Arsenal v Leeds United – January 06, 2020
Leeds United’s predecessor team, Leeds City, was formed in 1904 and elected to League membership in 1905. At first they found it hard to draw big crowds to Elland Road but their fortunes improved following Herbert Chapman’s arrival. In 1914 Chapman declared; “This city is built to support top-flight football”, but Leeds City were forcibly disbanded and forced to sell off all their players by The Football League in 1919 in response to allegations of illegal payments to players during the First World War.
In 1919, Leeds United was formed and they received an invitation to enter the Midland League, being voted into it on 31 October, taking the place vacated by Leeds City Reserves. Following Leeds City’s disbanding, Yorkshire Amateurs bought their stadium Elland Road. Yorkshire Amateurs offered to make way for the new team under the management of former player Dick Ray. The chairman of Huddersfield Town, Hilton Crowther loaned Leeds United £35,000, to be repaid when Leeds United won promotion to Division One.
Let’s take a look back at our FA Cup history against Leeds United.
March 04, 1950
As a reward for their Fifth Round triumph, Leeds United drew the plum sixth-round tie at Highbury against the mighty Arsenal. The clamour for tickets was unprecedented and an estimated 150 coaches made the trip from West Yorkshire to roar on their heroes.
Leeds, who had one of the worst FA Cup records of any club in the Football League, were up against Arsenal with a fine FA Cup record who sat in fourth position in the First Division compared to Leeds Second Division status. Underdogs Leeds took the Highbury stage by storm, showing no nerves and matching Arsenal stride for stride in a pulsating tie. There was a nasty clash of heads early in the game as Len Browning and Leslie Compton vied for a high ball. It resulted in Compton having to leave the field for ten minutes and have two stitches inserted into his head wound and he bravely played the rest of the game with a blood soaked sponge in his hand. Leeds was unable to take advantage of their temporary numerical superiority as the aging Joe Mercer marshalled his international defence to perfection.
As the fascinating match reached half-time there was a high expectancy of at least a replay at Elland Road. However those hopes were sent crashing in the fifty-second minute as, when the decisive goal came, however, it was scored by Arsenal when Reg Lewis toe-poked in a cross after a brilliant run down the left-wing by Alex Forbes.
Arsenal held out and went on to win the Cup, going on to beat Chelsea in the Semi-Final 2-0 before defeating Liverpool by the same score at Wembley, leaving Leeds to reflect on what might have been.
May 06, 1972
FA Cup Final at Wembley
The 1972 FA Cup Final took place on 6 May 1972 at Wembley Stadium. It was the centenary final (although only the 91st final due to world wars) and the 44th to be played at Wembley.
It was contested between cup holders Arsenal, who had won the Football League and the FA Cup the previous season, and Leeds United, who had won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and finished 2nd in the league the previous season. They had never won the trophy before.
Arsenal planned to make it the third decade for a club to return as Cup-holders and win again for the second successive year, as Newcastle United had done in 1952 and Tottenham Hotspur in 1962.
The Leeds duo Mick Jones and Allan ‘Sniffer’ Clarke combined to produce a goal in the fifty-third minute. Jones sent across a hard, shoulder-high centre and Clarke headed powerfully past Arsenal keeper Geoff Barnett’s left hand from fifteen yards.
A match that often fell below the highest level began badly with a foul by Clarke on Alan Ball in the first five seconds and the first of four bookings — Bob McNab bringing down Peter Lorimer as early as the second minute. Neither side played consistently up to their capabilities, yet both had their moments. Charlie George’s fierce volley cannoned back off the bar for Arsenal, and both Clarke and Lorimer struck the woodwork for Leeds.
Leeds’ jubilation at the end was tempered by a last-minute injury to Mick Jones, who dislocated his elbow and had to be helped up the steps by Norman Hunter to receive his winners’ medal.
February 02, 1983
After a 1-1 draw at Highbury followed by another 1-1 draw at Elland Road the teams returned to Highbury where goals from Woodcock and Rix gave Arsenal a 2-1 victory.
February 16, 1991
Following three draws, two 0-0 games at Highbury and 1-1 at Elland Road, Arsenal finally won this round at the fourth attempt with a 2-1 victory at Elland Road on goals by Dixon and Merson.
February 03, 1993
The Arsenal/ Leeds fascination with FA Cup draws continued in 1993 when they drew 2-2 at Highbury on January 25, 1993. Arsenal prevailed with a 3-2 win at Elland Road with goals from Wright (2) and Smith.
February 04, 1997
Arsenal lost 0-1 at Highbury.
January 04, 2004
This proved to be Arsenal’s biggest FA Cup victory against Leeds when goals from Henry, Edu, Toure and Pires gave us a 4-1 win. (Just writing those names stirs up some great memories)
January 19, 2011
After yet another draw at Highbury Arsenal scored a 3-1 victory at Elland Road with goals from Sagna, Nasri and van Persie (Those names also create a stir – but of a different kind)
January 09. 2012
I don’t think that there could be an Arsenal fan anywhere in the whole wide world that will not be stirred by reliving memories of this game.
Arsene Wenger says Thierry Henry has added to his legendary status at Arsenal with his late winner in the FA Cup tie against Leeds United.
The 34-year-old – back on a two-month loan deal from New York Red Bulls after leaving Arsenal for Barcelona in 2007 – scored 10 minutes after coming on as a substitute to give Arsenal a 1-0 victory and a place in the fourth round against Aston Villa.
Commentary – Thierry Henry scores on Arsenal return
Henry showed his class with a composed 78th-minute strike and the Gunners manager said: “He was already a legend here but he added just a little bit more to the whole story with that goal.
“It was a little bit like a dream. It was a story you would tell young kids if you want to tell them a story about football.
“Unfortunately it doesn’t often happen like that in our game, but it did tonight.”
Henry, who scored his 227th goal for Arsenal, has signed for an initial six-and-a-half-week period which can be extended to eight weeks – but Wenger said no plans had yet been made to extend the stay.
Phil McNulty’s verdict
Here Henry was, 12 minutes from the end of a dour, attritional FA Cup third-round tie with Leeds, ruler of all he surveyed once more with a glorious reminder of what made him arguably the Premier League’s finest player.
“Thierry has seen it all and done it all,” said Wenger. “You could see straight away when he came on he was a presence and that if we could find him he would be dangerous. He is sharp physically.
“In training I have seen that he was sharp and ready to play. With what he has done here, I wouldn’t have put him on the pitch if was not ready.
“That would not have been fair but he is a special player and what is good for the club and the young players is that he is a guy who has done it all but still prepares 100%, is motivated and comes with an immense desire to do well.
|Arsenal V Leeds All Time FA Cup Results|
|06-May-72||H||1||0||1||FA Cup Final|
|03-Feb-93||A||1||3||2||Wright 2, Smith|
|04-Jan-04||A||1||4||1||Henry, Edu, Toure, Pires|
|19-Jan-11||A||1||3||1||Sagna, Nasri, van Persie|
Possible Line-Up (by TotalArsenal):
We may see Guendouzi start instead of Xhaka but that would leave the midfield quite vulnerable, as experience in every department will still be required against high-flying Leeds. Are Holding and Bellerin fit to play? I feel they will be. Up-front, it would be good to see Pepe start in the middle and Nelson, ESR and Martinelli, the latter subject to fitness, start behind him.