Twenty Nineteen Premier League sides enter the FA Cup this weekend when the monstrous tournament hits the third round proper.
[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup action ]
- Chelsea, Man City dominant in 3rd round; Crawley smash Leeds
- Man United beat Watford; Arsenal outlast Newcastle
- Leicester cruise; West Brom fall; 6th-tier Chorley’s Cupset
- Liverpool see off scrappy Villa youngsters; Wolves handle Palace
Finally, at 2:45 pm ET, the penultimate game of the weekend kicked off (REACP HERE) as Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion visited League Two side Newport County.
The weekend’s most intriguing event — Tottenham’s trip to the Rossett Park Stadium (REACP HERE), the home of 8th-tier minnow Marine — took place at 12 pm ET. 161 places separated the two sides, making this the largest gap between opponents in the 150-year history of the FA Cup. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 20,000 virtual tickets have been sold — the vast majority of which were purchased by Spurs fans — at $13 each, bringing more than a quarter-million dollars into Marine’s coffers. That figure should not only sustain the club for years to come, but also provide a massive boost their charitable work in the community just outside Liverpool.
For more information on this historic event, read the preview below.
The portion of the action featuring Premier League sides kicked off early on Sunday (RECAP HERE), as three sides — Chelsea, Manchester City and Leeds United — each faced opposition from the lower leagues of English football at 8:30 am ET.
Friday’s FA Cup third round tie between Aston Villa and Liverpool took place despite a COVID-19 outbreak amongst the hosts which led to a closing of Villa’s training ground.
[ FA CUP ROUNDUP: Leicester cruise; West Brom fall; 6th-tier Chorley’s Cupset ]
14 positive tests came back from Villa — nine among first-team players — and many other first-team players are self-isolating as they were close contacts to those who have COVID-19. Dean Smith and his entire first-team coaching staff were absent for Aston Villa – Liverpool on Friday, while U23 coach Mark Delaney managed a Villa team made up of purely U23 and U18 players who have not been in contact with the first team in recent days.
[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]
Liverpool needed an hour to do so, but they eventually ran away with a 4-1 victory over Aston Villa’s under-23 team (RECAP HERE).
Saturday’s 10 am ET action (RECAP HERE) saw five Premier League sides — Leicester City, Burnley, Fulham West Brom and Sheffield United — in action against lower-division sides. The full list of fixtures for the weekend can be found at the bottom of this page.
At 12:30 pm ET (RECAP HERE), Arsenal and Newcastle United battled in Saturday’s only all-Premier clash of the day at the Emirates Stadium. Three Championship sides — recent League Cup semifinalists Brentford, as well as Middlesbrough and Huddersfield Town — were also in action at 1pm ET.
Coming up next at 3 pm ET (RECAP HERE), the day’s final fixture will see Manchester United host EFL Championship (and recently relegated) side Watford at Old Trafford.
Elsewhere this weekend, some fairytale stories will play out in the FA Cup.
The extra preliminary rounds began Aug. 31 with ninth-tier Woodford Town holding serve with a 3-1 home win over London Colney at the Ashton Playing Fields.
Those teams are usually, for the most part, simply romance stories at this stage in the competition.
[ MORE: Southampton tie postponed | Villa-Liverpool in question ]
Not this time.
Eighth-tier Marine AFC qualified for the third round proper and drew not just a date with a power, but a home date. Tottenham Hotspur visits the Mariners at Rossett Park on Sunday.
How big of an upset would a win be? The match is considered the biggest ever gap between two clubs in the third round of the FA Cup. Marine’s season isn’t even active right now, to boot.
Took the drone down to @MarineAFC ground earlier today.
The calm before the storm….
Next week they host Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup Third Round. pic.twitter.com/evh0hTKzwe
— Dan Hewitson (@dan_freakbeat) January 2, 2021
Last season, only two teams outside the Football League made it to the third round: fifth-tier AFC Fylde and Hartlepool United. The former was drawn against a Premier League side, but it was newly-promoted Sheffield United away and — again — this was not an eighth-tier opponent versus a recent Champions League finalist.
Marine is sixth in the Northern Premier League’s Division One North West table this season, behind Colne, Ramsbottom United, Workington, Clitheroe, and Dunston UTS.
Spurs are fourth in the Premier League, four points back of Manchester United and Liverpool.
So, basically the same thing.
Marine beat sixth-tier Havant and Waterlooville having earlier knocked off League Two’s Colchester United, Chester (6), Nantwich Town (7), Runcorn Linnets (8), Frickley Athletic (8), Barnoldswick Town (9).
The 127-year-old club is living in the spotlight and has made the most of its chance despite closed doors meaning the club claims it’s lost the chance at around $160,000 between tickets and sponsorship.
Unable to take advantage of fan revenue from the game, they are selling virtual match tickets and received a sponsorship from Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher.
Thanks to current sponsors @marinetvl, @CoulsonFlooring and College Cycles for offering to stand down for this match. #COYM with https://t.co/3AVFU6xADJ https://t.co/fD9UE9nzm8
— Marine Football Club (@MarineAFC) January 7, 2021
How to watch the FA Cup third round
When: Friday through Monday
TV Channel/Stream: ESPN and ESPN+
FA Cup third round
Wolves v Crystal Palace
Aston Villa v Liverpool
Everton v Rotherham United
Nottingham Forest v Cardiff City
Boreham Wood v Millwall
Luton Town v Reading
Norwich City v Coventry City
Chorley v Derby County
Oldham Athletic v Bournemouth
Stevenage v Swansea City
Bristol Rovers v Sheffield United
Blackburn Rovers v Doncaster Rovers
Stoke City v Leicester City
Wycombe Wanderers v Preston North End
Burnley v MK Dons
QPR v FulhamM
Exeter City v Sheffield Wednesday
Blackpool v West Bromwich Albion
Arsenal v Newcastle United
Huddersfield v Plymouth Argyle
Brentford v Middlesbrough
Southampton v Shrewsbury Town — postponed
Manchester United v Watford
Barnsley v Tranmere Rovers
Crawley Town v Leeds United
Bristol City v Portsmouth
Manchester City v Birmingham City
Chelsea v Morecambe
Cheltenham Town v Mansfield Town
Marine AFC v Tottenham Hotspur
Newport County v Brighton and Hove Albion
Stockport County v West Ham United