FA Cup: Arsenal and Manchester City comfortably advance to fourth round, Manchester United leave it late
The third round of the FA Cup had got underway on Friday night with Liverpool being held to a 2-2 draw at Exeter City. Most of the Premier League sides played today with title-chasing rivals Arsenal and Manchester City both paired with clubs from the same division.
Arsenal 3-1 Sunderland
Arsenal didn’t get off to a good start to their Cup defence as the Black Cats took the lead in the 17th minute. A back pass from Kieran Gibbs saw Laurent Koscielny fail to control the ball under pressure and Jeremain Lens pounced to steal the ball and take a shot to beat Petr Cech and give Sam Allardyce’s side the lead.
But Arsenal soon came back into the game on the counter-attack through Joel Campbell. Alex Iwobi found Theo Walcott in the buildup and the English forward took the ball to the goalline on the left before crossing the ball back at the last moment with his left foot to find Campbell whose first-time shot found the bottom corner.
Sunderland came close in the second half when Steven Fletcher‘s header near the six-yard box from a DeAndre Yedlin cross hit the bar. But Arsene Wenger rang in the substitutions and Aaron Ramsey gave the Gunners the lead in the 72nd minute just minutes after coming on. A one-two between Hector Bellerin and Joel Campbell saw Bellerin draw a defender out and cut it back to Ramsey who had made an unmarked run into the box to score.
Arsenal then made it 3-1 on another counter-attack when Bellerin’s through ball right across the box was slotted home by French striker Olivier Giroud. The pass was not dealt with by either the goalkeeper or the defence. Giroud also had a penalty claim waved away just minutes later.
Eventually, the Gunners managed to keep their dream of a third consecutive FA Cup alive as Sunderland failed to register a win at the Emirates Stadium yet again.
Norwich City 0-3 Manchester City
The Canaries had been knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round in the previous two seasons. And things didn’t turn out well in this campaign either as they were knocked out by Manchester City.
They had started well with Dorrans' free kick going wide before Jonny Howson’s long range shot was off target. After sustained pressure from the visiting side that saw a number of corner kicks being awarded, Sergio Aguero finally gave Manchester City the lead in the 16th minute. Assisted by Raheem Sterling, the Argentine striker’s shot from the centre of the box beat goalkeeper John Ruddy to give Manuel Pellegrini’s side the lead.
Kelechi Iheanacho then doubled the lead for the Cityzens with a shot to the bottom right corner. This time, it was Aguero with the assist to give the 19-year-old his fifth goal of the season in all competitions.
The second half saw Norwich City try to get back into the game but the Canaries failed to make the best of the opportunities presented to them. And they were punished late in the second half when substitute Kevin De Bruyne made it 3-0. A shot from a difficult angle found the back of the net after he was found inside the box by Jesus Navas.
Pellegrini’s side eventually managed to keep a clean sheet to advance to the next round of the FA Cup.
Manchester United 1-0 Sheffield United
The Red Devils had lost only once in 36 FA Cup matches against a club from the lower leagues (Leeds United beat them 1-0 in the third round in 2010) and as much as they were frustrated for most of the game, a penalty in injury time saw them go through with a narrow 1-0 win and avoid a replay at Bramall Lane.
With the match goalles after 92 agonising minues for the Old Trafford faithful, Memphis Depay won a penalty after he was fouled in the box by Dean Hammond. Wayne Rooney stepped up and scored to ensure the Red Devils qualified for the fourth round.
Other FA Cup results (EPL sides)
Southampton 1-2 Crystal Palace
West Ham 1-0 Wolves
Birmingham 1-2 Bournemouth
Watford 1-0 Newcastle
Everton 2-0 Dagenham & Redbridge
West Brom 2-2 Bristol City
Doncaster 1-2 Stoke City
Wycombe 1-1 Aston Villa