View from the stands - Valiant Leeds United performance caps off top FA Cup away day at Arsenal

Leeds United fans at the Emirates. (Bruce Rollinson)Leeds United fans at the Emirates. (Bruce Rollinson)
Leeds United fans at the Emirates. (Bruce Rollinson)
Jacob Starr gives us his view from the stands at the Emirates

12:15 train to Kings Cross, 23:30 train back to Leeds, in bed by 3:30. Hundreds of pounds were spent and most were probably up for work the next day. The things we do for our football club. On a Monday night!

The magic of the FA Cup, eh?

Chants on the way home of “We all dream of a team of Michael Browns” tells you all you need to know. All we want is a team that gives maximum effort, leaves nothing out on the pitch despite maybe not being the most gifted.

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This was the Leeds United we saw on Monday night, except for the fact this bunch of players have certainly found their inner talent under El Loco. Bielsaball was showcased to everyone and the men from Yorkshire brought the noise both off and on the pitch.

The travelling army of 8,000 were joined by some familiar faces. Jack Clarke was in the away end and Pontus Jansson was in a box between the lower and upper tiers, giving the fans a Leeds salute at half time.

You're Leeds, and you know you are.

The first half performance from the Whites was one of the best I've ever seen live and arguably Arsenal should have been dead and buried by half time. Bielsa taught Arteta a footballing lesson and anyone would've thought the Gunners were the Championship side.

The crossbar denied Patrick Bamford in what was undoubtedly the move of the match, and Martinez was forced into a number of saves to deny Jack Harrison most notably.

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With Leeds registering 15 shots to the hosts' three in the opening 45, and having nearly two thirds of the ball, it painted the perfect picture for an onlooker.

It prompted a furious half time team talk from the recently appointed Spaniard, but I can't imagine he was angrier than the St Pancras Barrel Vault Wetherspoons staff who refused to serve anyone mid-Monday afternoon onwards due to one or two renditions of the Kiko Casilla, Pablo Hernandez song.

Illan Meslier looks like a player by the way.

His distribution was staggeringly good for a 19-year-old back up 'keeper making his debut, and his confident display could mean that Leeds decide not to sign a new number one if Casilla finds himself on the end of a ban.

I was impressed with Robbie Gotts too, who put in a good shift. Although I think he was just glad to be finally playing after being an unused sub 35 times.

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Mesut Ozil also deserves a mention. Simply for the fact I didn't even know he was playing until he got subbed off - back pocketed by the Yorkshire Pirlo aka Kalvin Phillips.

Ultimately, Leeds struggled to maintain their high level of intensity in the second half and succumbed to a scrappy goal.

However, this now means that Bielsa can now focus solely on getting us promoted (not that the man wasn't already aware of his task), and more importantly, we don't have to trek a few more miles to Bournemouth in the next round.

If, and it is a big if, Leeds do make the step up at the end of the campaign, then judging by the performance at the Emirates, particularly the first half, the Whites will be able to compete with most teams, and that is without making any signings.

Bielsa is loyal to his players so I think he will want to reward most of the current crop with first team opportunities in England's top flight.