London: Premier League leaders Arsenal overcame fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in the FA Cup third round on Saturday, while Aston Villa were dumped out by third-tier Sheffield United.
Tottenham had won at Manchester United in their previous outing and new manager Tim Sherwood made only one change to his starting XI, but his side fell behind in the 31st minute at the Emirates Stadium.
German teenager Serge Gnabry was the architect, picking the ball up wide on the Arsenal right and driving infield before finding Santi Cazorla, who speared a left-foot shot past Hugo Lloris. Spurs were unable to react and Tomas Rosicky sealed victory in the 62nd minute, robbing Danny Rose on halfway and bearing down on goal before adroitly lifting the ball over the advancing Lloris.
The game ended on a sour note for Arsenal when forward Theo Walcott had to be stretchered off after falling awkwardly, but he showed that he remained in high spirits by goading the visiting fans as he was carried away.
"The game was played at a good pace and we controlled both sides of it quite well, the defensive and offensive," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
On Walcott, whose '2-0' gesture as he was stretchered off prompted a hail of missiles from visiting fans, Wenger added: "It does not look aggressive. He was smiling."
Last season's beaten finalists Manchester City tasted fresh disappointment in the competition when they drew 1-1 at second-tier Blackburn Rovers. Stunned by Wigan Athletic in last year's final, City took the lead at Ewood Park through an Alvaro Negredo goal on the stroke of half-time, only for Scott Dann to equalise early in the second period.
City, currently second in the Premier League, also had defender Dedryck Boyata sent off late on for two bookable offences and now face an unwelcome replay against Gary Bowyer's side. "I think it was a very close game," City manager Manuel Pellegrini told BT Sport. "They're a difficult team and they play here with a lot of intensity, so we must decide who continues in the FA Cup at home."
Villa became the first major casualty of the third round after losing 2-1 at home to League One representatives Sheffield United. Nicklas Helenius appeared to have kept Villa in the competition when he cancelled out Jamie Murphy's deflected opener in the 75th minute, only for Ryan Flynn to give the Blades victory six minutes later. "For us and our 6,000 fans who came today, I think you saw how much it meant," said winning manager Nigel Clough.
"It's still a special, special competition and we'd just like a home draw next because we've had three away games on the spin, so it would be nice to get one at Bramall Lane."
Former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tasted success in his first game as manager of Cardiff City after his new side came from behind to win 2-1 at Newcastle United.
Solskjaer, who succeeded the sacked Malky Mackay on Thursday, saw his new charges fall behind to a 66th-minute Papiss Cisse strike, but two goals in seven minutes from substitutes Craig Noone and Fraizer Campbell gave Cardiff victory. "It's not about me, but it is a perfect start to these new times," Solskjaer said.
"I think the lads have had a lot to deal with lately and it's nice for them to start with a win in the cup."
In the day's two other all-Premier League ties, goals from Dwight Gayle and Marouane Chamakh gave Crystal Palace a 2-0 win at West Bromwich Albion and Fulham drew 1-1 at Norwich City. Everton crushed Championship high-fliers Queens Park Rangers 4-0, with Nikica Jelavic claiming a brace, while Southampton edged Burnley 4-3 in an entertaining game at St Mary's.
Hull City won 2-0 at Middlesbrough and Stoke City defeated Championship leaders Leicester City 2-1. Wigan's trophy defence began in uncertain fashion as they were held to a 3-3 draw by third-tier Milton Keynes Dons, while Millwall, semi-finalists last year, crashed out after an embarrassing 4-1 defeat at fourth-division Southend United.
Bolton Wanderers belatedly exacted revenge for their 4-3 loss to Blackpool in the 1953 final by beating their Championship rivals 2-1, while Leeds United fell to a shock 2-0 defeat at Rochdale.
Meanwhile, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, non-league Macclesfield Town, claimed a 1-1 draw at home to second-tier Sheffield Wednesday thanks to a 72nd-minute equaliser from Steve Williams.
Aston Villa out of FA Cup in 3rd round shock
Aston Villa out of FA Cup in 3rd round shock
LONDON: Aston Villa was dumped out of the FA Cup by third-tier side Sheffield United in the biggest shock of the third round on Saturday, while 10-man Manchester City was held by Blackburn.
Villa's humbling came days after manager Paul Lambert branded the cup as a "distraction," but rather than making wholesale changes, it was still a strong side that lost 2-1. "It is just a bit sad that the FA Cup, such a wonderful competition, takes a back seat but that is the reality of it," Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough said.
Backing down from the earlier comment, Lambert tried to insist he wasn't decrying the world's oldest football cup competition that has lost some of its luster as Premier League riches have soared. "I never demeaned the competition one bit," Lambert said. "I respect its history and I respect what the competition is about."
Blackburn earned a replay against City after goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon fumbled Rudy Gestede's header before Scott Dann rushed in to sweep the ball into the net to cancel out Alvaro Negredo's opener.
City was left hanging on to the 1-1 draw after Dedryck Boyata was sent off in the 85th minute when a foul on D.J. Campbell earned him a second yellow card. "I'm not disappointed," City manager Manuel Pellegrini said. "Of course, everyone wants to win all of the games but we were playing against a very strong team at home."
Due to the replay, Abu Dhabi-owned City has cancelled a friendly in the Gulf nation on Jan. 14. Southampton squeezed into the fourth round by beating Burley 4-3, while holder Wigan, which was relegated from the Premier League after winning the cup in May, was held to 3-3 by M.K. Dons.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's reign as Cardiff manager began with a 2-1 win at Newcastle. After Papiss Cisse put the Magpies in front at St. James' Park, substitutes Craig Noone and Fraizer Campbell hit back with goals for the south Wales club.
In other all-Premier League clashes, Dwight Gayle and Marouane Chamakh gave Crystal Palace a 2-0 win at West Bromwich Albion, Norwich drew 1-1 with Fulham, and Arsenal hosted north London rival Tottenham in the late game.
In surprising results involving lower-league sides, Leeds of the second-tier League Championship lost 2-0 at fourth-tier side Rochdale, and non-league club Macclesfield - the lowest ranking team still in the cup - earned a replay at Championship club Sheffield Wednesday by drawing 1-1.
Lewandowski completes Bayern Munich switch
Lewandowski completes Bayern Munich switch
BERLIN: Polish striker Robert Lewandowski will leave Borussia Dortmund for German rivals Bayern Munich in the summer on a five-year deal, the European champions confirmed on Saturday.
The 25-year-old has been at Dortmund since the 2010-11 season, but his current contract was due to expire in June, and the Bavarian giants revealed he will join their ranks on July 1.
"We're delighted both parties have today signed a five-year contract until 2019," Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who was present for the signature along with sporting director Matthias Sammer after Lewandowski underwent a medical.
"Robert Lewandowski is one of the best strikers in the world," said Rummenigge. "We're very pleased about completing this transfer. He will strengthen the Bayern squad and give us another boost."
Lewandowski had informed Dortmund bosses last summer that he wanted to leave, but the club refused having already been hit by the departure of German midfielder Mario Goetze for Bavaria in a 37-million-euro deal.
But he had dropped a heavy hint that he planned to join Bayern Munich two weeks ago after responding in Bavarian to a question about his future. "Schaun mer mal ('let's wait and see' in Bavarian)," Lewandowski told German daily Bild when asked about a possible move to Munich.
Since his arrival in 2010 from Lech Poznan, Lewandowski had helped Dortmund win the league title in 2011 and 2012. His 11 goals this season have helped his team to fourth place in the Bundesliga, but they are 12 points behind runaway leaders Bayern.
The Pole was also a key player in the Dortmund's European campaign last season, scoring four goals against Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals before falling to Bayern in the final in Wembley.
Rummenigge, meanwhile, ruled out speculation of a move for Chelsea defender David Luiz. "There's a lot of speculation ... we're being linked with David Luiz and other Spanish players at the present time," he said.
"Let me state this very clearly: it's all of no interest whatsoever to us. What I'd personally like is for Holger Badstuber to make a comeback."
German centre-back Badstuber underwent a fourth operation in October on right knee ligaments he has twice ruptured....