FA cup third round weekend and it brought the usual tales of upsets, controversy and near misses. But to start with; the first impact of the three big new premiership signings, Ba, Sturridge and Cole. I though they all performed very well under the pressure of a new move. Ba and Sturridge made the perfect start for strikers with two and one goals respectively. Now although this was against lower standard opposition both have performed in the prem before. Also Joe Cole got both assists in West Ham’s draw with Man U and seems to have settled in well, and I’m very happy for him because I’ve always liked him and thought he was a good bloke.
Now to the performances. Obviously I can’t talk about all the games, so I’ll only pick out the highlights. First up the very first game of the round Brighton v Newcastle. Now I’m not sure it was really a shock, in fact I’d say Brighton were favourites, but it was still a premiership team beaten by lower league opposition so it’s worthy of a mention. The stars of the weekend were without doubt the three conference teams; Luton, Macclesfield and Mansfield. Luton and Macclesfield in particular were fantastic with wins over championship sides Wolves and Cardiff, with Macclesfield even coming from a goal down in a famous performance. Mansfield, although they lost to Liverpool, and were completely dominated in the first half, gave an excellant second half display that has rightly won them a lot of plaudits. Although the game has been rather overshadowed by Lewis Suarez’s handball in the Liverpool winner, which we probably wouldn’t be talking about if it had been anyone else.
Also getting good results was Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth who drew with Wigan, a game many people were looking at for an upset. Championship sides Blackpool and Bolton both threw away leads against Fulham and Sunderland, but I think have every chance in the replays. Crawley really looked like causing an upset at Reading, especially after scoring in 14 seconds, not the quickest FA cup goal, that is held by their oppositions Jimmy Kebe. However Crawley rather petered out in the second half and Reading ended up with a comfortable win. Also a brave attempt by Hastings united, who even though they lost 4-1 to Middlesborough did manage to get a goal, which is something the fans will remember for a long time.
In the fourth round draw, there weren’t that many stand out ties. The obvious exception is Luton going to Norwich, which will be a great day for them. And if Wigan can overcome Bournemouth, which is by no means a certainty, then they’ll face a tricky trip to Macclesfield, which would also be a potentially great tie. On a personal note, another Liverpool trip to Oldham could be quite nice seeing as we trounced them 5-1 last year, and hopefully its a chance to bag a few more goals. Finally is anyone else really bored of Stoke v Man City? They played in the final a couple of years ago, I’m fairly sure the played last year, and have been drawn to play each other again. Seriously guys can we get them playing something else instead, because apart from Crouchy scoring a decent goal, nothing of interest happens in those games.