FA Cup Round 3 Best XI

Newcastle United shocked by Joe Ironside, Nottingham Forest dump out Arsenal and hat-tricks for Bryan Mbeumo and Emiliano Marcondes

The third round of the FA Cup delivered in all aspects with big teams cruising through to the next round (Liverpool and Chelsea), upsets from the lower leagues (Cambridge United and Boreham Wood) and dramatic late winners around the country. Here, we give you a run down of the star performers in the third round.

FA Cup Round 3 Best XI (3-5-2 formation)

GK Dimitar Mitov (Cambridge United) – Newcastle United were huge favorites to advance to round four, handing a debut to big money signing Kieran Trippier and fielding attacking stars Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton. The Geordies fired off 24 shots but ran into a brick wall in the shape of former Bulgaria youth international Mitov who racked up 10 saves, including a diving injury time stop to keep out a Joelinton header and preserve the 1-0 upset win.

CD Matty Pearson (Huddersfield Town) – Playing on the right side of a back three, Pearson helped Huddersfield shackle a Burnley attack that featured Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez. Burnley were held to an xG of only 0.56 in the defeat and Wood was held without a shot before being replaced by Jack Cork at halftime. Pearson capped off a strong performance with an 87th minute winning goal, shedding the marking of James Tarkowski at a corner to head home an 86th minute winner in the 2-1 Terriers win.

CD Dom Hyam (Coventry City) – Hyam anchored the Coventry back line to a 1-0 win over in-form Derby County, tyng for the team lead with 7 interceptions and netting the game’s decisive goal. Hyam met a Todd Kane corner at the back post to plant a header home and also contributed in possession throughout the game by completing 41 of 48 passes.

CD Joe Worrall (Nottingham Forest) – Worrall marshaled a back three that held Arsenal in check as an attack featuring Bukayo Saka, Alexandre Lacazette, Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah failed to muster a shot on target. Worrall stood strong to stifle Lacazette on the end of a late cross to preserve the 1-0 upset win for Forest.

LM Daniel Podence (Wolverhampton Wanderers) – Podence paired well on the left flank with Rayan Alt-Nouri and scored from both of his shots to spark Wolves to a 3-0 win over Sheffield United, also completing 29 of 37 passes in the game.

CM Fabinho (Liverpool) – Brazilian midfielder Fabinho was his typically strong defensive presence in the 4-1 win over Shrewsbury Town and also had an uncharacteristically strong attacking contribution. Fabinho won the free kick that led to a 44th minute penalty that he converted himself, before playing a penetrating pass that led young fullback Conor Bradley in behind to send over a cross that ended in Roberto Firmino making it 3-1. The Brazilian international then rounded out the scoring by smashing home from close range following a Konstantinos Tsimikas free kick. Throughout the game, Fabinho completed 58 of 65 passes and made 4 ball recoveries in the Shrewsbury half.

CM James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) – England international playmaker Ward-Prowse was a key figure for Southampton, starting the game in central midfield and moving to right back after the sending off of Yan Valery. Ward-Prowse completed 34 of 38 passes, tallied 5 interceptions and won 6 of 9 defensive duels as the game progressed into extra time tied at 2-2. In the 102nd minute, the makeshift right back burst forward and sent in a low cross for Shane Long to steer home the decisive goal.

ACM Emiliano Marcondes (Bournemouth) – Denmark Under-21 international Marcondes was the driving force in a 3-1 win at Yeovil Town, scoring a hat-trick with all three of his shots and also completing 32 of 24 passes, including all three of his passes into the opposition final third.

RM Djed Spence (Nottingham Forest) – The loanee from Middlesbrough shackled Arsenal left winger Martinelli and was a dynamic threat going forward. Spence tied for the team lead with 7 interceptions and tied England international Saka for the game lead with 7 successful dribbles. 

CF Joe Ironside (Cambridge United) – No stranger to the northeast, Ironside was born in Middlesbrough where his father was a backup goalkeeper and grew up idolizing Alan Shearer. Ironside took his chance to emulate his hero and scored the winning goal at St. James’ Park, spinning to lash home the game’s only goal in the 56th minute. Target man Ironside won 10 aerial duels, second only to Newcastle forward Joelinton among all players on the field.

CF Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford) – Subbed into the game in the 62nd minute with the Bees leading 1-0, Mbeumo had a decisive impact and netted a hat-trick with goals from his only three shots in the 65th, 76th and 87th minute and completed 5 of 7 passes in a 4-1 win over Port Vale.


  • Newcastle United 0-1 Cambridge United
  • Kidderminster Harriers 2-1 Reading
  • Boreham Wood 2-0 AFC Wimbledon
  • Yeovil Town 1-3 Bournemouth
  • Chelsea 5-1 Chesterfield
  • Hartlepool United 2-1 Blackpool
  • Barnsley 5-4 Barrow (aet)
  • Peterborough United 2-1 Bristol Rovers
  • Mansfield Town 2-3 Middlesbrough
  • Wigan Athletic 3-2 Blackburn Rovers
  • Queen’s Park Rangers 1-1 Rotherham United (8-7 pen)
  • Birmingham City 0-1 Plymouth Argyle (aet)
  • Burnley 1-2 Huddersfield Town
  • Swindon Town 1-4 Manchester City
  • Port Vale 1-4 Brentford
  • West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Brighton & Hove Albion (aet)
  • Leicester City 4-1 Watford
  • Swansea City 2-3 Southampton (aet)
  • Millwall 1-2 Crystal Palace
  • Hull City 2-3 Everton (aet)
  • Bristol City 0-1 Fulham (aet)
  • Coventry City 1-0 Derby County
  • Nottingham Forest 1-0 Arsenal
  • Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Morecambe
  • Charlton Athletic 0-1 Norwich City
  • Liverpool 4-1 Shrewsbury Town
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0 Sheffield United
  • West Ham United 2-0 Leeds United
  • Luton Town 4-0 Harrogate Town
  • Stoke City 2-0 Leyton Orient
  • Cardiff City 2-1 Preston North End (aet)
  • Manchester United 1-0 Aston Villa

About the Author

Picture of Stewart Flaherty

Stewart Flaherty

Stewart is a native of Middlesbrough, England, and is a graduate of Loughborough University with a master's degree in sport psychology. Stewart has coached at both USL2 and the elite level of youth football in the USA, alongside building an extensive career in college soccer and currently works with a NCAA Division 1 Men's soccer program.

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