Crawley vs Leeds | Sunday 10th January 2021, 13:30 | BBC
Marcelo Bielsa and his Leeds men make the long journey south to begin their FA Cup journey as they take on League Two outfit Crawley.
Sixty-two places separate these two in the football pyramid and whilst you would expect the Premier League outfit to breeze through this one, Leeds United have struggled on the road in this competition in recent years.
The Whites have lost their lost four away FA Cup matches to Arsenal, Queens Park Rangers, Newport County and Sutton United. They now face a Crawley Town side who have a habit of scoring in their home games.
The hosts are clearly the underdogs in this one, but they will feel they have an outside chance of causing an upset here. They possess a strong record of scoring at home and the fact that Leeds may field a side consisting of players who may not have had many minutes this season should only motivate them further.
The Reds have already beaten Torquay and Wimbledon in the first two rounds of this seasons competition and welcome a side without a victory in the FA Cup since January 2017.
- Commit on average 14.5 fouls per game when playing at home this season.
- Receive on average 10.8 fouls per game when playing at home this season.
- Have seen 2+ cards in 5/10 home league games this season.
- In those games, the opposition have seen 2+ cards on 2/10 occasions.
- Have seen over 2.5 goals land in their last five FA Cup games.
- Have scored in all of their previous eight home cup ties but have won just two of them.
- Reece Grego-Cox is Crawley's only injury concern.
- Top scorer Max Watters is unlikely to feature with the 21-year-old on the cusp of a January exit.
- Commit on average 10.6 fouls per game when playing away this season.
- Receive on average 10.2 fouls per game when playing away this season.
- Have seen 2+ cards in 4/9 away league games this season.
- In those games, the opposition have seen 2+ cards on 3/9 occasions.
- Have lost their last four FA Cup matches.
- Have lost by a one-goal margin in their last four FA Cup matches.
- Marcelo Bielsa may hand Diego Llorente a start here with the Spaniard close to a return to fitness.
- Gaetano Berardi, Adam Forshaw, Robin Koch and Liam Cooper all miss out with Bielsa expected to start a number of fringe players.
Referee: Peter Bankes
- Averages 3.50 cards per game this season after awarding 35 yellows in 10 appearances.
- In his last 20 games officiated the away side has seen at least a card in 18/20 (90%) and 2+ cards in 13/20 (65%).
My first pick is for Both Teams To Score (20/21 Bet365). Crawley have scored in all of their previous eight FA Cup ties played at The Broadfield Stadium, even though they’ve come out victorious in just two of them. They’ve also scored in 12/13 home games in all competitions this season.
With Leeds manager, Bielsa, expected to ring the changes and give a few fringe players a runout, and the disparity between both teams, I expect to see a number of chances for both sides here.
My second pick is Crawley on a +1.5 Asian Handicap (20/21 Bet365). I really like this one and the reason being is that I think Bielsa, although wanting to progress, will see this as an opportunity to get a look at some players who he can use in their league campaign.
Before the season started, Leeds United sole aim would’ve been to stay in the Premier League, whilst it looks like they should achieve that, Bielsa will want to ensure that it becomes a certainty and so I doubt he will risk any of his big stars here. Because of this, I think this will be a tight one.
As previously mentioned, Crawley have scored in 12 of their 13 home games this season and I think they will here as Leeds do tend to concede. I don’t see The Whites going out and pumping Crawley by a few goals and so I feel this price is a little high.