There were not many surprises in the FA Cup third round, but the shock results in the minority were certainly spectacular ones.
Manchester United remain 9/2 second favourites despite whimpering to a goalless draw against non league Burton Albion. This was the second time in as many seasons the Reds have been held by Conference opposition, although it will mean a lucrative payday for Nigel Clough’s side when the two sides replay at Old Trafford.
Middlesbrough were also held to a draw by Conference North side Nuneaton Borough. Former Leicester City apprentice Gez Murphy scored a 90 minute penalty to level matters after Gaizka Mendieta gave Boro the lead after 15 minutes.
Fulham became the first Premiership side to be dumped out of the Cup, going down 2-1 at home to League Two side Leyton Orient on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday proved to be a bad day for Premiership sides with Tottenham Hotspur the next victims. The perennial FA Cup underachievers surrendered a two goal lead at Leicester’s Walkers Stadium with the Foxes winning an entertaining match 3-2. Despite the stunning victory, Championship outfit Leicester remain 200/1 underdogs to win the Cup.
Elsewhere it was business as usual for the Premiership sides. Chelsea, favourites at 11/4 needed an 81 minute winner to see off plucky Huddersfield while 11/2 third favourites Arsenal had a late scare against battling Cardiff but clung on for a 2-1 victory.
Liverpool (13/2) were involved in a remarkable match with Luton Town, in which they found themselves 3-1 down after the break, although three goals in 12 minutes restored the Reds lead to 4-3, with Xabi Alonso scoring from inside his own half at the death for Liverpool’s fifth, a goal which earned one lucky punter over £25,000 after placing a bet on him achieving such a feat.
Blackburn dispatched QPR by a convincing 3-0 as did Bolton away at Watford, while struggling Sunderland managed the same against non league Northwich Victoria.
A host of ties could only muster a single goal in the Premiership sides favour, with 25/1 Newcastle edging past Mansfield, Gareth Barry’s goal being enough for Aston Villa (33/1) to see off Hull and 100/1 outsiders Portsmouth to win at Ipswich.
The third round isn’t over for Everton who drew 1-1 at Millwall, a scoreline repeated by West Brom against Reading and Wigan Athletic against Leeds. Birmingham City could only muster a goalless draw at League Two side Torquay United.
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