There are few periods in English football quite as exciting as the FA Cup third-round weekend, when the biggest names in the sport enter the competition, often to face minnows that are out to etch their name into a competition famed for its giant slaying moments.
In the most notable result of the roundAll the goals came in the second half, outstanding counter-attacking play from John Yems' side and sub-par goalkeeping from Kiko Casilla earning the other Red Devils a place in the hat for Monday's fourth- and fifth-round draws.
Eighth-tier Marine weren't able to replicate that feat in a third round tie that saw the biggest gulf ever between two teams as Premier League giants as the fell to Spurs, 5-0.
Inevitably, COVID-19 has taken its toll on the competition with Shrewsbury Town's visit to Southampton postponed after a string of cases left the Shropshire side unable to field a team. Derby County and Aston Villa were both forced to deploy Under-23 sides after coronavirus outbreaks within their senior setup, both performed admirably but ultimately fell short against Chorley and Liverpool, respectively.
You can relive all the action, talking points and highlights throughout the weekend on our live updates below.
FA Cup third round scores, schedule
Times U.S./Eastern -- all matches can be streamed on ESPN+
Friday, Jan. 8
Aston Villa 4, Liverpool 1
Wolves 1, Crystal Palace 0
Saturday, Jan. 9
Everton 2, Rotherham 1 (AET -- after extra time)
Boreham Wood 0, Millwall 2
Luton Town 1, Reading 0
Nottingham Forest 1, Cardiff City 0
Norwich City 2, Coventry 0
Chorley 2, Derby County 0
Blackburn Rovers 0, Doncaster 1
Blackpool 2, West Brom 2 (3-2 on penalties)
Wycombe 4, Preston 1
QPR 0, Fulham 2 (AET)
Stevenage 0, Swansea 2
Burnley 1, MK Dons 1 (4-3)
Bristol Rovers 2, Sheffield United 3
Oldham Athletic 1, Bournemouth 4
Stoke City 0, Leicester City 4
Exeter City 0, Sheffield Wednesday 2
Arsenal 2, Newcastle 0 (AET)
Brentford 2, Middlesbrough 1
Huddersfield 2, Plymouth Argyle 3
Manchester United 1, Watford 0
Sunday, Jan. 10
Crawley Town 3, Leeds United 0
Bristol City 2, Portsmouth 1
Cheltenham 2, Mansfield Town 1 (AET)
Chelsea 4, Morecambe 0
Manchester City 3, Birmingham 0
Barnsley 2, Tranmere 0
Marine 0, Tottenham 5
Newport County 1, Brighton 1 (4-3 on penalties)
Monday, Jan. 11
Stockport vs. West Ham, 3 p.m.
Aston Villa youngsters have night to remember despite 4-1 loss: Liverpool may have booked their passage into the fourth round but their 4-1 victory over Aston Villa was a night to be remembered for the youngsters who shone in defeat rather than the star names who eventually exerted their will to win on the hour.
For a while it seemed like 17-year-old Louie Barry might be destined to write himself into FA Cup folklore when he darted in behind Rhys Williams to strike a brilliant equalizer just before halftime, cancelling out Sadio Mane's opener. Ultimately it took Jurgen Klopp unloading superstar talents Thiago and Roberto Firmino alongside the likes of Mane and Mohamed Salah to carry the day with three goals just after the hour mark a cruel punishment for a tiring youth team.
Former Barcelona prospect Barry was not the only teen to make his mark on the contest, in which Villa were forced to name academy players as their first team were isolating due to nine COVID-19 infections within their first team. Callum Rowe did as impressive a job as many a senior defender in managing Mohamed Salah whilst center-back pairing Dominic Revan and Mungo Bridge were outstanding as Villa battled to hold firm against the English champions.
Few surprises in early Saturday action: With Derby County having to use a youth academy team in the same way that Villa did, there were few surprise results in Saturday's early FA Cup third round fixtures and the Rams went down 2-0 to Chorley.
Millwall won 2-0 away at Boreham Wood, Luton Town beat Championship rivals Reading 1-0, Norwich City saw off Coventry City 2-0 thanks to early goals in another all-second tier clash and Nottingham Forest edged past Cardiff City. So far, little Saturday magic of the FA Cup before the next set of matches gets underway.
Everton survive Rotherham scare: That said, it needed extra time for Carlo Ancelotti's men to make it through against their Championship opponents. Cenk Tosun and Abdoulaye Doucoure goals either side of a strike from American Matthew Olosunde were enough to send the Premier League outfit through. It was a feisty affair at Goodison Park with both teams making five changes over the course of the 120 minutes.
Premier League clubs given all they can handle: Leicester City had an easy time dispatching Stoke City, putting four goals past Josef Bursik, but the rest of their top flight compatriots struggled. Sheffield United twice took the lead before surrendering equalizers to League One side Bristol Rovers, before Jayden Bogle finally scored the Blades winner in the 63rd minute. Burnley, Fulham, and West Bromwich Albion meanwhile all had to go beyond 90 minutes. Fulham would eventually pull away from Queens Park Rangers, scoring the matches only two goals in the first half of stoppage time. While Burnley and WBA were both taken to penalties, with WBA ultimately falling to Blackpool, while Burnley scraped by MK Dons.
Magic changes from Arteta: Arsenal are into the fourth round of the FA Cup but they needed extra time and nearly penalties to get past Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium. Goalless until the 109th minute, Emile Smith-Rowe was assisted by fellow replacement Alexandre Lacazette for the only goal of the game. The France international had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes and still continued his recent run of important contributions after Chelsea, Brighton and West Bromwich Albion goals. That is now four goals and an assist for Lacazette in his past four appearances and finally a goal to go with Smith-Rowe's pair of assists in those same games. As if that was not enough, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got himself on the scoresheet late on after being teed up by Kieran Tierney.
Scott McTominay's prescient goal: The only goal of Manchester United's match against Watford was scored in the fifth minute by then-captain Scott McTominay, and was very much a sign of things to come in the match. Off of the first corner of the match thanks to constant pressure from United, McTominay was able to make contact with the whipped cross with his forehead, causing the ball to bounce once, deflect off the post and into the back of the net. It was a sloppy goal that pretty much demonstrated how the rest of the game would go: messy, unconventional and ultimately with a United victory, which is exactly what happened.
Crawley enter FA Cup history: This was a remarkable FA Cup upset but not as we have come to know them. Usually if a League Two side is to vanquish Premier League opposition we expect long balls, shock errors or maybe the odd bit of magic from a fading star. What is not usual is for free-flowing football to vanquish a top-tier opponent, for a Marcelo Bielsa team to be shook by energy and aggression that is beyond them. That is what Crawley showed, with their opening goal from left-back Nick Tsaroulla a strike worthy of winning games at any level. Though the Red Devils certainly profited from poor goalkeeping by former Real Madrid man Kiko Casilla they were certainly good value for the win, which will go down as one of the great giant killings in this competitions history.
Chelsea snuff out Morecambe's hope: For a time Morecambe looked like they might be able to stay in their game against a star-studded Chelsea side. The League Two visitors to Stamford Bridge packed the box and challenged the Blues to beat them with crosses and long-range shots. Mason Mount's version of the latter gave Chelsea the lead but Morecambe were willing to counterpunch and needed only to stay in the match for a while longer for nerves to jangle in west London. Then $210 million of summer signings combined to kill the tie off. Hakim Ziyech wriggled into space on the right corner of the box, Kai Havertz judged his run and knock down to perfection and Timo Werner tapped in his first Chelsea goal since November 7, a decisive strike as Frank Lampard's team eased to a 4-0 win.
Marine win hearts if not round-four berth: Whilst the other 30 ties in this round were played behind closed doors, Spurs and Marine at least had the households of Rossett Road to entertain in a third-round tie unlike any other. Those few dozen who happen to have had a football ground at their back of their garden for years were treated to an impressive display from Tottenham and a moment at least where you wondered if the eighth-tier side might have been able to pull off the upset of a lifetime. Unfortunately for Neil Kengni, his 35-yard shot clipped Joe Hart's bar rather than sneaking in and from then onward Tottenham's quality won out as Carlos Vinicius scored three in a 5-0 win.
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