The FA Cup has been underway for months, but England's top teams joined up this week, dropping into the third round along the lower division teams that played their way through the earlier rounds. The draw didn't produce a lot of opportunity for trademark cup magic, with Manchester City and Arsenal getting games against relegation-fodder Premier League teams, while Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City drew each other (they play on Sunday).
Liverpool's draw against Exeter City on Friday was a nice moment, and it's turned out to be the biggest moment of the weekend so far. On Saturday, the big teams took care of business -- even the Championship teams that were up against lower-division sides.
Manchester United are very bad and also they won
Let's take a look at the shot chart from Manchester United's game against Sheffield united. The filled in circles are shots on target and the empty ones are shots off target.
Credit: ESPN FC gamecenter
That one shot on target is a goal by Wayne Rooney from the penalty spot in the 93rd minute. Referee Jonathan Moss opted to spare us a replay by giving a penalty for a nice piece of theatric embellishment by Memphis Depay. The second half at least had some shooting attempts, but the first half was perhaps the worst half of high-level soccer ever played.
Halftime xG map for Manchester United - Sheffield United. Regrets: watching this pic.twitter.com/wQ04xdQSd4— Michael Caley (@MC_of_A) January 9, 2016
You can't play soccer in a lake
They couldn't play at Newport County due to a waterlogged pitch. Incredibly, they had grounds staff bothering to work on this and a referee inspection. It was never particularly close to being playable.
Non-league Eastleigh stay alive
The FA Cup's lone remaining non-league representative, Eastleigh, had a similarly poor pitch.
But it wasn't quite as bad as Newport County's, and they opted to play on against Bolton Wanderers. They nearly pulled out the win too, but Bolton scored a late equalizer, forcing a replay that should give both a much-needed quick injection of cash for a television broadcast.
The referee was almost put in a tough spot in the second half when a pitch invader ran into the box during live play. This shot was cleared off the line, and it might have been disallowed had it gone in, thanks to this dummy.
Eastleigh pitch invader pic.twitter.com/FcpZudl8OX— Callum Reavell (@CallumReavelll) January 9, 2016
Saturday's most fun thing: a cat
In a day lacking in exciting games, everyone was really happy to see this cat run onto the field at Goodison Park.
Credit: Dave Thompson/Getty Images
Cats: the real MVP.
Aston Villa fans have lost it
Wycombe Wanderers are a really cool team. They barely stayed up on the final day in League Two a season and a half ago, and they probably would have gone out of business if they were relegated. They're fully owned by their supporters, a major rarity in professional soccer. So their draw against Aston Villa was really cool ... except for Aston Villa supporters. They've seen a lot of awful play this season and they weren't happy about failing to beat a fourth division team.
There were no upsets
So much for the magic of the cup. Exeter City earned a replay against Liverpool and Wycombe did the same against Villa, but that was it for anything approaching a big upset. Every other Premier League team that lost did so at the hands of another Premier League team. The only win for a lower division team against a higher division one was Walsall's victory over Brentford. Hopefully next round is a bit more interesting.
Wycombe Wanderers 1-1 Aston Villa
Arsenal 3-1 Sunderland
Birmingham City 1-2 AFC Bournemouth
Brentford 0-1 Walsall
Colchester United 2-1 Charlton Athletic
Doncaster Rovers 1-2 Stoke City
Eastleigh 1-1 Bolton Wanderers
Everton 2- Dagenham and Redbridge
Hartlepool United 1-2 Derby County
Huddersfield Town 2-2 Reading
Hull City 1-0 Brighton and Hove Albion
Ipswich Town 2-2 Portsmouth
Leeds United 2-0 Rotherham United
Middlesbrough 1-2 Burnley
Newport County vs. Blackburn Rovers -- Postponed
Northampton Town 2-2 MK Dons
Norwich City 0-3 Manchester City
Nottingham Forest 1-0 Queens Park Rangers
Peterborough United 2-0 Preston North End
Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Fulham
Southampton 1-2 Crystal Palace
Watford 1-0 Newcastle United
West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Bristol City
West Ham United 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Bury 0-0 Bradford City
Manchester United 1-0 Sheffield United