Renewing a rivalry: Three infamous clashes between Leeds United and Cardiff City
Steve Evans has not won any of his first three games in charge of the Whites, with Thursday’s night’s capitulation against Blackburn a particularly poor display.
The game is significant in that sense, but will do well to match up to our choice as the most memorable clashes between the Whites and the Bluebirds.
We run down the top three below:
Leeds have not beaten Cardiff at Elland Road for 31 years, making this tie far more significant than it would have seemed at the time.
UB40 were top of the charts with Red, Red Wine, showing how long ago it was that Leeds tasted success against City at their home ground.
In fact, the Whites have not beaten the Welsh side in any match since the reverse tie that same season. That is a run of over 17 games in which Cardiff have not fallen to defeat against United.
2) Leeds United 0 Cardiff City 4; October 25, 2010
Simon Grayson led Leeds into this game on the back of a tough run that had reminded the Whites of how difficult the second tier could be.
Grayson’s side had lost the previous two home games, conceding eight in the process.
Another staggering loss clearly taught Grayson some lessons, and Leeds altered their formation from a 4-4-2 to a 4-2-3-1 to better deal with the demands of the division and balance the side.
Leeds then went on a run of 12 games without defeat after, pushing them up the table, culminating in United sitting second at Christmas after beating eventual champions Queens Park Rangers at home.
Had Cardiff not handed them a footballing lesson, that turnaround may never have occurred.
1) Cardiff City 2 Leeds United 1; January 6, 2002
If you were to pick a game that symbolised the beginning of Leeds’ dramatic fall from literally the top end of English football, this would be it.
Prior to the match, United’s manager David O’Leary had said: “We will start and end our FA Cup run in Cardiff.”
He was right, but not in the way he meant. O’Leary thought his side would be in the final that year, but they were dumped out in the third round by Alan Cork’s side.
Over the next two months, Leeds did not win a single game. They went from the top of the table, the result of a 3-0 win against West Ham United at Christmas, to fifth by the end of the campaign.
Missing out on Champions League football caused the infamous financial implosion that
resulted in Leeds’ drop through the divisions, and along with other issues, can be traced back to that loss against a Cardiff side that Leeds clearly underestimated.