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LONDON: Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and holders Chelsea all avoided each other in yesterday’s FA Cup fourth-round draw at Wembley, but only Chelsea and City are assured of a future in the competition.
While several of their Premier League rivals floundered in Saturday’s third-round ties, Chelsea thrashed Southampton 5-1 and now face a trip to either fourth-tier Southend United or third-division Brentford.
City, 3-0 victors over Watford, will face either Premier League rivals Stoke City or Championship side Crystal Palace.
United needed an injury-time Robin van Persie equaliser to earn a 2-2 draw at West Ham United, with either Fulham or Blackpool awaiting the winners of the replay in round four.
Second-tier Brighton and Hove Albion’s reward for eliminating Newcastle United, meanwhile, is a tie with either Swansea City or Arsenal, who drew 2-2 at the Liberty Stadium yesterday.
Liverpool, 2-1 victors against non-league Mansfield Town on Sunday, will visit third-tier Oldham Athletic, who reached the semi-finals in 1994.
Fifth-division Macclesfield Town, conquerors of Championship leaders Cardiff City, could face Premier League opposition in the fourth round if Wigan Athletic come through their replay against League One Bournemouth.
Fellow Conference National representatives Luton Town will definitely face a side from the English top flight, however, having been drawn to face Norwich City after their upset win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The ties will be played on the weekend of January 26-27.
In Paris, holders Lyon, currently flying high in Ligue 1, were sensationally knocked out of the French Cup yesterday in a penalty shoot-out with third division club Epinal.
The round-of-64 match had ended 3-3 after extra-time, and Epinal went on to spring the biggest upset of the weekend when they beat the seven-time French league champions 4-2 on penalties. Epinal coach Fabien Tissot, a former French second division journeyman, said the result showed the “magic” of Cup football at its best.
“We pulled off an extraordinary performance,” said Tissot. “It’s the best victory in my career be it as a player or coach.
“The lads let nothing go and were rewarded for their efforts. At 2-0 up, I tried to calm everyone down but it was difficult.”
Lyon coach Remi Garde called the result “disappointing”.
“It’s always a massive disappointment when you’re eliminated by an inferior team. I’m disappointed for the players,” Garde said.
“We knew Epinal were a team that could perform. You must give this team credit.” AGENCIES