Wednesday, August 4

FA Cup Third Round: 10 Talking Points From Weekend Action | Football


1) Willian is a luxury flop that Arsenal can’t afford

Willian was a Chelsea stalwart, even if he was often perceived as a step below their brightest stars. Last summer he was given the opportunity to become an Arsenal leader, but failed, giving them another costly problem. Against Newcastle he had the opportunity to show that his recent rebound, which coincided with his absence due to illness, could be sustained in his presence but instead produced more of the same. This season was an opportunity for Willian to make his mark on the games, but he has had little influence, while Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe point the way forward. Usually there would be little trouble keeping a 32-year-old international as a seasoned filler, but Willian came up with a hefty salary that Arsenal promised to pay until mid-2023. They can’t afford it to be a luxury item and, if do not rediscover some form, it will follow Mesut Özil on the list of expensive puzzles to be solved. Nick ames

2) Crawley can kick after claiming Leeds scalp

Crawley hasn’t finished 14th since being relegated to League Two in 2015 and has often been inclined to fall for the out-of-league game from which they won promotion in 2011, but John Yems has put together a skillful and powerful side. this season. They are undefeated since late November and, in sixth place, look like a decent bet to move up. Some might fear that a prolonged Cup run will derail the league ambitions of a snooty team, but the way they managed their win over Leeds should only fuel them. This wasn’t a giant hit and kill: Crawley dominated midfield against a team known for getting ahead whenever possible, allowing their attackers to expose Marcelo Bielsa’s notoriously shaky defensive flaws, with Ashley Nadesan a perennial threat. That they managed to take control of the tie with their highly rated top scorer, Max Watters, sitting on the bench until the 72nd minute suggests they have what it takes to mix a Cup run with a promotional push. Tom davies


Crawley Town’s Nicholas Tsaroulla in tears after FA Cup win against Leeds United – video

3) Chorley keeps dreaming after defeating the young Rams

With no fans present and Derby reduced to sending his youth team to Chorley for Saturday’s tie in Lancashire, it was easy to forget that there are still overwhelming positives to an FA Cup career, even in these uncertain times. The north side of the National League, which is in the fourth round for the first time in its history following a 2-0 win against the Covid-depleted Rams, estimates that they could now win up to £ 500,000 from a run that has now them. viewed. knocking down four EFL Cup sides. Their coach, Jamie Vermiglio, revealed before the Derby tie that reaching the third round, in no uncertain terms, had saved the club. With more income in the weeks ahead, Chorley can plan for happier times. They are the first sixth division team to come this far from Havant and Waterlooville in 2008, only to be defeated 5-2 at Anfield by Liverpool. Vermiglio, a fan of the Boyhood Reds, admits that this is the next draw of his dreams. Aaron bower

4) Van de Beek demonstrates the variety of United midfielders

Donny van de Beek started in this nervous victory and did it again, but in the Premier League the Dutchman is more like the eternal substitute, being named in the XI by Ole Gunnar Solskjær only twice in his 10 appearances in the competition. If this makes judging the true worth of the midfielder particularly tricky, it is clear that when introduced, Van de Beek adds a quick, one-touch dimension to Manchester United that improves his game and that the manager wants for his team. Van de Beek doesn’t possess the X-factor creativity of Paul Pogba, the musculature of Scott McTominay, the complete set of Fred, nor is he a firefighter like Nemanja Matic, but this is the point. Pairing the 23-year-old with any of these others offers United a different way of dealing with opponents and illustrates the depth of options the coach has in this department. However, it remains to be seen if Van de Beek starts on either of the next two trips, to Burnley or Liverpool. Jamie jackson

5) Blades looking to build on the first win this season

Whether Sheffield United’s first win in six months does anything when it comes to reigniting their seemingly doomed fight for Premier League survival remains to be seen, but Chris Wilder acknowledged that they had to stop the rot. Otherwise, he said, there would be consequences. From the moment their players trudged across the terrace at Thatchers End, where the Bristol Rovers fan bar became the visitors’ locker room, they knew they had everything to lose and the League One side everything to win. Wilder, who named just eight substitutes due to injuries and illnesses, named arguably his strongest team available and they finally have something to build on before facing Newcastle at Bramall Lane on Tuesday, when league service resumes. “This division is ruthless, fierce and doesn’t really care about anyone and punishes you when you’re not at your best,” Wilder said. Ben fisher

Chris Wilder finally has a victory to brag about after his team defeated League One Bristol Rovers 3-2.



Chris Wilder finally has a victory to brag about after his team defeated League One Bristol Rovers 3-2. Photograph: Ian Cook / CameraSport / Getty Images

6) The solidity of the wolves bodes well after nervousness

The Wolves had not been able to keep a clean sheet in the 10 games since beating Crystal Palace on October 30, but they looked much stronger defensively in Friday’s FA Cup third-round victory.

Winning only twice in that span while alternating between Nuno Espírito Santo’s 3-4-3 formation and a less risk-averse 4-2-3-1, the Lobos appeared less solid. Despite having four defenses, including the more offensive left-back option Rayan Ait-Nouri, the Wolves managed to maintain a more compact form and shed less than during the past two months against a admittedly compact Palace.

The expected goals suggested they were three times more penetrating than Palace, with match winner Adama Traoré leading the way, but it was the tighter defensive performance that also foreshadowed. Romain Saïss plays with growing conviction alongside Conor Coady and, just ahead, the return of Leander Dendoncker and, above all, Rúben Neves provided a better screen. Pete lansley

7) Agüero risks leaving City with a moan

This should be Sergio Agüero’s day. After six consecutive games on the bench, Pep Guardiola had promised him a first start since October. The team cards were then handed out and there was no trace of Manchester City’s top scorer. He was absent but unharmed. He isolates himself and is almost certain to miss Wednesday’s game with Brighton, maybe even Sunday’s against Crystal Palace. And, with Guardiola appearing concerned that the Argentine’s battle-worn body will spoil again, perhaps more training sessions and alternate appearances will be required before he is deemed ready to go. A frustrating 2020 (Aguero could move forward a year without a Premier League goal next week) may turn into a wasted final season in Manchester, a stop-and-go campaign in which stops outnumber starts. With each setback, it seems less likely that City will see Agüero again at his sharpest and most spectacular. Richard Jolly

8) Tomori needs to leave after Rüdiger returns in favor

Antonio Rüdiger seemed sure to leave Chelsea at the end of the previous transfer window. The German had fallen completely out of favor with Frank Lampard. However, Rüdiger ended up staying at Stamford Bridge and has worked to get back into conflict. Although he is not part of the four regular defenders, he is first in line behind Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma in central defense, which has left another of Lampard’s defenders with a difficult decision to make. Fikayo Tomori is one of five center-backs on the Chelsea squad and the English international, who turned down the chance to join West Ham on loan in October, will feel like he needs to move this month. The 23-year-old is fifth option right now and although Lampard made trades against Morecambe, Tomori was on the bench for the win over the League Two team. After entering the 80th minute, you need a loan. Jacob Steinberg

Frank Lampard made changes, but Fikayo Tomori was still on Chelsea's bench against Morecambe.



Frank Lampard made changes, but Fikayo Tomori was still on Chelsea’s bench against Morecambe. Photograph: Darren Walsh / Chelsea FC / Getty Images

9) Alli points to Mourinho in Marine

Spurs and José Mourinho left with their reputations intact thanks to an essentially professional performance at Marine with Dele Alli at heart. The midfielder has been in disgrace for most of the Portuguese’s reign in North London and a cold night on a field outside the league could be seen as punishment for the English international. However, it was a test for Alli, showing his quality against an eighth division team and showing that he has a desire to succeed at Spurs. By the evidence of the first 20 minutes, Mourinho has been justified in putting Alli aside for part of the season. Things clicked soon after as he scooped up the ball and slid into the box before putting the first goal on a layup for Carlos Vinícius. A short pass to Matt Doherty created the second goal and with two moments of class the game was over. There he looked motivated during his 65 minutes on the pitch and hopes his performance justifies more time on the pitch in the Premier League. Will unwin

10) The arrival of Tau can help Brighton prosper

Two and a half years after joining the club, Percy Tau finally made his Brighton debut, through three assignments at different Belgian clubs, against Newport. The South Africa international was brought back from Anderlecht this month as Graham Potter looks to increase his firepower as he aims to push the Seagulls away from the relegation zone. The forward entered with 20 minutes of regulation time to go. He looked lively and showed promising signs in his bonding game with Neal Maupay as Brighton attempted to take down his League Two opponents. Tau forced a save from Tom King and then snapped a good match-winning opportunity over the bar. His scoring record in Belgium was disappointing and the first signs of whether he has the composure to regularly convert the limited opportunities he will have in a Premier League relegation battle have yet to be seen. Will unwin


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