For most people, specifically outside of the UK, the FA Cup only really starts from Round 3 as most teams supported are in the Premier Division and are only thrown into the melting pot at this stage.
The FA Cup is steeped in tradition. Teams have battled to get their colours and names on this handsome trophy since its inception in 1871, some more successfully than others, like Manchester United who currently hold the record of 11 wins. Chelsea FC are the defending champions after beating Liverpool in the 2012 Final.
The FA Cup’s appeal relies mostly on the underdog getting one over the top league teams and putting in a “Roy of the Rovers”-type run in successive rounds. The favourites are always in the Top division but somehow the minnows often manage to progress to the 6th round and on occasion go all the way to the final.
3rd Round 2013 Highlights:
Newcastle travelled to Brighton & Hove Albion (Championship 2nd league) after the departure of their talisman Demba Ba for Chelsea. In all honesty, they probably wished they had all transferred to Chelsea as the Magpies went down 2 -0 and had Ameobi sent off in this fruitless effort. Manager Allan Pardew has had very little go his way since signing a long term contract with Newcastle.
Fulham – Blackpool: 2nd tier Blackpool went to Craven Cottage and scored first. Fulham’s poor form continued but they were able to salvage a draw and replay with a 79th minute Karagounis goal. Martin Jol can’t be feeling too comfortable in the hot seat despite capturing the services of Berbatov before the season began. Recent home form has been disappointing while the away form remains abysmal.
All Premier League clashes of interest included Chelsea’s demolition of Southampton. Demba Ba marked his arrival with a brace. Torres was rested and Ba made sure he applied the pressure immediately to the Spaniard. Southampton went ahead in the 22nd minute but Chelsea were relentless. Ba, Moses, Ivanovic and Lampard (pen) all scored. The rumour mill is rife regarding the future of Frank Lampard (34) with many tipping the Englishman for a departure to West Ham Utd at the end of the season. Lampard equalled the 2nd highest number of goals for Chelsea with this penalty strike, 193.
Manchester United travelled to West Ham Utd, a fixture the Red Devils may have been expected to win easily. The Hammers were undoubtedly lifted by the return of Joe Cole, who has made a string of bad decisions in terms of his career since leaving Chelsea but is looking the part in his first match for West Ham in almost 10 years. Manchester’s Cleverley scored first but the Hammers were level within 2 minutes with a Collins goal and then dominated the game. Collins scored again in the 59th minute but SAF played his trump card in the 68th minute and RVP didn’t disappoint. The Hammers travel to Old Trafford for the replay and bumper pay day if the stadium is full.
Liverpool played Mansfield, a Conference team (5th best league in the UK) and only narrowly won with a disputed handball goal by controversial Uruguayan striker Luis Suárez preventing Mansfield from earning a lucrative replay and share in the gate at Anfield.
Swansea and Arsenal played at an incredibly high tempo for 90 pulsating minutes. Swansea took the lead in the 57th minute (Michu) and it appeared as if they thought they could ride out the Gunners’ attacks to the final whistle. Arsenal were relentless in their attempt to score and did so twice, in a matter of minutes, Podolski (80th) Gibbs (82nd), both with fine finishes. Gibbs’ volley after interplay with Giroud was magnificent. Many Gunners fans would have thought they had the game in the bag but The Swans would not lie down and managed to work a superb equaliser in the 86th minute.
Thats the story of the guts and the glory of the FA Cup!