The FA Cup is magical. Bottom line.
And today, of course, is the day Leeds United gets to join in on that magic, in the only fixture of the day. All other FA Cup ties were played over the weekend, and while Championship sides Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest, QPR, Reading, Aston Villa, and Cardiff City landed amongst the 22 sides eliminated (farewell, EFL Cup opponents Fleetwood and Luton), there were a few surprising results.
Bolton Wanderers and Crystal Palace drew at nil-nil, Millwall knocked out Bournemouth 3-0, and shockingly, Plymouth Argyle walked into Anfield and left with a nil-nil draw, forcing Liverpool to attend a replay back at Home Park in Plymouth.
The biggest question for Leeds United is whether we want to advance in this cup tournament at all. While the lads will never play for a defeat on the pitch, Garry Monk’s side are making a true push for promotion to the Premier League this season, and the FA Cup will surely be secondary in their minds.
But there’s no harm in advancing past Cambridge. Monk is likely to field a side with plenty of substitutes and reserves, and they’ll all be playing to earn a place in the Leeds United 18.
Our James Mahoney wrote a full preview of this match yesterday, and we’ve had several FA Cup articles throughout the week: Matt Robinson wrote about his three favorite goals, Anatoliy Ivantchouk wrote about three players that need to step up tonight, and James asked if we should be worried about this match in the slightest.
As the only game tonight, we’ll have TV coverage for most supporters around the globe, and we’ll have live-tweets on @ThruItAllLIVE, as usual. We’ll update the gamethread with lineups as they come in, and leave us some comments below to interact with other readers before, after, and as the match progresses.
Oh, and we’ll update with FA Cup Draw information as that comes in too. (Update...)
If we manage to beat Cambridge tonight Leeds will play Wimbledon or Sutton away. C'mon Leeds #lufc— LUSC (@LUSCExec) January 9, 2017
Enjoy the FA Cup tonight everyone. MOT.
Leeds United at Cambridge United
FA Cup Round Three
The Abbey Stadium, Cambridge
BT Sport, Fox Sports 2, LUTV, BBC Radio Leeds, International Listings
Monday, January 9, 2017
11:45am PT / 02:45pm ET / 7:45pm BT
Leeds United starting XI
Silvestri, Berardi, Jansson, Cooper, Denton, Grimes, Phillips, Mowatt, Dallas, Antonsson, Doukara
Subs: Green, Bartley, Coyle, Vieira, O'Kane, Roofe, Wood
Cambridge United starting XI
Norris, Taylor, Legge, Roberts, Adams, Mingoia, Dunne, Clark, Newton, Berry, Ikpeazu
Subs: Gregory, Darling, Davies, Dunk, Maris, Williamson, Pigott
Johnny Wakefield: 1-2 Leeds. We’re good. We’ll play down to our opponents, but even the reserves that Garry will likely start will be enough to get us past Cambridge. I’d hope for a more convincing victory, but a new back four always leads to a mistake or two throughout a match, so I’ll give them the first goal, and we answer back with two in regulation. Goals for Mowatt and Phillips. MOT
James Mahoney: 0-2 Leeds. The Whites will avoid the potential banana skins of Cambridge. Leeds will make various changes tomorrow night, but the quality and the way Garry Monk sets up his team will put Cambridge out of the Cup and leave Leeds watching the draw for their fourth round opponent. MOT.
Sean Ryan: 0-4 Leeds. We're a far better side than Cambridge and while I've no interest in the Cup, this should be a forgone conclusion. Easy night for the Whites.
Joshua Gilbert: 1-3 Leeds. A late consolation goal for Cambridge will be of no value once Leeds score 3 in quick succession. This game will be an easy test to see if we are destined for a good FA Cup run.
Anatoliy Ivantchouk: 0-2 Leeds. This should be a fairly routine win. But let's be honest, when is that ever the case in the FA Cup? It is a tournament built for the underdog. The second-hand lineup should have enough quality to put away Cambridge, but don't be surprised when there are testy moments throughout.