Well, itâ€™s a good thing Newcastle United are taking the FA Cup seriously under the new ownership, isnâ€™t it?
Under the beloved Mike Ashley, Newcastle readily admitted they werenâ€™t that bothered about the FA Cup – hence the seven 3rd round exits in 14 long seasons.
Itâ€™s all different under the Saudi ownership though, right?
In front of 52,000 Newcastle fans hoping to see the first step on the road to Wembley navigated with minimal fuss, Eddie Howeâ€™s side including new signing Kieran Tripper lost 1-0 to Cambridge United. And, the League One side fully deserved it.
On one hand, Newcastle can now focus their efforts on not becoming the richest club ever to play Championship football. On the other, a nice little cup run could have done wonders for their confidence.
Crystal Palace briefly looked like they might be the first top-flight team to fall. They trailed Millwall at halftime, but then Michael Olise realised a game of football needed to be won and set about it.
A Sean Dyche-less Burnley have bigger things to worry about than a 2-1 home defeat to Huddersfield in the third round. Mind you, theyâ€™d have probably welcomed winning a game of football just to remember what it felt like.
You can often sense how seriously Premier League sides will be taking the FA Cup based on the team they stick out there – so, Leicester fancy a run whereas Watford really couldnâ€™t care less. Brendan Rodgersâ€™ cup holders saw off the Hornets 4-1
Brentford and Brighton might both believe they are far enough away from a relegation dogfight to see how far they can go this season. Brentford smashed Port Vale 4-1 and Brighton saw off WBA 2-1 – both away. Good signs that they are taking it seriously.
We all know Man City will probably win it, and they took a stroll against Swindon, a team they used to meet quite frequently in the lower divisions before, you know, a country bought them. Pepless City won 4-1.
15 minutes into their trip to Hull, Everton looked like a team not too bothered about Rafaâ€™s employment status. Andros Townsend likes the guy though and netted a winner in injury time after Hull refused to go away in 90 minutes.
At least Chesterfield got a goal at Stamford Bridge, something their decent away following will remember for years to come.
10-man Southampton nicked a win at Swansea where it has to be said, the atmosphere was somewhat lacking.
Sunday threatened a giant-killing or two, albeit briefly, but ultimately failed to deliver.
Morecambe led Spurs with just 16 minutes to go before Antonio Conteâ€™s men broke hearts – three goals followed including one for Harry Kane. Are we at the point where the England skipper scoring is pretty standard again so doesnâ€™t need mentioning?
Shrewsbury took a shock lead at Anfield before Liverpoolâ€™s kids (plus Virgil, Robbo and Fab) put their foot down and stamped out and hopes of an upset. Fabinho scored twice, which will never happen again.
At least Norwich can test my theory of a good cup run helping a team in a relegation battle – they sneaked past Charlton to make the hat for the 4th round as did West Ham, easing past Leeds 2-0 in a game that was a nailed-on home win. Wolves could be a team to watch, and they stuffed Sheffield United 3-0 in a game that shows Wolves can score more than once if they really, really concentrate.
Arsenal have a very good FA Cup 3rd Round record – ahead of their tie against Nottingham Forest they had only lost once in the previous 25. The thing is, that loss was against Forest at the City Ground and you know what? History can repeat itself once in a while and another Â£5m has been added to the price tag of young Brennan Johnson.
Iâ€™d love to report that the 4th Round of the FA Cup looks nice and tasty.Â
League Two Hartlepoolâ€™s reward for getting this far is navigating their way through the Croydon one-way system for a clash at Selhurst Park versus Palace.
Kidderminster, a proper non-league side, welcome the Moysiah and West Ham to the Aggy. Thereâ€™s all Premier League clashes between Spurs and Brighton and Everton and Brentford. 1987 winners Coventry will fancy their chances down at Southampton, Cardiff less so when they go to Liverpool. Fulham will have preferred not have to got Man City – a tie that a far smaller club could have done with. Plymouth did OK out of it, getting a game against Chelsea. Holders Leicester get a trip to Forest and the winner of United versus Villa welcome Chris Wilderâ€™s Middlesbrough,Â
Plucky little Cambridge? Their treat for beating Newcastle is a trip to Luton Town, poor souls.
The transfer window is wide open with a chilly breeze being allowed in.
Jose Mourinho, having spent most of his time in London refusing to pick young London talent has added another to his Roma ranks. Arsenalâ€™s Ainsley Maitland-Niles is off to Italy on loan to learn exactly how out of date Mourinho is now, first hand.
Steven Gerrard reminded us all to check out Philippe Coutinhoâ€™s wikipedia page to remember how good he is because, frankly, heâ€™s not bothered showing us on the pitch for a few seasons. The Brazilian arrives at Villa Park on loan and can hang around for Â£33m if he impresses – which he wonâ€™t.
Rumours are rife that Manchester United players are not convinced by Ralf Rangnick (and I can only assume the feeling is very much mutual) and Ronaldoâ€™s been on the blower to his agent – crisis talks are due at Old Trafford as he wants out and fast.Â
Never a club to let the lack of wage budget stop their hopes and dreams, Barcelona are hopeful of signing Unitedâ€™s Bruno Fernandes if he continues to look like a square peg in the Rangnick round hole. Thatâ€™s if they donâ€™t get Erling Haaland, you understand. Ex-Chelsea flop Alvaro Morata could be off to the Camp Nou to wait patiently alongside Ferran Torres in the line for who can actually be registered next.
Spurs would like Adama Traore to replace Emerson Royale and, youâ€™ve guessed it, this has alerted Barcelona to the fact that Adama Traore might be available and better than Emerson Royale (who they might have forgotten they sold in the summer).
Lazio would like Kepa from Chelsea, because him and Sarri get on so well – not well enough for them to want his Â£170k-a-week wages, however.
And finally, Newcastle are still being linked to many and will probably sign few.