FA Cup: 3rd round (Aston Villa 1 – Man United 2 and Leeds 1 – Arsenal 4)

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
January 4th, 2004 • 5:12 am

Another couple of decent games, courtesy of Sportsnet in Canada… Aston Villa had an excellent first half and were deservedly leading 1-0 at half-time. But they really let themselves down in the second half and Manchester were inevitably able to get back into the game and score the couple of goals that they needed to beat Aston Villa and qualify for the next round. It is hard to understand how Aston Villa could waste such a good opportunity, but they did. I guess there is a reason why they are still in a dangerous position in the EPL.

The Leeds vs. Arsenal game started with an embarrassing freak goal conceded by Lehmann, whose late clearance bounced right off Viduka’s leg and straight into the goal. The Arsenal defense in general looked somewhat shaky, in part probably due to the fact that Cole, Lauren and Keown haven’t played much lately. But full credit to Arsenal: within half an hour, they were back in front with two superb goals, a great volley by Thierry Henry after nice work by Kanu and Ljunberg and then a great full-stretch kick by Edu on an inch-perfect pass from Thierry.

There were times in the second half where Arsenal seem content to protect their slender one-goal lead, but things really unravelled towards the end for Leeds with a couple of killer goals by Pirès and Touré.

As the British commentator said, Leeds were unlucky in that Henry might have started this FA Cup tie on the bench if Bergkamp, Wiltord and Aliadière had been fit to play. But ultimately there was just too much quality for Leeds to really be able to stage an upset.

It’s now back to EPL business with midweek games starting in two days’ time. Arsenal face a dangerous trip to Everton, which won’t be televised here. But I guess we can’t really complain too much when it comes to football on Canadian TV these days…

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