Its not your average cup clash…

Bradford City shocked Arsenal in last weeks quarter-final clash, and you can understand why Leeds fans will look at that for inspiration tonight.

Although this game certainly has a different feel to it. Fierce rivalry doesn’t quite cut it. Littered throughout the 60s and 70s, were a few clashed that would be remembered for decades to come.

You only have to look back on the 1970 FA Cup final for an example. Chelsea triumphed 2-1 in the replay, and 90s referee David Elleray was quoted to have said he would have issued ’20 yellow cards, and 6 red cards’ over the two games, whilst Scottish writer Hugh McIlvanney said that “at times it appeared that Mr Jennings would give a free kick only on production of a death certificate”

Now tonights clash is certainly not going to be as feisty as that, but expect the Elland Road crowd to be. The ‘Yorkshire Grit versus flash Cockney’ billing certainly has some evidence to it, although I think Yorkshire Git may well be more appropriate with the likes of Diouf and Warnock gracing Elland Road, whereas hopefully all our flash-ness  will be provided on the pitch by our stars.

A clash back in the 02/03 season will wet the mouths of the neutrals, a certain Frank Lampard brace stole the game, and a similar game to that, would be ideal for the occasion and the Blues fans. Although many would prefer it to be a tad easier than that..

Eight years this rivalry has been simmering, but the dugouts have clashed as recently as 2007. Warnock had his toys well out of his pram when the then Liverpool boss Benitez named a weakened side against Fulham, a game which consequently led to Warnock’s Sheffield United side getting relegated, although the real reason may well be down to the ineptness off his Blades squad, or the illegal pursuits of West Ham United.

A look at the stats just makes the clash even more mouthwatering. Chelsea may well have a superior squad, and nine of their last eleven away clashes in the League Cup, but you add in the fact we only arrived back in England from Japan yesterday, and you begin to wonder whether there may be further cracks in the season for us.

Recent form makes good reading for Leeds fans. Four wins from five, and add home wins against both Everton and Southampton already in this competition so far, and it seems a recipe for disaster for us at Elland Road tonight.

If the game was played on paper tomorrow, I think even the paper would refuse to land on either side, going on both form and squads, although if we play to our potential, which I think we have yet to do under Benitez, then we should comfortably walk into the last four of the competition.

Three trophies have already passed us by this season, and you can bet nobody will be thinking about a fourth passing by. Still, ill let you lot decide whether we will triumph tonight, I certainly hope so, but it will definitely be a clash worthy of a quarter-final.

In the meantime, here is that beautiful 3-2 victory in video from 02/03. Can we borrow Eidur back for a game or two?

2002/03 PL25_Chelsea 3 – 2 Leeds Utd by chelseafcvideos


By Brad Smith

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