This weekend it was the FA Cup 3rd round, and it didn’t get off to a great start for Liverpool. They went 1-0 down against League 2 Exeter City as Nichols slid home a lovely cross in the 9th minute. Sinclair then equalised for the Reds smashing home a bobbling ball in the area before Holmes scored direct from a corner. With Benteke non-existent up front it was left to left back Brad Smith to smash home 20 minutes from the end. Personally I think Liverpool got what they deserved. They played a team with only Benteke the real notable name (and he didn’t do much) and the average age was just 22. They played an unfit left back at centre back and in my view they were lucky to draw
On Saturday, many teams came close to a giant killing but there wasn’t a notable one. Wycombe drew 1-1 with out of form Villa and Eastleigh (the only non league team left) had the same scoreline against Bolton. In the other big fixtures there were no surprises. Bournemouth beat Birmingham 2-1, Man City beat Norwich 3-0 and Arsenal came from behind to advance past Sunderland 3-1. However, it didn’t all go smoothly. It took Man Utd 90 boring minutes to beat Sheffield United with a Wayne Rooney penalty and West Brom only just saved themselves with a 95th minute James Morrison goal to take their tie with Bristol City to a reply.
Then came the shock. Swansea were expected to see off Oxford easily and seemed to be doing that when Montero backheeled home a lovely flick from Gomis in the 23rd minute. However, just before half time Bartley was judged to have taken down Macdonald in the area (although there wasn’t much contact) and Sercombe coolly put the penalty away. After half time Oxford stepped up a gear and just three minutes after the break Roofe curled a shot from 20 yards into the net. Then 10 minutes later, Oxford broke from a Swansea corner and Roofe hit a shot off the keepers hand and it spiralled into the net. However, it wasn’t all over. 25 minutes from time Gomis fired home after a lovely cross by Cork but Oxford held on. In the other big game Chelsea beat Scunthorpe 2-0 with goals from Costa and Loftus-Cheek.
All of this shows that you need to put at least a half strength team out against weaker opposition otherwise they’ll have a big chance of winning. It’s very disrespectful for teams like Swansea and Liverpool to field teams with 10 changes and they have rightly been punished for it. However, Chelsea picked a mostly full strength team and won comfortably. Welcome to the FA Cup Mr Klopp!