SIXTY four teams took part in the 3rd round of the FA Cup at the weekend, a competition first contested 140 years ago when Wanderers beat the Royal Engineers 1-0 in the 1872 final.
Forty-three different clubs have lifted the coveted trophy to date. So will a new one win the star prize this term or will one of the previous recipients triumph again?
We shall see. Tie of the round – the Manchester derby – went in favour of United by 3-2 – revenge for that 6-1 PL defeat last year.
City had Vincent Kompany sent-off early on and Paul Scholes returned for United. Fulham, with a Clint Dempsey hat-trick, clipped Charlton 4-0 in the London showdown…
Liverpool, with a rare Andy Carroll goal, beat Oldham 5-1…
Chelsea thumped Portsmouth 4-0…
Arsenal with a ‘promised’ goal from re-signed Thierry Henry, pipped Leeds 1-0…
Simon Cox scored three in WBA’s 4-2 win over Cardiff and the dullest tie finished Birmingham 0 Wolves 0. League One side Swindon claimed the biggest scalp, knocking out Wigan 2-1….
NL Wrexham earned a replay at Brighton (1-1)… Macclesfield held Bolton 2-2… Sheffield Wednesday ousted West Ham 1-0… Crawley beat Bristol City and Stevenage defeated Reading, both by 1-0…
Notts County won 2-0 at Doncaster… and MK Dons drew 1-1 with QPR. Twenty-fours later the QPR board sacked manager Neil Warnock, the second PL boss dismissed this season (after Steve Bruce).
Unfortunately, Blue Square Premier teams Fleetwood and Tamworth lost 5-1 and 2-0 to Blackpool (for whom Matt Phillips struck a treble) and Everton respectively… gutsy Cheltenham succumbed 3-0 at Tottenham… and Sheffield United defeated the lowest ranked team in the round, Salisbury, 3-1.
The average third round attendance was the best in 30 years. The Emirates attracted the biggest crowd, 59,615… 46,808 saw the Manchester derby… 30,876 (21,500 below capacity) watched Newcastle beat Blackburn 2-1… there were 8,997 inside Coventry’s 32,600 Ricoh Arena to see Southampton win 2-1…
14,800 witnessed the Blues-Wolves yawn at St Andrew’s (capable of housing 30,000)… and both Brighton and MK Dons had record home crowds.
* Fourth round ties include Liverpool-Manchester United, Everton-Fulham, Arsenal-Aston Villa, Watford-Spurs, Sunderland-Middlesbrough, MK Dons/QPR-Chelsea, WBA-Norwich and Brighton/Wrexham-Newcastle.
No Cup surprises in Scotland but credit must go to plucky non-Leaguers Auchinlec Talbots, beaten 1-0 by Hearts. Ross County registered the biggest win, 7-0 v Stenhousemuir.
The LC semi-final first legs took place this week – Crystal Palace v Cardiff (Tuesday) and Manchester City v Liverpool (Wednesday).
* After beating Granada 5-1, Real Madrid lead Barcelona (1-1 with Espanyol) by five points at the top of La Liga.
* Barca’s Lionel Messi has won the 2011 Ballon d’Or – only the fourth player to win the award three times, after Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini and Marco van Basten.
* Ex-Ipswich footballer Jim Magilton has been appointed head coach of Melbourne Victory (Australia) until the end of the season. * In-form Leicester beat Wasps 29-11 to go fourth in Rugby’s Aviv Premiership.
* Andy Murray warmed up for the Australian Open (the first Grand Slam of 2012) by winning his first tennis tournament under new coach Ivan Lendl. He beat Alex Dolgopolov (Ukraine) in straight sets in the Brisbane International final.
* The World Darts Championship is underway at Lakeside and reigning champion Martin Adams started well with a first round win over Scott Mitchell.
* GB sailor Brian Thompson has helped break the record for the fastest circumnavigation of the world in a yacht: Banque Populaire V. The 14-man crew took 45 days, 13 hrs, 42 mins and 53 secs, beating the previous record by two days.
* The London Olympics start in 197 days time.
DID YOU KNOW?
The oldest Premiership manager is Sir Bobby Robson, aged 71 when in charge of Newcastle in 2004.