The third round of the FA Cup is one of the most magical weekends in English football, steeped in tradition with famous giant killings and upsets taking place up and down the country. Here is our review of the best action from 2017.
Rooney Surpasses Sir Bobby Charlton’s Record as Manchester United Thrash Reading
It was one of those moments we can argue over for years. It is hard to compare those footballers one has never seen in the flesh and who in decades past barely featured on the TV, then a medium in its infancy, against today’s superstars who are always on the box.
Against Reading in the third round of the FA Cup, and their excellent former Manchester United defender turned manager Jaap Stam, Wayne Rooney became the Red Devil’s joint all-time leading scorer, surely a gross travesty of justice.
Rooney registered his 249th United goal to match the 44-year-old record of Sir Bobby Charlton, who was there to witness the moment and appeared delighted, clapping warmly.
Anthony Martial added a second, with Marcus Rashford securing a brace. Reading were never really in it.
Yet, for me Rooney does not deserve to even lace the boots of the great Sir Bobby – a World Cup winner who played midfield to Rooney’s centre-forward.
I shall resist the temptation to put it in even starker perspective. Rooney is a decent enough performer, he can be proud of what he has achieved, perhaps I am being churlish, but I don’t think so.
Manchester City Turn On The Style To Beat West Ham 5-0 on Friday Evening
Over on the Blue half of Manchester City burst West Ham’s bubble with an emphatic display.
On the huge London Stadium pitch there was just so much room for silky passers, Toure, Silva and de Bruyne to play it was ridiculous. It took a soft penalty from Toure for City to grab a lead, but then the flood gates opened.
From a West Ham corner City passed it the length of the pitch, with home defender Havard Nordtveit getting the last touch into his own net under pressure from Raheem Sterling.
Then Silva gets one of the easiest goals of his career, given an eternity to slot it into the net from three yards out.
West Ham had a chance or two, should definitely have scored one, but they were well outplayed.
The mesmerising football rolled on into the second half, with Sergio Aguero flicking in a shot by Toure. And at that point everyone knew the game was up and promptly put the kids and the reserves on to gain experience. Just time for John Stones to head in his first for City and make it five.
Not West Ham’s finest hour.
Chelsea Bounceback from Tottenham Hotspur Defeat With Comfortable Afternoon at Stamford Bridge – while Arsenal again rely on Giroud at Preston
Chelsea too had a stroll in the park. They made nine changes yet still crushed Peterborough – Antonio Conte’s side had 20 shots by half time.
The final score was 4-1 – goals from Pedro, Michy Batshuayi, Willian and Pedro again against one from Tom Nicholls. The only downside was a red card for John Terry for bringing Angol down as the last man.
Arsenal overcame Preston at Deepdale though rather less convincingly. The Gunners fell behind to their Championship opponents when Callum Robinson took advantage of poor defending to finish from close range.
Robinson then had a goal disallowed before Aaron Ramsey equalised early in the second half. Olivier Giroud sealed it.
Spurs Ease Past Aston Villa Into Round Four – but Liverpool can’t break Plymouth resistance
Tottenham Hotspur struggled to get a shot on target in the first half against a solid Aston Villa.
But a game of football broke out in the second period and Spurs’ pressure was rewarded when full back Ben Davies somehow appeared in the centre forward position and guided a header into the corner of the net.
Son Heung-min then made it safe – Villa never really had a go and as a consequence did not deserve anything from the game.
At Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp put out a very young side who were frustrated by Plymouth Argyle. It ended a thoroughly forgettable 0-0 and the Reds must try again.
But fair dos to the Pilgrims – a replay will inject significant funds into the League Two club.
Elsewhere, there were upsets, West Bromwich Albion 1 Derby 2 and Stoke 0 Wolves 2, but the big boys march on.
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