F.A. Cup Review – Holders Arsenal March on

An exciting set of fixtures played out in the 3rd round of the F.A. Cup, with shocks, surprises and ‘cupsets’ galore. Some big sides, such as Premier League West Bromwich Albion, went out to lower league opposition, in their case, Blackpool. Other big sides progressed with ease, such as Leicester City, who thrashed Stoke City 4-0.

While Manchester United won 1-0 at home to Watford and Liverpool triumphed 4-1 at a severely depleted Aston Villa, other games were tighter, with Everton and Burnley only escaping the 3rd Round with extra time victories earned through blood, sweat and tears against Rotherham and Milton Keynes Dons respectively.

Let’s look at an all-Premier League tie and a minnow attempting a giant-killing and see which way each tie went.

Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle United

It took until the last 11 minutes of a two-hour tussle to separate holders Arsenal from visitors Newcastle United in North London.

Despite several injury issues, Newcastle fielded a fairly strong team and were a threat throughout with Andy Carroll looking to be a menace to a defence featuring the leadership of David Luiz.

It was Arsenal who progressed but that story could easily have been different as The Magpies threatened to score in the very final minute, Carroll’s instinctive strike saved by a brilliant Bernd Leno in the Gunners goal.

In extra-time, Arsenal stepped up the pressure and it was Emile Smith Rowe who kicked off the scoring when, in the 109th minute, he took a knock-down with supreme composure and guided the ball in off of the post.

With three minutes to go, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang added some unwarranted gloss to the scoreline when he finished to make it 2-0 to the holders and effectively end the tie.

Crawley Town 3-0 Leeds United

Having been thrashed by Manchester United just a few weeks ago, Marcelo Bielsa suffered another humbling at the hands of The Red Devils as Crawley Town of League Two won 3-0 at The People’s Pension Stadium.

It was far from easy, with The Whites fielding a strong team including Kalvin Phillips and former Real Madrid keeper Kiko Casilla, but Crawley managed to make it to half-time in decent shape and won the game with three goals in the space of 20 second half minutes.

The first was a wicked spin and run finished off by Nick Tsaroulla, who was emotional at the final whistle as he recounted the recovery he had made from a car accident three years ago. His goal opened the scoring, but Crawley’s lead was doubled three minutes later when Ashley Nadesan smashed home the second. The win was sealed in the 70th minute when Jordan Tunnicliffe powered home from the scraps when a corner was poorly defended by the Premier League side.

Leeds will need all their focus to survive in the top division but for Crawley Town, the game was one of their entire club history.

Marine 0-5 Tottenham Hotspur 

For the first 23 minutes of the tie at Rossett Park, Marine were the pride of Merseyside as they kept out Premier League Tottenham Hotspur. For the remaining 67 minutes, however, Spurs showed their class and pulled away from their hosts in a display of professionalism that saw Vinicius score a hat-trick.

Both of the first two goals of that treble were tap-ins, but the third was sublime, a looping left-foot strike that owed nothing to luck and everything to skill. That hat-trick sealing goal came after a wonderful free-kick from Luca Moura that sailed past Marine ‘keeper Bayleigh Passant into the home team’s goal, but in truth, the opener could have come from Marine.

After 20 minutes, Kengni’s 30-yard effort beat former England goalie Joe Hart but smacked off the top of the bar for the Manchester City title-winner to tip over for a corner. Marine had a weak shout for a penalty, but it never came and that Tottenham goal avalanche began.

Another goal in the second half, the North London side’s fifth and final effort of the evening, was scored by 16-year-old substitute Alfie Devine in some style and that completed the rout. For Marine, it was the end of their glorious F.A. Cup run, but for Spurs, it will give them some confidence for the next game to come. Spurs could be a great shot to win the F.A. Cup at current odds of 9/1, with only Manchester United (8/1), Liverpool (6/1) and Manchester City (18/5) at shorter odds.

In Monday’s ‘spare match’ from this weekend, West Ham (3/10) host Stockport County (11/1) in what should be a home banker.

F.A. Cup 3rd Round Results:

Aston Villa 1-4 Liverpool 

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 Crystal Palace 

Boreham Wood 0-2 Millwall 

Everton 2-1 Rotherham United (After Extra Time) 

Luton Town 1-0 Reading 

Norwich City 2-0 Coventry City 

Nottingham Forest 1-0 Cardiff City 

Chorley 2-0 Derby County 

Blackburn Rovers 0-1 Doncaster Rovers 

Blackpool 2-2 West Bromwich Albion (A.E.T. Blackpool win 3-2 on penalties) 

Bournemouth 4-1 Oldham Athletic 

Bristol Rovers 2-3 Sheffield United 

Burnley 1-1 Milton Keynes Dons (A.E.T. Burnley win 4-3 on penalties) 

Exeter City 0-2 Sheffield Wednesday 

Queens Park Rangers 0-2 Fulham (A.E.T.) 

Stevenage 0-2 Swansea City 

Stoke City 0-4 Leicester City 

Wycombe Wanderers 4-1 Preston North End 

Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle United (A.E.T.) 

Brentford 2-1 Middlesbrough 

Huddersfield Town 2-3 Plymouth Argyle 

Manchester United 1-0 Watford 

Barnsley 2-0 Tranmere Rovers 

Bristol City 2-1 Portsmouth 

Chelsea 4-0 Morecambe 

Cheltenham Town 2-1 Mansfield Town (A.E.T.) 

Crawley Town 3-0 Leeds United 

Manchester City 3-0 Birmingham City 

Marine 0-5 Tottenham Hotspur

Newport County 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion (A.E.T. Brighton & Hove Albion win 4-3 on penalties)