Arsenal began the defense of its F.A. Cup title with a 3-1 comeback victory against visiting Sunderland in the third round of the tournament on Saturday, while Manchester City defeated host Norwich, 3-0, and Manchester United beat Sheffield United, 1-0. Aston Villa of the Premier League was held to 1-1 draw at the fourth-tier club Wycombe, while Eastleigh of England’s fifth-tier league tied, 1-1, with the second-division club Bolton.
It looked as if there might be a shock at Emirates Stadium in London, where Arsenal, the Premier League leader, fell behind when Jermaine Lens struck after 17 minutes for Sunderland, which is second-to-last in the Premier League.
But Joel Campbell tied the score, and two goals in three second-half minutes from the substitute Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud sealed Arsenal’s place in the fourth round.
Manchester City had no problems at Norwich. Sergio Agüero beat four players before scoring the opener and assisted on the second, scored by Kelechi Iheanacho.
Kevin De Bruyne added the third, shooting though the legs of goalkeeper John Ruddy.
Manchester United needed a penalty kick goal from Wayne Rooney in second-half stoppage time to avoid a tie at home against second-tier Sheffield Wednesday. Memphis Depay drew the foul in the area; then Rooney converted with just minutes remaining.
Eastleigh went up by 1-0 over visiting Bolton in the second half of its match at Silverlake Stadium with an own goal by Bolton defender Dorian Dervite, but Darren Pratley saved Bolton from humiliation by leveling the score moments from the end.
Villa became the second Premier League team to fail to beat fourth-tier opposition.
Micah Richards, Villa’s captain, gave his side the lead in the first half, but Joe Jacobson tied the score for Wycombe with a penalty kick.
Villa is last in the Premier League, and the draw stretched its winless run to 16 matches. After the game, Richards was on the field having an animated discussion with unhappy Villa fans, and Manager Rémi Garde accepted criticism from fans.
“I can understand the fans. They travel a long way,” Garde said, adding, “This is what we deserve.”
Liverpool was the first Premier League team held by a fourth division opponent in the third round, tying Exeter, 2-2, on Friday.
But its local rival, Everton, avoided a similar fate against an opponent from the same division as it beat visiting Dagenham, 2-0, at Goodison Park with goals from Arouna Koné and Kevin Mirallas.
West Bromwich needed a late goal from James Morrison to tie second-tier Bristol City, 2-2, and earn a replay, while Bournemouth came from a goal behind to beat Birmingham, 2-1.
Southampton lost, 2-1, to Crystal Palace; Watford beat Newcastle, 1-0; West Ham edged Wolverhampton, 1-0; and Stoke beat Doncaster, 2-1.
HAT TRICK FOR MESSI Lionel Messi’s first hat trick of the season helped Barcelona beat visiting Granada, 4-0, and take a provisional lead of the Spanish league.
Messi scored twice within the first 15 minutes at the Camp Nou stadium and added his third in the second half as Barcelona cruised to victory. Neymar closed the scoring late.
It was Messi’s 33rd hat trick. He is favored to win a record fifth Ballon d’Or on Monday, the award given to the world’s best player, from a shortlist with Neymar and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
The victory lifted Barcelona a point above Atlético Madrid, which plays at fifth-place Celta Vigo on Sunday.
Barcelona will have a game in hand after the end of the 19th round this weekend.
Third-place Real Madrid is 5 points behind Barcelona. It hosted Deportivo de La Coruña late Saturday in the debut of its new manager, Zinedine Zidane.