Tuesday, January 10, 2023

FA Cup Results: Surprise Exits By Premier League Sides As Newcastle, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth Fall To Lower Division Sides; Hammers Finally Nail A Result; Streaking Manchester United Rolls Past Everton; Manchester City Demolishes Chelsea; Liverpool, Wolves and Leeds Face Replays; Arsenal Advances To Fourth Round Manchester City Matchup

A number of Premier League clubs rotated their sides for their third round FA Cup matches and some of those clubs will be ruing that decision. Newcastle has a squad this year that could actually have made some noise in the competition to the delight of long suffering fans. Manager Eddie Howe, however, made eight lineup changes and League One Sheffield Wednesday upset the Premier League’s presently third ranked club 2-1 in their Saturday FA Cup match. Newcastle dominated possession but it was Sheffield Wednesday, second in the third tier of English football, which controlled the scoreboard as it built a two-goal advantage before a goal by the Magpies’ Bruno Guimaraes proved too little, too late. Newcastle lost for the first time in any competition since August and Howe was left to express regret over his lineup decisions in comments after the match.

Another upset unfolded at Villa Park as League Two side Stevenage scored two goals in the final two minutes to shock Aston Villa 2-1. A penalty kick awarded upon a red card to Aston Villa’s Leander Dondecker tied the match for Stevenage in the 88th minute. Twenty-one year-old substitute Dean Campbell then won the match for the fourth-tier club with a 90th minute strike against ten-man Villa.

The shocking home loss to a lower-level side was even more surprising given the past record of tournament success that Aston Villa manger Unai Emery brings to his new club. The Spanish manager has won a record four Europa League titles but was unable to prevent an eighth consecutive first match defeat in the FA Cup by the Villans.

Nottingham Forest Manager Steve Cooper paid the price for fielding a lineup with 11 changes against Championship division Blackpool. The Forest subs were not up to the task as Cooper’s squad fell 4-1 at the home of a club which is poised to be relegated from England’s second tier. Nottingham Forest was presumably resting players in advance of a Carabao Cup quarterfinal match on Wednesday but couldn’t have expected how poorly their benchwarmers would have performed.

Perhaps less surprising than the losses of other Premier League clubs was the departure of Bournemouth from the FA Cup. The Premier League could well be saying goodbye to struggling Bournemouth and welcoming their FA Cup opponent Burnley back to the league next season. Relegated last season, the Clarets are currently dominating the Championship division, sitting atop the second-tier table as they seek promotion back to the Premier League. Burnley continued its good form in a 4-2 home win at Turf Moor. Bournemouth, meanwhile, made critical errors leading to three of the Burnley goals as the Cherries lost a fifth consecutive match across all competitions. Burnley’s Manuel Benson and Anass Zaroury each scored a brace to capitalize on the Cherries’ mistakes.

Leeds narrowly avoided defeat to a lower tier opponent when 18-year-old substitute Sonny Perkins scored in injury time to force a replay against Championship division Cardiff City. The lowest scoring team in the Championship accumulated a two-goal lead against their Premier League opponent before Rodrigo scored Leeds’s first goal at the 65-minute mark. Rodrigo would later miss a potential game tying penalty before Perkins salvaged things for manager Jesse Marsch’s Whites.

Liverpool and Wolverhampton will also be replaying their match after a deflected ball glanced into the net off Wolverhampton’s Hwang Hee-Chan to tie matters in the 66th minute of a 2-2 draw at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp will once again have opportunity to complain of schedule congestion as his side will face an additional contest to settle their third round matchup.

Manchester United manager Eric ten Hag fielded a strong lineup which was tested by the determined effort of an overmatched Everton squad in a 3-1 win for the Red Devils at Old Trafford. Everton, despite losing for a sixth time in seven matches, kept the match in play until Marcus Rashford’s injury time penalty kick put the match out of reach for the Toffees. Rashford has scored in five consecutive appearances as the red hot Devils have won 10 of their last 11 matches across all competitions.

Brentford sat several of their key players, including forwards Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumu, and the result was something of a buzzkill as the Bees fell 1-0 in an FA Cup derby match with West Ham. The Hammers Said Benrahma scored the winner with West Ham’s first and only shot on target in the 79th minute of a tedious contest.

Crystal Palace provided some levity with comical errors providing both of its opponent’s goals in a 2-1 loss to Southampton which swept the Eagles out of the Cup. After an Odsonne Edouard goal had given the Eagles an early lead, Palace faced a free kick from Saints dead ball specialist James Ward-Prowse. The ball fell untouched into the six-yard box, unmolested by the heads of leaping Palace defenders, to then bounce over the outstretched arm of an out of position Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita. Guaita then compounded his poor day by giving the ball away in his own end for the winning goal by the Saints’ Adam Armstrong. The home supporters at Selhurst Park were less than amused by their heroes’ howlers.

Manchester City heaped further indignity on Chelsea’s troubled season by easily disposing of the Blues in a 4-0 whitewashing at the Etihad. Manchester City had defeated their opponent just three days earlier in a more competitive league battle. In contrast to Thursday’s hard earned win, however, Manchester City waltzed to a win on Sunday as Chelsea were poor throughout. Manchester City Manager Pep Guardiola rested Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and goalkeeper Ederson as the deep roster of the defending Premier League champions dealt Chelsea their earliest FA Cup exit in 25 years. Riyad Mahrez scored a brace, World Cup winner Julian Alvarez successfully converted a penalty, and England international Phil Foden also made the scoresheet for Manchester City in the lopsided contest. Chelsea managed just a single shot on target in losing for a fifth time in their last seven matches.

League leading Arsenal cruised to a 3-0 win over Oxford FC to set up a tantalizing fourth round match with Manchester City at the Etihad as the top two teams in the Premier League table will face each other in the domestic cup. Eddie Nketiah scored two goals in the Gunners’ defeat of Oxford as the 21-year-old continues to successfully deputize for the injured Gabriel Jesus. 

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