While some domestic cups in the world of football are perhaps losing their shine, arguably including the English League Cup, as the big clubs often field weakened teams as their focus is undoubtably turned elsewhere — usually wherever there is more money involved — there is still something very special about the FA Cup.
Even as modern football constantly changes, and cup competitions are seemingly falling down the agenda of most clubs as they focus on their league or European campaigns, the magic of the FA Cup — the oldest national football competition in the world — never seems to fade.
Yes, the big sides still rotate their XIs, at least in the early stages. But as the recent FA Cup third round proved, nothing can compare to non-league Chesterfield travelling to Stamford Bridge and going head-to-head with the current European champions — and celebrating like they won the tie when they scored even though it was 5-1 — or League One outfit Shrewsbury Town going to Anfield and taking the lead — albeit short-lived as Jürgen Klopp’s men ended up winning 4-1.
While those fanbases had to settle for a good day out against Premier League opposition, there were still a few upsets in the FA Cup third round, of course! So, without further ado, let’s take a look back at some of the shocks that took place…
Newcastle 0-1 Cambridge United
Everyone recalls the jubilant scenes outside St James’ Park when the Saudi takeover from Mike Ashley was confirmed — making Newcastle United the richest club in world football. However, things haven’t been quite as rosy as they would have hoped as the threat of relegation still looms large in the North East. With the January transfer window open and the marquee signing of Kieran Trippier comes promise once again, but a 1-0 defeat at home to League One side Cambridge United against all the odds in the sports betting exchange was yet another reminder that there is still a long way to go on their journey from rags to riches.
Kidderminster Harriers 2-1 Reading
One of two non-league sides to beat Football League opposition in the third round of the FA Cup, National League North side Kidderminster Harriers came from a goal down at half-time to beat Championship outfit Reading 2-1 at the Aggborough Stadium in Worcestershire. The sixth-tier side are the lowest ranked team left in the FA Cup and have the chance of causing another big upset as they host West Ham United in the fourth round.
Boreham Wood 2-0 AFC Wimbledon
By no means meeting the criteria for the phrase ‘giant killing’ that gets thrown around a lot in the FA Cup, National League side Boreham Wood will still be over the moon with their 2-0 victory at home over League One side AFC Wimbledon. Goals early in the first half and late in the second were enough to see the fifth-tier side enter the pot for the fourth round and they’ll face a trip to the south coast as they take on Bournemouth.
Nottingham Forest 1-0 Arsenal
While Huddersfield beat Burnley 2-1 at Turf Moor, this was the pick of Championship sides upsetting Premier League opposition. 14-time winners, Arsenal have enjoyed success in the FA Cup in recent years, especially when everything hasn’t exactly been going their way in the Premier League. However, there won’t be a 15th trophy added to their cabinet this year as Mikel Arteta’s men conceded late to Nottingham Forest. They’ll face defending champions Leicester City at home in the next round.
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