By Giuseppe Muro
After Robert Snodgrass gave Leeds the lead at Emirates Stadium, a below-par Arsenal needed a last-minute Cesc Fabregas penalty to avoid an FA Cup Third-Round shock.
But did the Championship side miss their chance to cause an upset or can they go through in front of their own fans? We spoke to Richard Sutcliffe of the Yorkshire Evening Post to get a Leeds perspective on Wednesday’s game.
I think over the 90 minutes it was a fair result. Leeds were leading going into the final minutes but I think the tide was turning with ten minutes to go. I was talking to a few reporters who were down from Leeds and they were saying “if Arsenal get one, they might get another”. It very nearly happened and if it wasn’t for Kasper Schmeichel’s save right at the death, Arsenal would have gone through.
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
The pleasing thing with Leeds is that they are willing to have a go. Going to a side like Arsenal, who pass teams to death, it wasn’t going to suit them to sit back. I spoke Simon Grayson on the Thursday before they went down to Arsenal and he was saying he isn’t the type of manager to go to Arsenal and defend. The first half was all Arsenal but I was really impressed with Leeds in the second half.
CAUSE FOR CONCERN
The fear is that their chance has gone. But I spoke to Schmeichel after the game [against Scunthorpe] on Saturday and he was insisting that isn’t the case, he says the players aren’t thinking like that. He was saying they have run Arsenal close once so why not again? It’s rare to have two really good goes at a Premier League side like Arsenal so we will wait and see. The suspicion is that it could be a bit like Tottenham last year, where Leeds got the draw at White Hart Lane but then were well beaten in the replay up at Elland Road.
Schmeichel got the headlines after the first game, particularly after that save from Denilson late on. But I personally thought Alex Bruce was the stand-out player for Leeds, I thought he was absolutely superb at centre half.
It’s obviously under lights and every ground is a better atmosphere when there are floodlights. Elland Road is going to be pumped up. It will be the first 40,000 crowd this season. It’s going to be a fantastic atmosphere but obviously Arsenal are used to that.