The FA Cup third round was a marvellous one as it delivered exactly what we hoped for, entertainment. While many clubs continued with their routine wins, a few were victims of shocking defeats and surprises.
The majority of the teams have booked their berth in the fourth round of the oldest English competition. The final entry will be decided on 10th January when the struggling Manchester United will be hosting an in-form Aston Villa at Old Trafford.
The reigning champions, Leicester City successfully overcame the hurdle to defend the title, when they thrashed their fellow Premier League opposition, Watford by a 4-1 scoreline. Manchester City and Chelsea also advanced comfortably with a 4-1 and 5-1 win respectively. Despite the presence of the newly added prolific player in the squad, Newcastle United were humbled by a struggling Championship team, Cambridge United. Burnley also had the same fate as they lost 2-1 to Huddersfield Town.
The FA Cup Third Round Troubled the Premier League Giants
Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur Survive the Third Round
With just 15 per cent possession in the first quarter of the match, Shrewsbury Town threatened to deliver a huge upset to a youthful Liverpool side when they took the lead against the host in the 27th minute. However, it lasted only seven minutes as Kaide Gordon scored the equaliser, becoming the second-youngest goalscorer for Liverpool in the process.
The Reds soon grabbed control of the match. Fabinho scored a penalty right before half-time to put them in control ahead of the second half. They then thoroughly dominated the game and the stats at the end made it crystal clear. With 84 per cent possession and 857 passes compared to Shrewsbury’s 16 per cent and 166 passes, Liverpool sealed the game with two late goals from Roberto Firmino and Fabinho respectively.
On the other hand, Tottenham Hotspur had to work slightly harder to secure their place in the next round. Like Liverpool, Spurs were also dominating the game. However, they were sloppy and inefficient which prevented them from making an impact upfront. The League One side, Morecambe opened the scoring in the 33rd minute and successfully held on to it.
They completely parked the bus and made it a nightmare for the Lilywhites who were fighting to avoid humiliation. However, their resistance could not last enough as the introduction of Lucas Moura and Harry Kane proved to be decisive. Both of them scored as Spurs scored all three goals in the final 13 minutes of the match to survive the scare.
Disappointing Night For Arsenal
This was only the second time in the last 26 years that Arsenal failed to go past the third round of the FA Cup. The previous time this happened was in 2018 when they were ousted by the same opposition.
While the news sounds shocking, so was their performance against Nottingham Forest. It is true that they were missing the majority of their squad. However, at least a shot on target was definitely expected for the way they dominated. The lack of hunger and desire from the Gunners proved to be their demise in the competition this season.
Despite the 10 shots they took, not a single one tested the keeper. And they paid the price dearly when Lewis Grabban of Nottingham scored the only goal of the match in the 83rd minute. Mikel Arteta was every single Gunner as he expressed his disappointment after the match.
“We were not good enough and we have to apologise for it. I don’t want to use excuses, I expect the team I put out to do better and when you don’t in the cup you are out. We needed more drive, more hunger to win at any cost in every single action, much more. We were not at our level.” Arteta told in his interview with ITV.
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