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It was a Super Saturday for fans of English football with as many as 26 matches on the card in the FA Cup, and there was no shortage of entertainment as holders Arsenal, marvelous Manchester City and struggling Manchester United all registered wins.
The Gunners were at home to fellow Premier League side Sunderland, and much like their encounter in the league at the Emirates 5 weeks ago, Arsenal needed a late burst from substitute Aaron Ramsey to register a well earned 3-1 win. Arsenal fell behind to a Jermain Lens goal after a rare error from the usually reliable Laurent Koscielny in the 17th minute, but Joel Campbell latched on to Theo Walcott's cross to bring Arsenal level 9 minutes later.
Arsenal had to wait till the 72nd minute to go ahead with Hector Bellerin crossing for Aaron Ramsey to pass home from a couple of yards out, before Olivier Giroud settled proceedings with another good finish past debutant Jordan Pickford as defending champions Arsenal booked their place in Monday's fourth round draw.
Perhaps the most impressive of today's winners were Manchester City, who crushed another Premier League opponent in Norwich City, 3-0 away from home. Sergio Aguero went on a mazy run that left defenders on their backside to put the cash rich side ahead in the 16th minute. The Argentine was in fine form all night and set up young Nigerian forward Kelechi Iheanacho for a tap-in just after the half hour mark. Kevin De Bruyne came off the bench in the second half and sealed the win with another good goal as City ran their opponents ragged on the day.
Manchester United were nowhere near as fluent and needed a 93rd minute penalty, tucked away by Wayne Rooney, to beat League One side Sheffield United, who defended well for the bulk of the contest and will consider themselves very unlucky not to earn a replay at Bramall Lane after substitute Memphis Depay went down dramatically inside the box to Dean Hammond's tackle.
Crystal Palace looked like a side very capable of going on a long Cup run this season with the Eagles beating Southampton 2-1 at St. Mary's thanks to goals from Joel Ward and Wilfried Zaha. In between the two Palace goals, Southampton did draw level briefly thanks to Oriol Romeu was first to the rebound after Wayne Hennessey had saved Cuco Martina's strike.
The only other all Premier League clash of the day saw Watford see off Newcastle United 1-0 thanks to Troy Deeney's goal as the Watford skipper latched onto Wijnaldum's poor pass.
Other Premier League sides to advance to the fourth round included Everton, Bournemouth, Stoke City and West Ham United. Aston Villa and West Brom will both need replays if they are to go further in this competition with the latter scoring an equalizer against Bristol City in the 95th minute through James Morrison.
Third Round Scores:
Arsenal 3-1 Sunderland
Birmingham City 1-2 Bournemouth
Brentford 0-1 Walsall
Colchester 2-1 Charlton
Doncaster 1-2 Stoke City
Everton 2-0 Dag & Red
Hartlepool 1-2 Derby County
Hull City 1-0 Brighton
Leeds 2-0 Rotherham
Middlesbrough 1-2 Burnley
Norwich City 0-3 Manchester City
Peterborough 2-0 Preston
Sheff Wed 2-1 Fulham
Southampton 1-2 Crystal Palace
Watford 1-0 Newcastle United
West Ham United 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Wycombe 1-1 Aston Villa
Bury 0-0 Bradford
Eastleigh 1-1 Bolton
Huddersfield 2-2 Reading
Ipswich 2-2 Portsmouth
Northampton 2-2 MK Dons
West Brom 2-2 Bristol City
Manchester United 1-0 Sheffield United
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