Leeds v Chelsea Preview
Wednesday night, up at Elland Road, will be a serious test of our mettle.
Following our heart-breaking defeat in Yokohoma City, to Corinthians, Rafa Bentiez is realistic enough to accept that out of the trophies left available for us to win, the Capital One Cup looks the best option.
But as those of us who have been to Elland Road, previously, to watch a fixture involving Leeds and Chelsea will testify, Elland Road will be a cauldron of hate packed to the rafters with Yorkshire`s finest spitting venom.
It`ll not be a place for the faint-hearted and those chosen to do battle will need to dig deep, match fore with fire and deny the Championship from imposing their more physical game on our cultured game.
Ahead of the game, this is something that Frank Lamaprd, expected to captain the side in John Terry`s continued absence, has spoken about in the media, as well as the defeat in Yokohoma, remarking,
"You can`t go and win every tournament every year. We`ve never done that. No-one does it. We worked very hard to get to the final."
"We`ve changed the personnel a bit this year, there has been a bedding-in process and we`ve changed the manager so there`s been quite a few circumstances this year."
"We have to pick it up for Leeds. We have to go there and stand up, then get our home form back."
"It`s very important that we do our stuff, not just at Leeds but in the league games over Christmas."
"Win at Leeds and we`re in the semi-final with the possibility of a decent draw, but it`s tough to go to Elland Road. There`s a rivalry."
"We`re aware of it and we have to play with passion and do the physical side of things because they`re going to be right at it."
"We can`t expect to go up there, tap it around and get a result. We have to do both sides of the game."
Indeed we do, but Rafa faces selection problems with John Terry still on the sidelines, the newly crocked Romeu also out with a serious knee injury and a trio of John Obi Mikel, Ramires and Gary Cahill out suspended, thereby limiting his options.
If you throw into the mixer the possibility of tiredness, form the 12 hour flight home from Japan, into the mixture, you can probably see why Leeds serious believe they have a chance of pulling off a shock this Wednesday evening.
Mutterings, from within the camp, initially suggested that Rafa might turn to the youngsters for this tie, but with Leeds in good form, having won 4 out of the last 5 Championship games, can Rafa take the gamble knowing that crashing out of this competition will heap more pressure on his troubled shoulders?