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Stuart Dalgleish 2nd Jan 2010 - 15:47

Leeds aiming to keep it respectable

If a League One club visits Old Trafford for a cup tie they would expect to see plenty of reserves in action, but this isn't just any old League One club - this is Leeds United.

Now I'm obviously not picking the team, but you can be assured that the Manchester United faithful will be far from happy if a weakened team is dumped out of the FA Cup by their old rivals Leeds.

Sir Alex Ferguson will want to beat the Whites, and beat them comfortably, he'll want to make sure that while they might have been away for a while they're still considered a rival and still considered worthy enough for the big guns to be involved.

Make no mistake about it, this is an intense, passionate and often hostile fixture, the matches over the years have been fiery affairs played in front of packed crowds with an electric atmosphere.

You can expect more of the same on Sunday, while the Red Devils have been battling it out with the likes of Barcelona and AC Milan in the last five years, and Leeds have had the pleasure of visiting Yeovil and Hereford, both sets of fans have been looking forward to the possibility of this game ever since Leeds' demise and all the tickets were snapped up some time ago.

Supporters of both teams will be eager to voice their opinions on each other; ITV will have to make sure any colourful language isn't picked up!

The travelling fans will be hoping to still have reason to chant at the end of the game, but the likelihood is that the Reds will win this one without too much trouble.

Perhaps a sign of respect for Leeds' current form of 15 games unbeaten in all competitions, perhaps a bit of uncertainty about the team that Ferguson will put out, but the Lancashire side are available at a better-than-you'd-expect 1/4. The last time the sides met at Old Trafford it finished level with Alan Smith scoring for Leeds that day before crossing the Pennines to join up with the opponents that he scored past, that eventuality happening again is 5/1, while Simon Grayson's charges are a whopping 9/1 to cause a shock result.

A fact worth noting if you were looking at other ways of getting money out of a home win is that Leeds are yet to be behind at half-time of any game this season, with that in mind Draw/Man Utd in the double result market looks really good value at odds of 3/1.

Picking out a first goalscorer for the hosts is difficult as I can't be sure who will be lining-up come 13:00 on Sunday, but Michael Owen will fancy his chances of getting some minutes and he will attract interest at 3/1 for the opener, Gabriel Obertan too will be keen to be involved and he's impressed in a couple of cup games this season and looks a good shout at 6/1 to break the deadlock.

The Yorkshire side have been absolutely hammering in the goals this season, but I don't think they'll quite get the chances at Old Trafford that they do in the league. One of those players who is thankful for all the chances that are presented to him is Jermaine Beckford.

The striker, who came in for some stick from the fans after he shunned Grayson's offer of a handshake following his substitution in a recent game against Southampton,  is reportedly a target for a couple of Championship clubs, but he won't get the amount of opportunities he does in this league a division higher that's for sure.

However, if he does manage to make the most of any chances that fall his way then he'll be the most likely route to the back of the Old Trafford net as the number nine has already bagged 19 goals this season, he's an 8/1 shot to make it number 20 with the first of the game.

Leeds' wide men have also been successful in front of goal this season with Robert Snodgrass (12/1 to strike first) and Bradley Johnson (16/1) both bagging seven each so far this campaign, and could be worth an each/way shout.

This one is sure to be a belter, make sure you join us to bet In-Play on a wide range of markets.


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