FA Cup joy for Wayne Rooney and Millwall, but not for John Terry
The romance of the cup was in short supply at the weekend but there were still several talking points from the third round
The third round of the FA Cup was low key this year. Although three Premier League clubs fell to lower division opposition, most of the big guns booked their places in the fourth round draw.
Here are some of the highlights from the weekend ties:
Manchester United romped to a 4-0 victory over Reading at Old Trafford as Wayne Rooney capitalised on a rare opportunity to play 90 minutes for United. He needed only seven minutes to find the net for the 249th time and to equal Bobby Charlton's scoring record for United.
The striker's future as a United player remains unclear. The 31-year-old is no longer a regular starter for Jose Mourinho and Rooney-bashing has become fashionable. However, "the genuine enthusiasm and warmth around the stadium as Rooney celebrated the landmark was an acknowledgement of what he has achieved," says Simon Stone of the BBC.
Plymouth hold firm
Liverpool had 77 per cent of the possession against Plymouth of League two but could not find a way to score against the team from the West Country. The 0-0 draw was arguably the biggest shock of the round.
"Try telling the 9,000 Plymouth fans at Anfield that more magic dust needs sprinkling on this tournament, after the League Two club celebrated a goalless draw with as much fervour as a victorious captain in May," says the Daily Telegraph.
League One Millwall produced the biggest act of giant-killing this weekend when they beat Bournemouth, ninth in the Premier League, at the New Den. The south London club faces an uncertain future, however. Lewisham council is expected to sell off much of the land around their stadium for housing, which could force the club to leave the capital.
But if they are forced out, the "shock victory over Bournemouth could become a lasting legacy to the proud South London club", says theTelegraph.
McClaren makes a point
Former England boss Steve McClaren has had a "patchy" managerial career says The Guardian, but things are looking up after his Derby side beat West Brom on Sunday thanks to goals from Darren Bent and Tom Ince – two players he has got the best out of since his return to Pride Park.
He rejoined Derby this season after a dismal spell with Newcastle following his dismissal in 2015 and has made an instant impact, with Derby now seventh in the Championship. After his previous disappointments, the "latest chapter" of his career "has started brilliantly", says the paper.
Terry return goes sour
Chelsea defender John Terry was persuaded not to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of last season, but may be regretting that decision. Starting his first match since October, the former Blues legend was sent off against Peterborough, taking the sheen off a 4-1 win.
"It looks like the beginning of the end for him at Chelsea. When you get past a certain age it's always tough to wrestle your career back after it starts slipping away," says Martin Keown in the Daily Mail. "Getting sent off will do Terry no favours. He is not being picked and there is no talk of a new contract so I think he could well be off to America soon."
Big guns on fire
With the exception of Liverpool, held by Plymouth, and Arsenal, who scraped past Preston 2-1 on Saturday, the big guns of the Premier League cruised through the third round. Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Spurs won by an aggregate score of 15-1, suggesting that the top teams are less vulnerable than they once were, even accounting for squad rotation.
Young guns on show
"Some of the attendances were low and only a few matches caught the eye, but the third round of the FA Cup did see a host of young players given opportunities," says the Mail.
Among the teenagers who shone were Ainsley Maitland-Niles of Arsenal, Ben Woodburn of Liverpool and Tom Davies of Everton. Nathaniel Chalobah of Chelsea, who is a relative veteran of 22, also put in an impressive performance.