FA Cup: Manchester City cruise to pile on Chelsea agony
Manchester City cruised into the FA Cup fourth round with a routine victory over a desperately poor Chelsea at Etihad Stadium.
This was a far cry from what has traditionally been a hugely competitive meeting between two Premier League giants as City wrapped up a tie with either Oxford United or Arsenal in the next round by the interval.
City’s win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Thursday was hard-fought but this was a stroll, Riyad Mahrez setting them on their way with a brilliant 23rd-minute free-kick before World Cup winner Julian Alvarez scored a second from the spot seven minutes later following Kai Havertz’s handball.
Phil Foden scored City’s third after 38 minutes, turning in Kyle Walker’s cross after he had been played in by Thursday’s match-winner Mahrez, who got his second from the spot late on after Kalidou Koulibaly clumsy bundled Foden to the floor.
It was a chastening day for Chelsea, boss Graham Potter and their travelling support, who chanted the name of Thomas Tuchel, the Champions League-winning manager sacked by new owner Todd Boehly in September.
Holders Liverpool were held to a 2-2 home draw by Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday and will now face a replay after a breathless third-round tie in which the visitors had a late goal chalked off for offside.
Liverpool fell behind after 26 minutes following a howler from goalkeeper Alisson who attempted to play a pass out from the back but directed the ball to the feet of Goncalo Guedes, who slotted it into the empty net.
The hosts, however, entered the break level after a superb cross-field Trent Alexander-Arnold pass was met by Darwin Nunez on the volley, who directed the ball past Matija Sarkic.
A defensive mix-up then handed the lead to Liverpool, with Mohamed Salah producing a calm finish after Wolves defender Toti flicked a Liverpool pass into his path.
Wolves did not let up in their intensity after going behind and were rewarded as Hwang Hee-chan sneaked the ball between Alisson’s legs after being threaded through by fellow substitute Matheus Cunha.
The visitors thought they were close to knocking Liverpool out of the competition as Toti flicked the ball into the Reds’ net, and sprinted away in celebration, taking off his shirt, but his effort was ruled out for offside.
The decision to disallow the goal sparked a furious reaction from Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui, who received a booking from the referee for his protests.
“It was a good start, a dominant start,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp told ITV. “We played really good football moments and then we concede.
Manchester United will host second-tier Reading in the fourth round and Manchester City will face Arsenal, as long as the Premier League leaders can get past Oxford United, following the draw.
Manchester United were handed another home tie against Championship Reading, who are managed by former United midfielder Paul Ince. City were handed a potentially eye-catching home tie against Arsenal. Liverpool, if they win the replay, will face another all-Premier League tie away to Brighton. Sheffield Wednesday, who pulled off the biggest shock of the third round by beating Newcastle United 2-1, will host Fleetwood Town.
Written with inputs from Reuters, AP/PTI