Now that's more like it. Decent cup tie, plenty of chances created. Never really in doubt was it? There was no ominous 'here we go agains' even when Leeds pegged us back. You just felt that the tempo and effort from our lads was always going to cause the home side problems. It took two games, but Premier quality won through in the end.
Bentley continued his sparkling good form. Not keen on the hobo face scruff and although he does look ill there's no doubt that his form is currently sick (see what I did there? honestly, someone should pay me to blog). As long as he continues to keep his feet on the ground and not develop another vanity daze that always seems to eat away at any hope of prolonged consistency. Start to worry the moment he starts to highlight his hair. I'm liking the fact that he's continuing to take the chance he's been presented with. Good work fella. We all know he'll lose his place when Azza is back. But it's good to have competition. Not that it's competition in the strictest sense. Lennon is untouchable.
Defoe re-discovering his goal scoring touch was also a joy. Loved how he added spin on his first (he meant it) and his touch to score the second from an unplayable (from a defensive point of view) Bentley cross was equally impressive. His third was no doubt harsh on plucky Leeds and their fans but to be fair, it was tinged with 'back in your box' qualities that were much required, if anything to end the constant pro-giant killing requirements that ITV are utterly utterly obsessed with. Thought Crouch did a decent enough job in aiding JD. Missed a sitter (of sorts). It's not exactly the most exhilarating partnership with regards to subtle layers of inventiveness, but it's productive.
Apart from an exceptional 10 minute spell from Leeds at the end of the first half (having gone 1-0 up), it was comfortable. Special mention to that reaction though. They had a right old ding dong go at us and even though the goal was debatable - it was probably deserved for the sheer effort leading up to it. Only positive from conceding was that it left no room for further complacency come the second half.
On the subject of the goal, it's debatable depending on how you wish to interpret the phase of play that led to the equaliser. Leeds players all offside, but alas not when the ball reaches Becchio. He's now onside, even though there was arguable interference seconds earlier. Confused? I flipping hope so. I'm still trying to figure out how Defoe's goal at Anfield never stood.
Which we dominated in both chances and possession where the difference in quality was more than evident by the final whistle. Leeds didn't do enough. Our lot did everything right. Chuffed that the players gave the occasion the focus and determination it needed. It's the FA Cup, it should matter. Year might not end in 1. There's still a 1 in there. Bolton away next, more of the same please.
Positives: Bale (see what confidence can do for you?) and Bentley (2 assists and a couple of moments where I'm certain I witnessed him going past a player) were impressive, Defoe clinical. ITV duly gutted. Did love how when we took the lead, the second thing out of the commentators mouth was about whether Leeds could fight back. Dry them mate.
Goodbye Leeds. We might never meet again (hopefully).
Bread and butter next with Villa at the Lane, which is just as important for altogether different reasons. More so in the eyes of many. It's another cup game. In the league. Lose this and the feeling of deflation will no doubt sting. Win it, and there's an opportunity to use it as a springboard.