Leeds United manager Simon Grayson has urged his team to take inspiration from last year’s near-miss at the Emirates Stadium and return to Arsenal tonight believing an upset is within their grasp.
Grayson is aiming to deliver the shock so nearly inflicted on Arsenal by Leeds 12 months ago when the sides contest their FA Cup third-round tie in London tonight.
Arsenal were rescued by a last-gasp penalty from Cesc Fabregas in round three of last season’s competition, holding United to a 1-1 draw and salvaging a replay at Elland Road. Arsene Wenger’s side progressed to the fourth round after a 3-1 win in Leeds 11 days later.
Both line-ups will be markedly different tonight, and striker Luciano Becchio is likely to be the only survivor of the United side which started at the Emirates in January 2011.
Grayson said: “Arsenal are a different team and so are we but we can learn from how we went there and grasped the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with some of the best players in the world.
“We know what we need to do. We’re going there as massive underdogs but we want to do ourselves justice.
“The players won’t be gung-ho because Arsenal on their day can destroy anyone but there’s always one upset in the third round. Why can’t it be Leeds beating Arsenal?
“We got so close last year and to concede a penalty late on was unfortunate. Then they came up here and produced the sort of performance you expect from Arsenal.”
Thierry Henry is back in Arsenal colours tonight after rejoining the Premier League club, and Grayson said: “He’ll be a major threat if he plays.”