The Magic of the F.A. Cup

Leeds United have once again have another mouth watering FA Cup 3rd round  replay tie against Arsenal at Elland Road tonight. The Mighty Whites  famously beat Arsenal 1-0 in the Centenary FA Cup Final back in 1972 with Leeds legend Alan Clarke heading home a 53 minute winner. 100,000 fans packed into Wembley to witness Leeds win their only FA Cup to date.

The match saw two teams on top of their game, the previous season they had finished first and second respectively in the league. Arsenal had previously won the League and Cup double and Leeds United picked up the old Inter Cities Fair Cup and coming second only to Arsenal in the league.

Over the years this match-up has been picked out the bag on a few occasions, one of the most famous encounters was  in 1990-1991 season drawn together in the fourth round of the cup at Highbury, it took four games to find a winner as back then penalty shoot outs were not used to decide a tie. The first game finished 0-0 at Highbury, then 1-1 at Elland Road, the second game at Highbury ended all square at 0-0. The third replay at Elland Road finally found a winner to separate the two teams. Arsenal’s 2-1 victory at Elland Road was significant as it forced the FA to reconsider how Cup replays were decided.

Over the two years Simon Grayson has been the manager at Leeds United they have been fortunate to find themselves paired with some big names in cup competitions. In the League Cup they were narrowly beaten 1-0 at home to Liverpool. Jermaine Beckford scored the winner as they famously beat Manchester United 1-0 away at Old Trafford, then coming close to knocking Tottenham Hotspur out in the 4th Round, the run then ended in the replay at Elland Road beaten 3-1 by Harry Redknapp’s side. Leeds will go into this 3rdround draw with no fear and embrace the opportunity to play what is an impressive and dangerous Arsenal team.