Weekend talking points: FA Cup magic is alive and well
Richard Marsh | 7 January 2019
Plus thrills aplenty in the NFL
The FA Cup’s famous third round and the Wildcard round of the NFL playoffs took centre stage this weekend.
There were thrills and spills aplenty. Here’s our top five…
Newport, Oldham and Barnet secure cup glory
Gillingham and Bristol City provided the first two FA Cup scalps on Saturday versus Cardiff City and Huddersfield respectively, but the magic of the cup fully blossomed into life on Sunday.
League Two duo Newport County and Oldham Athletic dumped Leicester City and Fulham respectively out of the competition.
A late penalty won it for County to spark scenes of jubilation at Rodney Parade, while Oldham scored twice in the final 20 minutes to come from behind at Craven Cottage.
They’ll be joined in the fourth round by National League outfit Barnet, who pulled off a fine win at Championship high-flyers Sheffield United.
The fourth round draw will take place tonight, right after Wolves v Liverpool.
Man City and Spurs flex their muscle
While five Premier League teams crashed out, the heavyweights showed their prowess in fine style.
Tottenham Hotspur walloped Tranmere Rovers 7-0 on Friday night, with Manchester City recording the same scoreline in Sunday’s win over Rotherham.
Manchester United made it five wins from five under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in a 2-0 win over Reading, while Chelsea beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 and a youthful Arsenal downed Blackpool 3-0.
Guardiola’s City are 7/2 favourites to win this season’s cup, ahead of Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs and Man United who are all priced up at 7/1.
NFL Wildcards go to the wire
Things Stateside didn’t disappoint either, with the Indianapolis Colts breezing past Houston Dynamos 21-7 to continue their remarkable turnaround in form.
But the remaining three Wildcard ties couldn’t have been much closer.
Reigning Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles scraped past Chicago Bears 16-15, after Cody Parkey hit the post with what would have been a game-winning field-goal effort.
Dallas Cowboys edged out Seattle Seahawks 24-22, and the LA Chargers held off a Baltimore Ravens fightback to win 23-17.
It means that the weekend’s upcoming divisional playoffs will see the Chargers take on Tom Brady’s New England Patriots and the Colts face Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC.
And in the NFC, it’s Cowboys against the LA Rams with the Eagles off to face 9/4 Super Bowl LIII favourites New Orleans Saints.
Schaffele too hot to handle in Hawaii
American Xander Schauffele got the better of Rory McIlroy and Gary Woodland to win the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
And Schauffele did it in style too, posting a record-equalling 11-under-par 62 on Sunday.
The 25-year-old finished on 23 under, one ahead of Woodland and eight ahead of McIlroy.
McIlroy, who is aiming for a first Major win in five years this season, caused controversy earlier this month when he revealed he would be prioritising the PGA Tour over the European this year.
India make history Down Under
With an Ashes and a World Cup to come, 2019 is a big year for cricket, and India will be on a high after claiming their first ever Test series win in Australia.
Virat Kohli’s side took the four Test clash 2-1, after rain ensured the fourth Test finished in a draw.
The result is the latest blow to Australia, who are fifth in the world rankings and have won only one of their last six Test series.
India are 10/3 to win this summer’s World Cup, just behind hosts and 2/1 favourites England.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing