FA Cup recap: Wigan wizardry, leaky Liverpool and Sanchez skill
The world’s oldest cup competition returned in fantastic fashion at the weekend – with a host of cracking FA Cup fourth round ties.
We take a look at the main talking points and high drama of the action, kicking off with Wigan Athletic’s convincing defeat of West Ham United.
Promotion-chasing Latics equipped for bigger things
Wigan Athletic are in a commanding position in League One – top of the table, with four points and a game-in-hand over the play-off pack.
The step up to the Championship is a sizeable one, as the Latics know from relegation from the division last season. But Saturday’s 2-0 FA Cup defeat of the Irons suggests the current Wigan crop have the quality to survive at that level.
The Hammers had enjoyed a seven-game unbeaten run prior to this game. And David Moyes fielded a strong side at the DW Stadium.
However, the hosts dominated possession, corners, chances – and saw star striker Will Grigg bag a brace in a hugely deserved victory. Now 1/4 to lift the League One title, it seems bigger things than a future in the third-tier await the North-West club.
Baggies expose Liverpool’s defensive woes
Liverpool may have splashed out over £70m to bag Virgil van Dijk from Southampton. But it seems Jurgen Klopp’s backline still need a crash course in defending following a 3-2 defeat to West Bromwich Albion.
The Reds shipped three first-half goals to Alan Pardew’s men on Saturday – the first time they’ve done so at Anfield since facing Real Madrid in 2014. And were it not for the use of VAR, the Baggies would’ve had another goal before the interval.
Poor marking and defenders backing off saw Jay Rodriguez given the space to produce two clinical finishes for West Brom’s first two goals.
However, Liverpool saved the worst till last, with the bumbling Joel Matip inadvertently setting up the Baggies’ third. They’re not struggling to score goals without Philippe Coutinho, but the Reds’ defence continues to be the source of problems.
Sanchez slotting neatly into Jose’s slick United
Facing lower-league opposition is always a potential banana-skin for the game’s big boys. But Manchester United could hardly have looked more comfortable against a fired-up Yeovil Town, breezing to a 4-0 win at Huish Park.
On a difficult pitch, the Red Devils still managed to play some excellent passing football – chalking up a fifth win and sixth clean sheet in succession.
New signing Alexis Sanchez was named Man of the Match, following an extremely lively display in which he set up Ander Herrera’s goal, and proved a nuisance for the Glovers all night.
Far tougher tests await both the Chilean and his new side, but the early signs are good. Man United face Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night, with the Red Devils 11/5 to win, and Sanchez to Score Anytime a 9/4 shot.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing