By Joe Ellis

7th Jan, 2022 | 10:08am

Marcelo Bielsa and the FA Cup - Leeds United desperate for progression

The oldest cup competition in the world returns this weekend but Marcelo Bielsa has had a fractious relationship with the FA Cup since his arrival at Leeds United.

In his three seasons at Elland Road so far, the Argentine is yet to taste victory in the FA Cup with three successive third-round exits for the 1971/72 winners.

This year could see a similar result with David Moyes’ in-form West Ham the hosts to Leeds on Sunday.

Their previous exits under the 66-year-old have been to teams up and down the footballing pyramid.

The most recent cup exit being perhaps the most embarrassing as League Two Crawley Town took the Whites apart and even had the audacity to bring on ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ star Mark Wright late on, and still keep a clean sheet!

Defeats to Arsenal and QPR don’t seem so bad in comparison but it is still a worry that Bielsa can’t appear to win a game in the competition.

This season may give him his best excuse for an exit if Leeds do lose at the London Stadium, live on ITV.

An injury-ravaged squad has seen Bielsa left with just about enough players to field a side for the majority of the season although some games have been called off with COVID also causing havoc.

Even with Moyes expected to rotate his side somewhat, Bielsa is thought to be prepared to give chances to a host of Under-23 stars in front of over 50,000 spectators in the capital.

Crysencio Summerville scored a hat-trick for Mark Jackson’s side on Wednesday before being subbed off at half-time along with attacker Sam Greenwood.

Both are expected to feature in some capacity for the first team on Sunday with Bielsa keen to give his senior players a well-deserved day off after a hectic first half of the season.

The club, however, can’t keep getting knocked out at the earliest stage so something has to change soon.

In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay has provided a major update on a Leeds-linked midfielder’s future.