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F A Cup 3rd Round

Crawley Town                 3         (Tsaroulla 50, Nadeson 53,                                                              Tunnicliffe 70)

Leeds United                  0 

Wow, that was embarrassing, and don’t bother trying to persuade me that it doesn’t matter. Yet again we all waited all weekend for a game which we were convinced would not follow our usual 3rd round MO. We all agreed it was a strong side we started with and, to be honest I thought first half we did OK, especially considering there were some tweaks to our usual XI and usual formation. Surely the sensible thing is to then leave it having seen it settle? If it ain’t broke why try to fix it?

The obvious thought is that, once again, Bielsa wasn’t that bothered with this game and was more concerned with ensuring everyone important was kept in reserve for next week and none of the 1st XI were ‘overplayed’. Either that or he thought we’d stroll it even with a makeshift side for the second half. Whichever it was, I think we got it totally wrong. The changes we made were unfathomable and within minutes it was clear the players were either unsure or unhappy playing in the roles they’d been given and once Crawley scored it was obvious we’d never get back in the game.

We can’t ignore the part Kiko Casilla played in this catastrophe though, many of us, me included have pointed out how, fabulous as Illan is as a shot stopper, he is still very young and usually manages a loose pass sometime during every game. Well, give me that loose pass every time; it may be that Kiko has just been out of the limelight for so long now that he’s just not sharp enough but, to be honest, this lack of ability he showed today has been evident before. Quite simply, he’s not good enough and needs to be shipped out sooner than later; the rest of the squad must wonder about the exorbitant wage he is rumoured to be on.

For the rest, it was more a question of the roles not suiting them than that they had an out and out bad game. I thought Pablo Hernandez had a good game but so often his incisive passing looked like poor passing as no one seemed to be able to read what he was doing. For me this was a great opportunity to rehearse playing without Kalvin Phillips but, although Pascal Struijk did play the Phillips role first half, he was then taken off; was that to ensure he’s available next week? Maybe I guess.

My overriding feeling is one of being let down again; it is one more in a long, long list of 3rd round cup fiascos and I’m just hoping against hope that this time we can shrug it off and not let it fester in our minds going forward. The only saving grace is that we are not now sat in the car making our way back North after yet another very Leeds United start to a New Year.

Game Statistics


                       Crawley Town  Leeds United

Possession                29%            71%

Shots                           15               14

On Target                    6                  2

Corners                        6                  3

Fouls  Committed   10                  9

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