FA Cup Third Round Saturday: Leeds United Earn Replay Against Arsenal, Newcastle United Falls To Stevenage In Busy Day Of Fixtures

Liverpool's trip to Old Trafford to take on 11-time FA Cup Champions Manchester United dominates a total of 32 FA Cup third round matches that will take place in England this weekend.

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Stevenage Vs. Newcastle United: David Slays Goliath In Biggest Giant Killing Of FA Cup Third Round

The final whistle has blown at Broadhall Way in Hertfordshire where a packed but rather small crowd has witnessed Stevenage run out 3-1 winners against Newcastle United in the day's biggest upset. 15th in League Two, Stevenage were by far the dominate side on the day while Newcastle looked a shell of their former eighth-in-the-Premier-League-selves. 

One could argue that Stevenage's first goal was a gratuitous piece of luck when Stacy Long's edge of the box shot deflected off of Newcastle defender Mike Williamson and past Tim Krul, but that excuse fails when goals two and three are scored by the Boro to see off the Toon in grand fashion. 

For Newcastle, a poor performance from Alan Smith in midfield witnessed Cheick Tiote replace him yet Tiote himself was sent off because of a poor challenge on Jon Ashton in the 71st. A strong performance from Joey Barton wasn't enough to give Newcastle a result and although his 92nd minute strike from long range pulled Newcastle within one, Stevenage's Peter Winn took it upon himself to score a third and end any hopes of a Newcastle come back in stoppage time. With the now famous win at home, Stevenage announce their name to the world football community and book a spot in the fourth round. 


FA Cup Third Round Saturday: Eight Premier League Sides Through To Fourth Round

First, a report on the expected. Bolton Wanderers needed to bring on Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander to beat Conference side York City, but two goals after the 80th minute saw the home side through, 2-0. Blackburn found a win over Championship high-flyers Queens Park Rangers through David Hoilett, 1-0. West Ham were sitting easy over Championship side Barnsley after Jonathan Spector's first-half goal, but they still appreciated Frederic Piquionne's injury-time addition to give them the 2-0 win.

Fulham, Everton, and Birmingham City all thoroughly decimated their opponents. Fulham dismantled League One side Peterborough 6-2, helped along with a hat-trick by Diomansy Kamara. Everton took the spoils over Championship Scunthorpe, 5-1, with five different players on the score sheet. Birmingham City took care of yet another Championship team, finishing off Millwall 4-1.

Neither Aston Villa or Wigan Athletic could give their supporters a comfortable win, however. Wigan allowed Championship Hull City two goals in the last twenty minutes, but still came away winners, 3-2. Aston Villa's new loanee, Kyle Walker, opened the scoring against Championship side Sheffield United, and Marc Albrighton's second gave Villa a 2-0 lead at the half. But a soft penalty allowed the Blades back into the match early in the second, with the visitors on the back foot for much of the rest of the match. Stiliyan Petrov, making up for his miss in front of an open net, gave Villa a third in injury time, and the Villa are through to the next round, 3-1.

Wolverhampton, Stoke City and Arsenal all face replays. Arsenal needed a 90th minute penalty to force another chance against Championship side Leeds, but they can't be looking forward to the match at Elland Road. Wolves went ahead against Championship Doncaster Rovers before letting them take the lead, but again, a penalty forced the replay, 2-2. Stoke grabbed an equalizer against Championship Cardiff City just before the break, but were unable to find the win, 1-1.

Blackpool, West Bromwich Albion, and Sunderland are the first Premier League sides to fall out of the FA Cup. The Baggies fell to Championship side Reading 1-0. Blackpool and Sunderland both lost to League One sides, with the Tangerines falling 2-0 to Southampton and Sunderland losing 2-1 to Notts County at the Stadium of Light.

One of the bigger surprises of the day was Burton Albion's 2-1 win over Middlesbrough. Championship side Boro were ahead in the 58th minute, but lost the lead to a brace by Shaun Harad, with the second coming in the fourth minute of injury time. League Two Burton are through to the next round.

Stevenage vs. Newcastle is up next, with Liverpool, Manchesters United and City, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur all to play tomorrow.


FA Cup Third Round Saturday: Not A Lot Of Giant Killing Going On

Much to the dismay of the announcers on FSC, Sheffield United have failed to make their mark against Aston Villa thus far. Villa's newest signing, Kyle Walker, the loanee from Tottenham Hotspur, opened the scoring in the 9th minute. Ashley Young and Marc Albrighton then combined to put the visitors up 2-0 at the half. But with the Villa infamous this season for their last minute concessions, can the Championship Blades come back with the kill? After all, Sheffield United started off the second with a converted penalty, and the score is now 2-1.

Elsewhere, Villa rivals Birmingham City defeated Millwall 4-1, putting the first Premier League side through to the next round. Bolton have failed to score against Conference side York City, although one can't imagine that continuing. Cardiff had the lead at the Britannia, but Stoke equalized through Tuncay just before the break. Everton are leading Scunthorpe 2-0 through Louis Saha and Jermaine Beckford

Wolverhampton, meanwhile, after beginning the scoring, have gone down 2-1 to Championship side Doncaster Rovers. Another Championship side, Reading, are leading West Bromwich Albion 1-0. Blackpool have yet to make an impact at Southampton, with the League One side holding their own in a 0-0 draw.

Will the scorelines hold? Will giants fall?


Arsenal Vs. Leeds United: Leeds Again Have Captured Essence Of FA Cup By Drawing Arsenal

This is the allure of the FA Cup: Leeds United, with all of their past successes and rich history but with some struggles in recent years, have just drawn Arsenal at the Emirates by a score of 1-1. Through a second half penalty from Robert Snodgrass and a very late penalty from Cesc Fabregas, the tie will now head to Elland Road for a replay to settle matters. 

Brave, determined, organized, tight and effective are all words that could describe Leeds' performance on Saturday as Arsenal, while dominate in possession, lacked the sharpness (until late on) that has made them a title contender in this year's Premier League title race. 

No stranger to FA Cup ties facing big opponents (Leeds beat Manchester United and drew Tottenham last year), Simon Grayson's tactics complimented and set up his side perfectly to compete in a tough away match facing a dangerous opponent. Those directions? Defend, sure, but keep enough quality up top to break on the counter effectively. Through Robert Snodgrass and Luciano Becchio, Leeds had just enough attacking options forward to hold up the ball and allow the deep-sitting midfielders of Leeds to get forward when Arsenal's attacks broke down. 

The Whites defended well throughout the full 90 through Andy O'Brien and Alex Bruce and it was only the introduction of Theo Walcott's pace that was finally able to force Ben Parker into the foul that allowed Fabregas to equalize. It would be difficult to pick out a single brilliant performance and award a man of the match to a Leeds player because the team gelled so well together on the day. However, Kasper Schmeichel's performance again proved he's a class keeper that's destined for the Premier League. Time after time he saved from Arsenal shots that were goal bound and kept his team in the game. 

While so many bemoaned this weekend's FA Cup third round fixture list, fittingly, it was the weekend's first match that proved what kind of moments this tournament can and will still provide. In what this author considered a classic, Leeds draw at Arsenal again helped to prove that form, league position and reputation all get chucked out of the window when the FA Cup is at its best. 


Arsenal Vs. Leeds United: Late Cesc Fabregas Penalty Levels Score At The Emirates

Arsenal haven't been at their sharpest, but have produced some quality moments in attack in the game's final 15 minutes. Continuing to probe down the right flank through Andrey Arshavin and Theo Walcott, Arsenal were able to test the Leeds defense on multiple occasions yet the Whites stood firm. 

Arsenal finally found a goal when Ben Parker pulled back Theo Walcott in the box and a penalty was awarded. Cesc Fabregas took the duty of penalty taker and struck hard down the middle finally beating the brilliant Kasper Schmeichel. The Arsenal attack isn't finished just yet as they continue to push on for the winner. 

Denilson came close with a well hit strike just outside the box but Schmeichel was again there to make an incredible finger tip save. With only minutes left before the final whistle, Leeds look to have done enough to force a replay at Elland Road a week from Tuesday to settle the contest and award the deserving side a spot in the fourth round. 


Arsenal Vs. Leeds United: Robert Snodgrass Penalty Gives Leeds 0-1 Lead In Early Moments Of Second Half

Over 8,000 strong traveling Leeds fans just blew the roof off of the Emirates when Robert Snodgrass converted from the spot to open up the second half. Leeds defended well during the first half and were able to break on Arsenal after yet another attack was stifled by the Leeds defense led by Alex Bruce and Andy O'Brien. 

When Max Gradel surged into the Arsenal box and then cut back towards the center of the pitch, a clumsy Denilson challenge sent Gradel flying and an obvious penalty was awarded. Snodgrass stepped up and slotted to the left of Wojciech Szczesny who got a hand to the strike but was unable to keep it out. 

Cesc Fabregas has entered the match for Arsenal, replacing Alex Song as the home side, now on the front foot, continue to attack down the right channel in search for an equalizer. Now in the 65th, the Leeds support remain in good voice while the 11 on the pitch continue to pick and chose their moments to move forward. One such moment witnessed a Luciano Becchio header rocket towards Szczesny's goal only for the keeper to make a last ditch save to keep the score 0-1 to Leeds United. 


Arsenal Vs. Leeds United: Whites Defending Brilliantly, Alex Song's Head Is A Sponge

In a rather open and exciting match, the weekend's first of infinity FA Cup third round proper contests, Leeds United have man'd up at the Emirates and are currently doing their best Manchester City impression: holding the Gunners scoreless at home. 

The difference between the richest club in the world and the Championship's fifth best club however, is that Leeds United have looked the part of contender in this match, have failed to just sit back and absorb Arsenal's pressure and look to get forward when opportunities present themselves. Backed by a vocal support who have traded the crisp Yorkshire air for the smog of the Capital, Leeds have defended brilliantly in the contest's opening 30 minutes. 

United were forced to clear the ball off of Kasper Schmeichel's line not once, but four times in succession while Arsenal pushed for their opener. Schmeichel's quick reaction saves have rescued Leeds on more than one occasion as Arsenal, through Andrey Arshavin, Niklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh, continue to press. As the match approaches the interval, the only other glaring observation is just how sponge-like the head of Alex Song has become. 


Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey Returns To Squad For FA Cup Tie With Leeds United

Aaron Ramsey has returned to Arsenal's squad after his loan spell at Championship side Nottingham Forest and looks set to play some part in the Gunners Saturday Cup tie at home to Leeds United. As previously speculated, Arsene Wenger will rotate his squad after a hectic Christmas fixture list that witnessed Premier League clubs play four matches in eight days.

The Wales internatioanl was sent to Nottingham Forest by Wenger to complete a full recovery from the horrific leg break he suffered when Arsenal played away to Stoke City last Febuary. During his short stay at Forest, Ramsey saw time in five games, started two of them but has now returned to Arsenal just last Wednesday.

Cesc Fabregas, Jack Wilshere, Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri look to be rested and Bacary Sagna will miss due to suspension.


FA Cup Third Round Proper: Manchester United Vs. Liverpool, Arsenal Vs. Leeds United Highlight Weekend Fixtures

Goodbye Premier League, hello FA Cup third round, at least for the weekend. As the Premier League once again gives way to the world's oldest knockout competition, football fans somehow find a way to again be treated by a few marquee match ups, albeit ones coming quite early in the competition. As unpredictable as it is dramatic, the FA Cup continues to produce memorable matches year after year - the idea that with practice and repetition, quality is produced. After all, the tournament's inaugural winner, 'Wanderers', first lifted the trophy in 1872.

Fast forwarding some 139 years, Chelsea are the holders and Manchester United have lifted the trophy the most, 11 times. And while the 'giant killers' are currently sharpening their blades to claim a Premier League scalp, it'll be two of English football's biggest and most successful that will dominate most of the pre-weekend hype as Saturday approaches.  

But first, Leeds United, slayers of Manchester United last year, will travel to the Emirates in North London for a 7:45 AM Eastern start before 23 clubs kickoff at 3:00 PM England time. Arsene Wenger will likely shift his squad somewhat as the Gunners were unable to unlock a tight Manchester City defense on Wednesday at home. The 0-0 kept Arsenal in third while fans bemoaned City's rigid defending. 

Currently fifth in the Championship, Leeds United would love a good Cup run to compliment their league form this season, yet it's unlikely Simon Grayson will risk his strongest eleven with promotion to the Premier League in reach. Further proof of the form that's witnessed Leeds reach a playoff spot: the Peacocks have lost only once in their last 13 matches. 

The third rounds tastiest fixture of course features Manchester United at home to Liverpool on Sunday. The match will be covered live here at SB Nation Soccer as it pits the participants of the 1995-96 Final and the two most successful English clubs against each other once again. United have enjoyed more success than Liverpool in the league as of late yet it was Liverpool who won 1-0 at Anfield the last time these two sides met in the Cup - 2006's encounter that was largely remembered for the match in which then United player Alan Smith suffered a horrific leg break. Liverpool went on the lift the Cup that year against a difficult West Ham side but they've yet to claim a major piece of silverware since that triumph.

While Liverpool's 2006 exploits were fruitful, a further stroll down memory lane takes us to the white Armani suits of 1996, the last Liverpool appearance of Ian Rush, and a commanding midfield performance from Roy Keane. Keane was joined by United teammate Nicky Butt who were among the throng who man marked Liverpool's Steve McManaman while Macca's teammates Jamie Redknapp and John Barnes were equally as effective in quieting United's Eric Cantona, the eventual goal scorer and match winner. Although the match wasn't an instant classic, it's looked upon fondly by supporters of English football, if not for the play on the field, then for the recognizable nostalgia.

Elsewhere, Blackburn host up and coming (literally) Queens Park Rangers at Ewood Park in a match that could spell upset as QPR are currently flying through the Championship and looking to make a return to the top flight next season. The two sides met in the 2005-06 competition with Blackburn running out to a 3-0 win while oddly, QPR haven't won an FA Cup match since January, 2001. Since then, Rangers have lost nine and drawn five in the competition.

For a full list of FA Cup Third Round Proper matches click here and join SB Nation Soccer for live coverage of Arsenal Vs. Leeds United Saturday morning and Manchester United Vs. Liverpool on Sunday.

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