Thursday, January 20
Us football fans are a fickle lot although for me when you analyse the difference between our last two performaces and the one up at Ipswich it is easy to understand why! I say this after digesting both last night's powerful performance and the many reactions since.
We found ourselves hearing from some parties in the build-up to last night that we were definitely going to lose followed by the same people giving the kind of response after overcoming a potentially tricky evening that is invariably made up of statements like, 'it was only Leeds...'!!
They are right, it was 'only' Leeds. The same Leeds that not only put Man Utd out last season and took Spurs to a replay but were within moments of victory at our place last week!
You won't hear me go massively over the top about last night of course, but there is no doubt in my mind it was never going to be a 'gimme'.
Elland Road is definitely the stadium where I have seen our team the most times in FA Cup replays! Fortunately, it is hugely satisfying to also state I have never seen us lose in such a tie.
We all knew it was going to be a big atmosphere last night. The gate was a good 15,000 up on our hosts' average (came to see the Arsenal?) and buoyed by their deserved replay the locals did their best to be that 12th man.
From my point of view they certainly can be pleased with their team's graft, in fact their work-rate was as high as anyone we have faced this season. Without sounding too arrogant however, they can also be grateful for getting the chance to watch a visiting team absolutely play their own off the park.
Looking sharp, incisive and more than up to the task it could and possibly should have been four or 5-0 at half time. I say 'nil' because despite our hosts' goal being a quite superb strike, it was a definite
foul on the Meerkat in the build-up.
The combination of our missed chances and great goalkeeping meant, however, that Leeds somehow went into the break still in the tie.
Until the game-finishing and thoroughly-deserved third we all know one incident can change the direction of any match. Fortunately, apart from one or two crosses our domination continued and RVP's towering header completed the job.
A win that took slightly longer than hoped when the draw was made sees us take on Huddersfield in the Fourth Round.
One game in a somewhat unprecedented period that sees eight of our next nine fixtures taking place at home! If we overcome The Terriers and get drawn at home in the Fifth Round that could become nine in ten!
The first of course sees us get back into Premier League action as we take on Wigan on Saturday afternoon.
I don't know about you but two good wins on the bounce has got me buzzing again.
Come on you reds!
FrankCopyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 20 Jan 2011