High-flying Gunners hold no fear for confident Schmeichel

KASPER SCHMEICHEL insists Leeds United's best chance of knocking Arsenal out of the FA Cup has not been lost courtesy of Cesc Fabregas's dramatic late equaliser.

The Elland Road club were just a minute from going through to the fourth round when the Gunners captain scored from the penalty spot after Ben Parker had fouled Theo Walcott.

Fabregas's goal means the two sides must replay tonight at Elland Road and the pundits have been suggesting that the Premier League side will capitalise on their late let-off at the Emirates Stadium.

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Schmeichel, however, is adamant that Leeds can spring a major surprise in front of what looks like being a full house.

Asked if United's best chance of progressing to the fourth round had gone, the Dane said: "Why (would it)? This is football and there is no such thing (as a certainty). It is eleven versus eleven and anything can happen on the night.

"If you play with fear you will lose more than you win so I don't think there is any reason to play with fear.

"It is just a matter of going out there, enjoying it and expressing ourselves. With the players we have got we have got a chance. The difference between good players and great players is that they play without fear."

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Schmeichel was one of United's key performers at the Emirates Stadium with his vital first-half block to deny Andrei Arshavin being followed by a stoppage- time save to keep out Denilson.

Asked about the full-length stretch that kept out what would have been a winner for the Brazilian, United's goalkeeper said: "That is what Premier League sides do – they test you and that is why they are where they are.

"I am just happy that they didn't manage to score a winner and now we will have to see what we can do against them here."

Regardless of tonight's result, it seems likely that Schmeichel will be in for a busy night against a side chasing four major honours this season.

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He added: "Only time will tell how busy I will be (against Arsenal).

"They are obviously a good team and I had a lot to do down there but we are playing with confidence at the moment and I think we can do well.

"It will be a fantastic atmosphere at Elland Road and it will certainly give us a boost but Arsenal have played in front of those sort of crowds before, so it probably won't intimidate them as much as some other teams coming here."

The winners of tonight's tie will host Huddersfield Town in the fourth round on Sunday, January 30 in a tie that will be shown live on ESPN.

Last six games: Leeds United DDDLDW, Arsenal DWDDLW.

Last time: Leeds United 1 Arsenal 4; January 4, 2004; FA Cup.

Referee: M Dean (Wirral).