Shocks are part and parcel of the FA Cup magic, but they were few and far between this weekend. Only one Premier League fell to lower-league opposition. Given Sheffield United’s record in cup competitions (five victories over Premier League teams in two years) and QPR’s pressing concerns elsewhere, it hardly provided much of a surprise.
Getty ImagesJordan Mansfield
Touches of class allow Manchester United to see off Yeovil Town
United manager Louis van Gaal watched his charges trudge through the opening hour of a rather slippery trip to Yeovil. Kieffer Moore even missed a gilt-edged chance to give the home side the lead. It proved an influential moment as United conjured two genuine bits of quality in the game – Ander Herrera’s well-taken opener and Angel Di Maria’s tidy finish in stoppage time – to leave Huish Park with a place in the fourth round.
Man Utd via Getty ImagesMatthew Peters
Milner saves Manchester City from Sheffield Wednesday upset
There were no reprisals of City's 7-0 victory during a Capital One Cup tie in September during this tense affair. Sheffield Wednesday came with a plan and worked diligently to protect Atdhe Nuhiu’s early opener. City huffed and puffed until Milner equalized with a low drive through Chris Kirkland’s legs. Milner even spared his teammates from the unappealing prospect of a replay with his winner in second-half stoppage time. It proved an important intervention from the makeshift forward to avoid a replay and send City through.
Getty ImagesJan Kruger
FA Cup holders Arsenal start defense with assured victory over Hull City
This reprisal of the final last May lacked the same vigor. Arsenal struck early through Per Mertesacker to grab firm control of the tie against a Hull side more focused on fighting relegation. Alexis Sanchez procured the deserved second after the interval to reinforce the gulf between the teams. The only genuine problem posed to Arsenal on this evening came from Arsene Wenger’s perpetually troublesome zipper.
Getty ImagesPaul Gilham
Blyth Spartans take advantage of their day out
No team captured the imagination quite like the seventh-tier side did on Saturday. The collection of bar keeps, day laborers and personal assistants delighted the Croft Park faithful by cobbling together a two-goal lead over Birmingham City by halftime. Birmingham responded with three in the second half to advance to the fourth round, but the memories of that first-half performance will linger for some time to come.