Leeds United will travel to Wales to face Cardiff City in the third round of the FA Cup, with fixtures set to be played across the weekend of Friday 6 January-Monday 9 January 2023.
The Whites have a chequered history with England’s most prestigious cup competition, having only ever lifted the coveted trophy once in the club’s history; the silverware secured after a 1-0 victory over Arsenal under renowned manager Don Revie in 1972.
Humbling defeats to lesser opposition in recent years, including League Two team Newport County and non-league outfit Sutton United, have understandably soured the vast majority of Leeds fans’ relationship with the competition.
Even legendary head coach Marcelo Bielsa was unable to break the club’s FA Cup curse, with the team unable to bypass the third round at any period of his tenure. They weren’t able to escape the shadow of humiliating losses, either, as reflected in a 3-0 loss to League Two side Crawley Town in the Whites’ 2020/21 season.
Leeds will hope they can rectify this poor record in the competition when they visit the Cardiff City Stadium in January, with the specific date and time of the clash to be confirmed.
A disappointing draw
As far as FA Cup third round draws go, it really couldn’t get any worse than facing a struggling Championship club away from home. Heading into this fixture, Leeds have nothing to gain and everything to lose.
Whilst securing Premier League survival is undoubtedly the priority for the Whites this season, a respectable cup run would increase the confidence levels within the team whilst also providing a welcome distraction from the stresses of football in England’s top-flight.
Progression in cup competition is something of a double-edged sword, however, as it also increases the risk of picking up any injuries and may also contribute to match fatigue.
Considering that Marsch has fielded significantly weakened teams in both EFL Cup fixtures he has overseen since taking the top job at Leeds, including making ten changes to his regular starting XI against Wolves in November, it is as yet unclear how seriously he views cup competitions.
This draw provides the American with a decent opportunity to advance to the next round of the competition if he wishes to take it, but could add to Leeds’ litany of cup embarrassments if things go badly.
Let’s hope that Marsch can help remedy the FA Cup misery which Whites fans have had to endure in recent times.