5 times Leeds rattled Premier League giants in the cup

They've been known to upset a few of the big boys


Since dropping out of the Premier League in 2004, Leeds United have faced a real struggle to return to the top table.

The Yorkshire club have cycled through a frankly terrifying 18 managers, earned one relegation, one promotion and a lot of drama.

They have also taken on Premier League opposition on a fair few occasions over that period, including one or two very famous fixtures. As they prepare to take on Arsenal in the third round of the 2019-20 FA Cup, we’ve taken a look at some highlights.

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Man Utd 0-1 Leeds, 2009-10 FA Cup

Leeds kicked off 2010 in the third tier, having fallen short in the play-offs in the previous season, but were well on their way to promotion when Manchester United provided a distraction in the FA Cup.

The Red Devils put out a strong side, with Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov among those starting at Old Trafford, but goalkeeper Casper Ankergren and centre-backs Richard Naylor and Patrick Kisnorbo kept them at bay.

Jermaine Beckford gave the visitors a first-half lead, latching on to a long ball and sliding the ball past Tomasz Kuszczak, and that was enough for a famous victory.

Tottenham 2-2 Leeds, 2009-10 FA Cup

Beckford was the main man again in the very next round, equalising early in the second half after Peter Crouch had put Spurs ahead just before the break.

Roman Pavlyuchenko looked to have made things safe for the Londoners, who were on course for a top-four finish in the Premier League, but the Jamaican international stepped up again in the 95th minute to take the top-flight side back to Elland Road.

Sadly for Leeds, they couldn’t repeat their magic on home soil, succumbing to a 3-1 defeat – all of Spurs’ goals coming from Jermain Defoe – in the replay.

Arsenal 1-1 Leeds, 2010-11 FA Cup

Leeds only had to wait a year for another trip to North London, where they went face to face with an Arsenal team boasting luminaries such as Tomas Rosicky, Andrey Arshavin and, erm, Sébastien Squllaci.

They were so close to pulling off another giant-killing, too: Robert Snodgrass, one of the survivors from the League One squad after a busy summer, converted a penalty early in the second half to give Leeds a lead they held until stoppage time.

We maintain it’s unfair that Arsenal were allowed to respond to this by bringing on 2010 World Cup winner Cesc Fàbregas, but apparently it’s ‘within the rules’.

He scored an equalising penalty of his own right at the death, and Arsenal called upon the likes of Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie for a replay which they were never likely to lose.

Leeds 2-1 Everton, 2012-13 League Cup

Leeds haven’t had the best of luck against top-flight opponents in the League Cup, but 2012-13 was a notable exception.

It was David Moyes’ final season as Everton manager ahead of being cherry-picked to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, and he took a strong side – including the likes of Seamus Coleman, Sylvain Distin and Marouane Fellaini – to Elland Road.

Leeds weren’t up to much in the league, having lost as many as they’d won in the first seven games of the season, but they’ve always been able to get themselves up for a cup tie.

Aidy White opened the scoring with his first ever Leeds goal, and Rudy Austin doubled the lead before Distin’s late consolation.

Not content with just one Premier League scalp, Leeds put Southampton to the sword in the following round: Michael Tonge, El-Hadji Diouf and Luciano Becchio were all on target against the Saints, but Chelsea brought their run to an end at the quarter-final stage with a comprehensive 5-1 win.

Leeds 2-1 Tottenham, 2012-13 FA Cup

After beating Birmingham City with the aid of a replay in the third round, Leeds – then about as mid-table as you can get in the Championship – had a chance for revenge against Tottenham.

It wouldn’t be easy, with their visitors making a top-four push under André Villas-Boas, but manager Neil Warnock had form in giving stronger sides a run for their money.

Luke Varney put Leeds in front, Ross McCormack doubled their lead (one of just eight goals he scored that season, compared to 29 in 2013-14) and Clint Dempsey’s reply wasn’t enough. Jan Vertonghen, Gareth Bale and Kyle Walker all featured for Spurs that day, so it was no mean feat.

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