Should Leeds prioritize their upcoming trip to Chelsea based on their chances of progressing or getting promoted?

Estimated read time 4 min read

The prospect of Leeds being in both the FA Cup final and the Championship playoff final on consecutive days at Wembley stadium creates a logistical nightmare.

The Football League has a “backup plan,” but Daniel Farke can only hope it is never needed and that no high-profile event needs to be rescheduled.

As Farke’s team, currently second in the second division and determined to secure automatic promotion, prepares for a fifth-round FA Cup match against Chelsea on Wednesday night, it is only natural for the German manager to have conflicting emotions about potentially pulling off an upset against a higher-ranked opponent.

Possibly a favorable opportunity presents itself to face Pochettino’s potentially exhausted Carabao Cup finalists, as Leeds aims for a quarter-final spot for the first time in 18 years. However, the upcoming match marks the start of a grueling schedule of four games in 10 days for Farke’s team. It could be argued that the league matches against Huddersfield, Stoke, and Sheffield Wednesday should take precedence in terms of focus and strategy.

The mistake made last year at Accrington in the fourth round, which could have changed the season, still lingers in memory. Jesse Marsch, the former Leeds manager, may never be forgiven by some in Elland Road for replacing their top scorer, Rodrigo, with his team leading 3-0. Unfortunately, Rodrigo suffered a severe ankle injury that needed surgery, causing him to miss a significant amount of playing time. This may have contributed to Leeds’ relegation and the eventual loss of Marsch’s job.

All that modern history perhaps explained why Farke sounded ever so slightly tentative when, on the eve of the Chelsea tie, he said “we would like to extend our Cup run” before promptly explaining that the key forwards Patrick Bamford, Georginio Rutter and Crysencio Summerville were nursing minor injuries and may not be fit.

It would be unfortunate if Bamford doesn’t get the chance to showcase his abilities to his previous team, but Farke cannot take a risk on a striker who has only recently regained his top form and physical fitness, especially during a crucial period of nine consecutive wins in the Championship.

Daniel Farke enjoys the moment with the Leeds fans after the win over Leicester kept his side’s Championship title hopes alive.View image in fullscreen

The coach of Leeds expressed a strong opinion about the influence on morale that Chelsea’s tiring loss to Liverpool in the recent Carabao Cup final will have. He stated, “I do not believe that Chelsea’s defeat will benefit us or make our situation easier.” Farke further elaborated that he anticipates Chelsea to be fully concentrated on their upcoming match, as the FA Cup is their primary opportunity to secure a place in European competition for next season. He believes this will make things more challenging for his team.

However, those who witnessed Leeds overturning a deficit and defeating the top team in the Championship, Leicester, with a 3-1 victory at Elland Road on Friday night will understand not to underestimate them.

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Unfortunately, the timing is not ideal. Norwich City manager, Daniel Farke, expressed his exhaustion following their recent match against Leicester. Farke admitted that he is still quite tired and with a busy schedule ahead, the team will need all the energy they can get. The next few weeks will be tough, with four games in just 10 days. To be honest, I would prefer to face Chelsea under different circumstances.

The overcrowding has brought Farke a difficult decision. He stated, “I strongly value cup competitions and the FA Cup is the most well-known one in Western Europe. We aim to showcase our club in the best way, but during the crucial promotion phase, we must be strategic with our choices.”

Please refrain from making poor decisions or putting any players who may have minor injuries at risk. We cannot afford to risk causing long-term damage in this game. Although I would like to prepare in a unique way, our schedule does not allow for it. We must keep in mind the next three league games, particularly the important derby against Huddersfield on Saturday. However, we are grateful for the dedicated fans who will be traveling to support us in London and this game holds significant importance for our team.

The tie serves as a test of the difficulties that Leeds may face upon their return to the highest level of competition. According to Farke, their previous match against Leicester served as good preparation for their upcoming match against Chelsea, as it was of a similar level to the Premier League. Knowing that they are not likely to have control of possession, they recognize the need for fast decision-making. Despite being the underdogs, they are determined to defend vigorously and approach the game with courage, as there is nothing for them to lose.


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