The third round of the F.A. Cup was played on the 4th and 5th of this month, and while there were upsets, the 'big teams' generally did justice to their opponents to match on to the next round. Some of the so-called big teams are also up for replays.
Manchester City vs Port Vale
The recent dip in form was almost inconsequential as City took on lowly Port Vale with pretty much a disjointed team. Goals from Oleksandr Zinchenko, Sergio Aguero, Phil Foden and IIkay Gundogan saw the defending premier league champions easily own the visitors home. Other than Pope's goal and few scares, there was not really enough the visitors could do to prevent getting beaten. They were far over their heads, and they knew it.
Video Assisting Referee (VAR) reared its head to call two goal. This time, however, the calls were right. All things considered, Manchester City had a pretty comfortable game.
Chelsea vs Nottingham Forest
Chelsea, who have won the FA Cup on eight occasions had a quiet game. First half goals from Hudson Odoi and Ross Barkley were enough to see them through to the next round.
Of course, it would have been a difficult one had VAR not overturned the penalty when Mighten was brought down by Tomori Fikayo or if Ryan Yates header was not correctly ruled as offside.
Before the match, Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi predicted his side had "no chance" of winning away at a team fourth in the top flight. That prediction turned out to be right as Chelsea dominated from start to finish, limiting them to only 2 shots on target in the whole 90minutes.
In all, it was a deserved win.
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Manchester United
Again, Manchester United showed that their loss of form might get even worse, after they failed to register a shot on target. This is the first time they have failed to have a shot on target in a domestic game since January 2015.
Wolves played well, but the match in general, was a step down from last year's, when they won to send United packing.
This match flattered to deceive, but ended in a goalless draw. This means that there will be a replay at Old Trafford, in a weekend they should be resting.
For the Reds Devils, who like Wolves are in the last 32 of the Europa League, it means that by the 1st of February, when they play again, they will have played a minimum of 18 games in 63 days - and even more should they eventually reach the fourth round.
Middlesbrough vs Tottenham Hotspurs
Tottenham face a replay after an organised Middlesbrough team held them to a 1 all draw. Lucas Moura was able to spare their blushes as they battled to unlock a resolute defense after Ashley Fletcher had given them an early lead.
With Liverpool next, this result leaves Mourinho, again, with more questions than answers about his side, and his ability to get more out of this talented squad that let ex manager, Mauricio Pochettino down earlier this season.
Hopefully, they will improve before the Reds come visiting.
Liverpool vs Everton
This was a tale of a team who can do no wrong at the moment, and a team searching for consistency.
While Liverpool made changes to their starting 11, Everton fielded their first team, hoping to use the opportunity to send their better rivals out of the competition and end their 22 years winless streak against their neighbours. It did not pan out as they'd imagined as they were at the end of a 1-0 loss at Anfield.
A sublime screamer from Curtis Jones virtually snuffed out any will to fight after they had earlier started like a house on fire, but failing to find the net.
From Liverpool’s point of view, the only downer was the injury to James Milner in the 9th minutes of the game. They would keep their fingers crossed, hoping that it is not a serious one.
Salah, Mane, van Dijk, Alison, Trent, Robertson, etc who were all rested will be expected to be fresh for the weekend's game against Tottenham Hotspur.
Teams like Watford, which started the game against Tranmere Rovers brilliantly, leading 3-0 at some point, were pegged back before the final whistle. It is true that it is 11 vs 11 and men against men, but how can you explain that a premier league team with seasoned footballers could squander a 3 goal advantage to a league 1 struggling team. This is not to take anything away from Tranmere who fought and pushed till the end. But even they would know that this result would not have been possible against more serious PL teams.
Sheffield Wednesday brushed aside Brighton at the Amex stadium, while Fulham, another championship team swept off Aston Villa to progress to the next round of the competition.
Even though Newcastle took the lead first through Miguel Almiron, they could not take the game by the scruff of the neck as they ended up drawing the game to Rochdale. Rochdale who are 3 points awaysm from the relegation zone managed to sneak a goal in 11 minutes from time through 40 year old, Aaron Wilbraham. The Magpies will loathe the result which see them play a replay in their bid to qualify with a really depleted squad.
Norwich were emphatic in their 4-2 triumph over Preston at Deepdale.
Southampton were victorious over championship's Huddersfield thanks to goals from Will Smallbone and Jake Vokins. While, Jay Rodriguez kept on his form to strike twice and give Burnley a 4-2 win over Peterborough with Erik Pieters and Jeff Hendrick also on target for the Clarets.
There were two goals for Philip Billing, and goals from Callum Wilson and Dominic Solanke which ensured safe passage for Bournemouth as they cruised to a 4-0 win over Luton.
Leicester despatched Wigan to reach the 4th round. Goals from Tom Pearce (own goal) and Harvey Barnes ensured there were to be no upset. Sheffield United knocked out the lowest ranked team in this season's competition, Fylde to go onto the next round.
The last match of the day saw WestHampton send Gillingham out of the competition with goals from Pablo Formals and Zabaleta.
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