Thanks to Andrew Weber from and football travel & culture site for taking part.

Divided loyalties for Watt?

Ryan - Its been nearly 7 years since we last met, and Saturday will be our first ever visit to the Emirates. Were you pleased when you saw Leeds’ name pulled out of the hat to play Arsenal?

Andrew – Pleased would be the wrong word. Content, maybe. I suppose the thing about Leeds is that although they’re not the same team they once were the name still brings about a slightly more fearful response than other clubs at their level. In saying that, as a Premier League club chasing for the title we should win the tie.

Ryan – Surely The Gunners will fancy their chances in the FA Cup this year, what kind of team do you think Arsene Wenger will put out on Saturday?

Andrew – He has said that he will change the team significantly, so you’re going to see lads like Szczesny, Eboue, Gibbs and Denilson rather than the first-teamers. We have a Carling Cup semi-final in midweek too and after the stressful Christmas/New Year program rotation is a necessity. In saying that, I believe we have arguably the strongest squad in the Premier League — in terms of depth when everybody is fit — and the team we start with will be quality.

Ryan – We’ll be bringing 8,500 fans from all over the world and we’ve had some classic games between us over the years. Have you missed us from The Premiership?

Andrew – Yes. Being Australian I have fond memories of Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka running amok and for a long time they were everyone in Australia’s second team.

Ryan – Having not been born for the ’72 FA Cup final, the encounter between us that sticks with me the most is our 3-2 win at Highbury to keep us up. What’s your best memory of games between us?

Andrew – We don’t have the simmering rivalry with you of Manchester United, but Jimmy Floyd ended our title charge one season and Kewell scored a belter to beat us 3-2 another title tilt a few seasons later. On the positive side there was a fantastic 4-1 victory we achieved at Elland Road during The Invincibles season that really summed that Arsenal team up — we were absolutely devastating on the counter and scored some brilliant goals.

Ryan – We all know who your dangermen are, but are there are any exciting youngsters who might get a chance on Saturday that we should be looking out for?

Andrew – Szczesny is the obvious one. He is a goalkeeper that many believe should be first-choice and despite being only 20, he exudes a charisma in the box that only the best possess. We’re all looking forward to seeing Gibbs play too, he’s a player that has the potential to overtake Gael Clichy if he can put a run of games together and avoid injury. Further forward Henri Lansbury might get a run, although I think that’s unlikely.

Ryan – Obviously its our first ever trip to the Emirates, what have you made of the stadium since you moved from Highbury?

Andrew – I think it gets rightly criticised for a lack of atmosphere but in fairness, when you move to a new stadium, it takes some time to establish the culture. Some fans I spoke to in Munich said the same thing about Bayern moving from the Olympiastadion to the Allianz Arena. It’s a beautiful surface, obviously, and the minute we win a trophy it will feel more like home.

Ryan – Are there any players in the current Leeds squad that you think could do a job for Arsenal?

Andrew – Would it be cheating to say Sanchez Watt? Hah. But seriously, that is a really tough question because I’ve not seen Leeds play at all this season. I’ve read that you guys like to play an all-out attacking game and I think that’s good for a team fighting for promotion — just look at the impact Blackpool and West Brom have made — but in terms of individual players I can’t really comment.

Ryan – Where do you expect to finish in the league this season and where do you think Leeds will finish?

Andrew – I’m not the expecting type but I feel, with the squad we have and the mental hurdle of beating another big team achieved against Chelsea a fortnight ago, we have the goods to win the league. United have opened up a healthy lead but the truth is that they’re not playing particularly well and have a tougher run-in than we have. For the first time in however long our injury list is favourable and I believe that will pay dividends as the season rolls on.

As for Leeds, again it’s hard to say, but promotion surely needs to be the goal.

Ryan – Finally, what’s your prediction for the game? I would love a replay at Elland Road but can see us getting beat 2-1.

Andrew – Somehow we’ve kept two clean sheets in a row after 9 games without doing so — but I always expect us to concede. Going forward we should be too strong though but a 3-1 or even a 4-2 wouldn’t surprise me, given the type of game you guys like to play. A lot will come down to whether you have the balls to try it on at The Emirates, or whether you sink back into your shells in the same way as our most recent opponent.

15 Responses

  1. Mike

    I think its more than reasonable to suggest that we have a chance!

    Naturally you concern yourself with the leaky defence so lets do what we did in the first half against portsmouth ..ATTACK and see what happens….. may as well if we sit back we will be taken apart.

    Stick the first goal in and well anything can happen then.

    Im going to enjoy the day whatever – main goal promotion – enjoy

    Come on leeds

  2. Anthony Lewis

    Not sure what to think about this game! Would be nice to beat one of the best teams in the country on their own patch but which one of their big guns (pardon the pun) will they actually put out? We do have a real chance of winning but do we really want to? After what man u did to our league form last year i am not sure but i would not be unhappy with a replay or even winning the tie on the day! MOT!

  3. Christopher Gee

    I’m seeing it as a chance for the younger players to learn about life in the PL before we get there. If we avoid a) a drubbing b) injuries c) red cards I think we can put this one down to experience, and if at any point Fabregas has to get his knees dirty we can call it a result.

  4. Tim Wilsom

    Think we should play our reserve team with two strikers and kick lumps out of em ;)

  5. Teeth

    I’m afraid I think we will get hammered. The passing accuracy and foot trickery the arse posses will see our clumsy defenders concede free kicks and penalties aplenty. Enjoy the day and concentrate on promotion.


  6. W

    Sad to say but it is Hard to see anything other than a six nil hammering as our midfield and defence are ripped apart by a fluent Arsenal.

    The pace of the @rse will be far too much for our fullbacks.

    God help Parker if he plays – one pass by Cardiff beat him far too easily for their winning goal. Today could be a “watch beind the sofa” affair.

  7. Tim Wilsom

    Larry breaks the mold and stacks the defence after the goal. Bad move, may as well have put down the welcome mat.

  8. Colin

    @ryanlufc The Arsenal fan you spoke to said “A lot will come down to whether you have the balls to try it on at The Emirates, or whether you sink back into your shells in the same way as our most recent opponent.”

    Could you ask the Arsenal fan that you spoke to, whether they will have the balls to try it on at Elland Road or whether they will shit their pants like they did when Gradel ran into their box and got taken out.

  9. Andrew Weber

    @ colin – Seeing as though you’ve asked the question and I am that Arsenal fan, I’ll answer it.

    You did have the balls to have a go at The Emirates and full credit to you. We were fairly wasteful though and the stats reflect that we were probably more unfortunate than you not to win the game. Time-wise we may have been lucky but when you have that many chances usually one of them goes in and Cesc had the balls to make the decision contribution.

    It sounds to me from your tone like you’re trying to pick a fight, which is a shame, because your team played well and there’s no need for it.

    • Colin

      Not trying to pick a fight just responding to your “whether Leeds have the balls” comment. You should have expected a comment coming back your way have that statement! If you’d watched Leeds or read the reports of our matches, or checked the stats that Leeds were one of the highest goalscoring teams in England, or watched the Man Utd game this time last year, or even listened to Ferguson’s recent comments that he was sick for days after the Leeds match and that he underestimated Leeds, then you’d have known that Leeds had the balls.

      Leeds may not be the greatest team, but they always go for it. They’ve got balls alright.

      You’re right – Leeds did play well. Having lots of chances counts for nothing, as you know from Man City.

      You said Arsenal were wasteful but I wouldn’t be too hard on Arsenal, I think they played pretty well also. I think with a bit of work you could give us a game at Elland Road.

      I bet Cesc isn’t on the bench for that one.

  10. TheReaper08

    @Andrew Weber It’s only a bit of bravado, colin is like that.

    I suspect the adrenalin was still surging, that plus the fact he lost £50 on the game !

    Good game all in all and good luck to Arsenal (except the replay) for the rest of the season.

  11. TheReaper08

    @colin Thanks for noticing, I have tried over the weeks and months to demonstrate to you all that I am merely the peace keeper round here ;)


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