By 3pm – after blagging an early finish from work – I was already in Leeds city centre warming up for the FA Cup replay. It seemed I wasn’t alone either as the city centre bars started to fill up with Whites fans.

Dreadfully obstructed view from NEU

By 5pm, we’d made our way to Spencers where the atmosphere was starting to build ahead of kick-off and Leeds United fans were already starting to dream of another FA Cup shock.

Our final stop was to the, Old White Hart. Our theory was, that the Peacock would be rammed with the bumper attendance expected for Arsenal’s visit so a slight detour may prove productive. As it turned out, the White Hart was equally packed but getting to the bar was a hell of a lot easier.

In the White Hart, we were entertained by an older Leeds United fan who had been a season ticket holder for the past 40 odd years. He was also at Wembley the day Allan Clarke scored to win Leeds their first and only FA Cup to date. His nostalgic tails of following the Revie boys around the country, mixed with his infectious optimism for the current team had us all believing Leeds United may well pull another FA Cup shock off by the time we left for Elland Road.

As it turned out, the night had no real surprises in store for anyone. Arsenal fielded a strong team and dominated big patches of the game. A fifth minute goal from Samir Nasri and a 35th minute second from Bacary Sagna had Leeds fans fearing a rugby score.

Leeds had their chances too in attack, but when forced to defend we were too often guilty of giving Arsenal time and space, allowing them to force their own game on us rather than vice versa.

Bradley Johnson did offer some glimmer of hope though on the 37th minute when he slammed in an absolute screamer from long range. 2-1 and Leeds started to look a little more dangerous in attack.

Leeds never stopped attacking Arsenal when given the chance, and as the scoreline remained 2-1, Arsenal were forced into bringing on the big guns to ensure any late drama was avoided – step forward, Van Persie and Cesc Fabregas.

Within minutes of their arrival, Arsenal killed the game off when Robin van Persie added a third. Leeds, undeterred continued to attack with Kasper Schmeichel switching to an outfield role and the Whites throwing everything they could at Arsenal, but the Gunners were just too strong are deservedly progressed to the fourth round.

The score, whilst a little disappointing at first, was largely irrelevant. The big success of the night was the players never-say-die attitude and the defiant roar of the Leeds United fans that had the national rags worshipping us.

Every Arsenal goal was followed by cheers from the Leeds United faithful of “We are Leeds” or “We all love Leeds…”. ‘WACCOE’ as always proved to be another highlight, but it was the more original songs such as “Who needs Cesc Fabregas, we’ve got Rob Snodgrass” “Are you Walcott in disguise?” and “FA Cup who gives a f**k, we’re super Leeds and we’re going up” that stood out for me.

Overall, the match ended pretty much as we all realistically expected it to. We boosted the clubs funds with a profitable and televised replay and got the chance to show why we belong in the Premier League as the Elland Road crowd roared for 90 minutes straight.

On a personal note, I learnt to remain in the Kop from now onwards. We spent the night in the North East Upper as some fair-weather friends were joining us and we wanted to sit together. Shifting my head from left to right to see what was going on whenever anyone attacked the Kop end was a particular annoyance that I don’t wish to repeat any time soon. Still, the bar queue moved a lot quicker.

14 Responses

  1. Bill

    Hopefully your restricted view didn’t stop you seeing Arshavin’s second half shot that landed in the chip shop on the other side of Elland Road!

  2. Lowfields

    “We definitely need that kind of support in the PL…”

    The support is a given…. it’s the playing staff I’m most concerned about. Arsenal are world class, so comparisons are a little unfair, but on that evidence only four, maybe five of our starting line-up could cut it in the higher division…

    Thank God McCartney is back for Portsmouth… and let’s hope Becchio has recovered, too.

  3. henry vincent lewis

    A great night and I don’t think we could have expected better.
    We are out of the cup, which is OK by me.
    All our players gave 100% so no complaints there.
    We were a bit slack with all the goals, but our defense is improving.
    We missed Lucciano and I hoped we would start with Somma.
    Paynter’s hold up play was not good, but he really needs a goal from somewhere.
    Bradley and Jonny were excellent.
    Max never gave up and Robert had a strong game too.
    Good luck to Arsenal.
    I hope they win something this year!

  4. Christopher Gee

    Bit harsh Lowfields. Arsenal have played two PL games away from home in January, West Ham and Birmingham, and both times they came away 3-0 winners. We’re not ready to cut it with the top 6 in the PL but I’d back us against most of the also rans in the bottom half of the table. Now if we could just get Arshavin on loan….

  5. Tim Campbell

    A couple of points:- firstly it was bound to happen the laws of average dictate that if you shoot often enough at any given target you are eventually going to hit it; nice one bradley. Secondly, the belting out of ‘Marching on Together’ both sent a shiver down the spine and a tear to the eye all at the same time; well done leeds fans. Thirdly, larry did say in interview after the game that he expected a few more players in before the end of the transfer window; so the money generated from the gooner game may have come just at the right time. The more this season progresses the better its looking (nunez 2 goals in 2 games for honduras a brucie bonus)

  6. Lowfields

    Not meaning to be harsh… just realistic. Of course Arsenal were better than us, but I thought we didn’t play the smartest football – too much long ball, too many lone dribbles, idiot yellow cards at the end – and certainly not like the discipline of the first game.

    I thought Snod, Gradel and Kaspar were great, and Johnson gets a pass for the goal, but the rest could only be commended for their workrate.

    To be honest – and I know I’ll get slaughtered for this – I thought Howson was pretty anonymous, and has been since we ended the attacking midfielder role experiment. He might have covered a lot of ground, but there wasn’t much in the way of telling tackles or incisive passes.

    Cue onslaught…!

    • Colin

      @Lowfields I won’t slaughter you but I would like to give you a little poke. I thought Howson was excellent. He worked non stop. But he was always up against it. I thought Howson did more than Snodgrass, though Snodgrass did make a wonderful last ditch tackle. I especially liked Howson when he talked to the ref directly into his face after he gave him a yellow card near the end. I’m sure he said (in an angry tone) “EXCUSE ME….(what have I done to get a yellow card)”. The ref got the message and I just love the Excuse me bit.

  7. Chris from Wakey

    The 3 – 1 final score was probably about right in spite of a ref who turned into a traffic warden in the second half and did his best to help Arsenal wherever possible. We battled against a brilliant footballing team – how many goals could Arsenal score if they didn’t fart about in the box. Nevertheless we grafted and it’s absolutely true to say that we could hold our own in the premiership based on last night. Trouble is – is it dangerous to dream about promotion this time?

  8. Mike

    “You gotta have a dream!, If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna make your dream come true?”

  9. trueyorxman

    Once again Henry Winter gives Leeds fans a great write up in the Telegraph, have a read if you can

  10. Tim Campbell

    Just been on the villa vital fan site and think I just scared them off bradders – l did tell them they would have to throw in delph on loan for the rest of the season plus 500k up front lol

  11. Chris Jones

    Electric atmosphere at ER – wonderful.
    Favourite chants: “1-0, and you still don’t sing (shhh)”, “you’re just a small club from Tottenham” and “we forgot that you were here”


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