being shown. As is said, ‘a week is a long time in football’.

          The Club, the Team, the Support are the only mainline priorities… surely… not individual player demands brought up in the January Transfer Window.

          .

          • henrymouni

            “now that Gfhc have finally found the time this week to deal with Warnocks plans, (yes they have been labelled slightly clueless but at least ‘stuff’ is now happening)… perhaps a party should be planned to celebrate the new ambition being shown. As is said, ‘a week is a long time in football’.

            It is appalling to think that they have waited until this week (when it is too late to do much) to sit down.
            GFH have been attending home games and have had lots of opportunities to talk to NW, and vice versa.

            What do they need to discuss??

            They have had NW’s list of players for weeks.

            I see no reason to be optimistic about GFH.

            You mention salaries demanded by Clayton and Becchio. This is just guesswork and sounds completely wrong.
            I don’t believe Huddersfield could pay higher wages than us.
            Bates has always put his balance sheet before the needs of the team. He is still doing it.

          • Irving08

            The final sentence embodies one of the precepts of the the club going forward. There are others, also rooted in the period of of our greatness, that need to be recalled. There is a ‘Leeds way’ and it is the way forward for the club. Has anyone sent the GFHCers a reading list, I wonder ?

    • Irving09

      If Luciano was (probably) going against his will then there would be a point to supporting him. If appreciation for past services, as opposed to support, is what you have in mind, then yes, it would be good to have an opportunity to express it. Did yesterday present such an opportunity ? If we had not gone ahead so quickly to a good Varney goal, or if a bunch of easy chances had been missed, I am sure Becchio’s name would have been sung by regular supporters. At the start of the game, with the stadium full of anticipation, our minds were naturally focussed on the matter in hand and, for a riveting 90 minutes, remained so. It seems unfair to lambast fans for that.

  • Matthew

    We can’t beat Barnsley away from home but beat Spurs? The fuck?

    Can’t we pretend that every game is a Cup game away from home so that form can be replicated and we can climb up the league? Lol

    • Matthew

      And just to clarify I was speaking about how dodgy our form is in the league away from home, though our home form is good as evident against Spurs today, Its just odd that we lose to crap sides away from home but beat better ones at home =/

      • Irving08

        If we only played teams that, like Spurs, defend with a dangerously high line, who knows, we might win every game, away as well as at home ?!

  • normansnutz

    let him go! i dont like to see flamingo land plastered all round our cathredal, the team down the road were sponsered by them and look what happened(ok they beat villa)still in the shit though, who are gfh?

  • normansnutz

    and they sponsered the shi at brammall lane, i,m wary, very wary, i think mccabe is poking in his nose in at our place, have think about it, flamingoland???

  • Irving08

    Can we not be rancorous, just for once, after a cracking match and a great win ?

    • henrymouni

      It was a fantastic effort Irv, and full credit to the team.
      The ranker is because of everything else going on with us.
      Also, the fact that our team can get up for certain games only.
      If we lose to Cardiff it will be back to normal.
      Look at Oldham playing terrible in the 3rd division, and yet they beat Liverpool.
      Our result lifted me! But….

      • Irving08

        See longer comment above, Henri: it expands my thought.

  • NottsWhite

    On the positive, GFH may look at the attendance (and the revenue generated) and spur them on to invest in the window to achieve this week in and week out. On the negative (and more likely) they will kid themselves that the squad is strong enough, afterall we have just beaten Spurs and without Becchio (justification for sale)

  • Ron

    Paul Green seems to be outstanding each time he plays, yet he hasn’t often made the starting line-up. Let’s hope this changes. Brown put in an honest shift, yet make no bones about it, he nearly lost us the lead when he foolishly hacked down Parker who had nowhere to go in the last minute of play. Brown remains a huge liability for me and I’d happily trade him for a young kid who doesn’t aim to upset people. Two excellent finishes yesterday.

  • henrymouni

    The independent:-

    “Leeds manager Neil Warnock will sit down with representatives of the club’s new owners this week to finalise plans to strengthen his squad after his side pulled off another FA Cup upset by beating Tottenham 2-1.

    Warnock is under increasing pressure to give Leeds’ npower Championship play-off chances a boost with the expected departure of leading goalscorer Luciano Becchio before Thursday night’s transfer deadline set to leave him short of strikers and upset fans”.

    No rush Neil – you’ve got all week!

    “..and upset the fans” …. a bit late to worry about that!

  • Tyler75

    Excellent result yesterday, teriffic team performance and we played some decent football – what a difference with Ross up top and playing to his strengths.
    Michael Brown was outstanding, tackled anything that moved ( and a lot that didn’t !) and had an inspirational, Captain’s, performance of a type not seen at ER for a long time. Not only did he outshine two England players in central midfield he also got to show what a good passer of the ball he is. That said I doubt he can raise his game to that level twice in a week and I expect Barclay and/or Tonge will be back against Cardiff .
    Also a word for the much maligned Peltier, superb alongside Lees and looks a much better player without the Captain’s armband

  • PMH

    Beat Spurs but get beaten by Barnsley. There is the clear evidence that we should be playing in the Premier League ;-) From USA, I managed to watch the game on TV rather than stealing it from the internet, and it was very entertaining. Apart from the result, there are positive signs. One is that NW is willing to try different combinations and tactics. He may be old but is not a stick in the mud. During the game it struck me that the lower league teams were all doing well against the top tier. How? Aggressive defending high up the pitch coupled with the more direct approach to goal. No tooling around in midfield with an elegant passing game. There are no style points in football. It is funny how the premier league teams seem to give each other lots of room. Why let them relax and strut?

    • Snowjoke

      “Why let them relax and strut?” Nail on the head, Mate. And no finer exponent of this, I reckon, than one Alan Smith. Picking his moment and suddenly bearing down on an unwary keeper, tooling around on the edge of the box with the ball on his wrong foot. Very easily spooked, the big blokes in the gloves, and often left with their nerves jangling for the rest of the match. Smiffy had it off to a fine art. And how it used to stoke up the ER crowd.

      • Snowjoke

        Just expanding on my previous comment, what really does concern me is the insidious outlawing of aggressive but, otherwise, perfectly legitimate contact. For me, the old-fashioned “crunching tackle”, as a comradely “how do” to your opposite number, has always been a spectacle of the game to be relished. A Big Equaliser when, for example, Fancy Dan Spurs come north expecting to end our interest in t’ Cup with an exhibition of strolling, carpet-slipper football, PL style. Wrong. Two exquisite goals saw to that. But mainly (let’s be honest) we won because we pressed and harrassed, denied time, space and breath and basically,stayed in their faces for the full 94 minutes. All those negative, destructive jobs that, by definition, make up the defender’s role. Thing is, there are already clear signs that the law-makers are creeping towards outlawing “unnecessary roughness in the tackle”. Whatever next? “Malice aforethought”, maybe? (“Brownie – you’re nicked!”). But little wonder, as the bias grows, that we’re seeing all those ridiculous arse-over-tit tumbles by forwards in the penalty area. And so much sly shirt-tugging and obstruction by defenders who’ve decided these are safer options than a good, honest tackle. Is it too late to get some defenders on the Governing Bodies?