Day: January 9, 2012

Match Of The Week 2: Arsenal 1-0 Leeds United

There remains a sense of great expectations surrounding Leeds United. To get a feel for the root cause for this, we only need to spin back four decades, when Don Revie’s team lost out on the Football League Championship to Derby County but managed a little solace in winning the FA Cup final against Arsenal at Wembley. Times have changed since then, of course. In the intervening forty years, Leeds United have been relegated, bounced back, won the last English title before the induction of the Premier League, plummeted back to the third tier of the English league system and only narrowly avoided closure before resurfacing in the Championship, their ambition thwarted, yet undiminished. Perhaps it is this sense of grandeur which, in recent years, seen the club over-perform against superior opposition. Two years ago, they beat Manchester United at Old Trafford and gave Spurs a game and a half before succumbing after a replay. This time last year, they faced a trip to The Emirates Stadium to play Arsenal and again managed a draw before slipping up at home in a replay. Whatever limitations the Leeds United teams of the last couple of seasons may have had, they always seem capable of giving those bigger clubs a game in a one-off cup match. If psychology counts for great deal in football, then it could even be argued that,...

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Queens Park Rangers Shuffle Their Pack

As things turned out, Heidar Helguson’s late equalizer in Milton Keynes on Saturday afternoon wasn’t quite enough to keep Neil Warnock in his job. Rangers – without a win of any description in the FA Cup for a decade – may well remain in the competition for now, but Warnock won’t be at Loftus Road for the replay.┬áThe man that took the club into the Premier League departed yesterday, barely halfway through their first season back in the top flight in a decade and a half. With the club having slipped to seventeenth place in the league table after an encouraging start, his departure isn’t the biggest surprise possible, but there is still something faintly peculiar about a manager getting replaced having not had a full season in a higher division after having taken them to promotion. There is, however, no room for sentimentality in modern football. It is, perhaps, the money that the club’s new owner Tony Fernandes threw at it after having taken control of it in August that proved to be the defining catalyst for Warnock’s departure from the club. Under its previous, combustible ownership, Queens Park Rangers looked set to be spending this season fighting battles both on and off the pitch, but the departure of Bernie Eccleston, Flavio Briatore et al as the new season began gave new life to a club which had...

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