Football fans call it the cup of fairy tales and the 3rd round has always been synonymous with the magic of the competition. The round in which the big boys make their entrance has provided many David vs Goliath encounters in the past and many more potential match-ups of that kind were set up nicely after yesterday’s draw.
The talk of the draw was the non-league sides. Most notably the lowest placed team left in the competition, Blyth Spartans. The North-East side booked their place in the 3rd round after seeing off Hartlepool United on Friday night. They drew Birmingham City at home in a lucrative but somewhat anti-climactic tie. Meanwhile fellow non-league sides Dover Athletic and Wrexham drew Premier League sides Crystal Palace and Stoke City respectively. Whilst Southport drew Championship topping Derby County at Pride Park. Some potential giant killings there for sure!
In a fascinating turn of events, the first tie drawn saw Arsenal play Hull City in a repeat of last year’s final. The bemused look on Steve Bruce’s face in the immediate aftermath said it all as his side faced a daunting trip to the Emirates Stadium. The 2 top teams at the summit of the English league ladder were handed fortunate draws. Chelsea getting Watford at home whilst Manchester City will host Sheffield Wednesday, in a repeat of the fixture which saw the citizens win 7-0 over the Championship side in the league cup, earlier in the season.
In a repeat of the 1988 final, AFC Wimbledon will host struggling Liverpool. The Dons famously ran out 1-0 winners in that famous meeting between the two at Wembley against the great Liverpool side of the 80’s featuring Dagleish, Aldridge, Rush and a host of other legendary names. Another FA Cup miracle will surely have to occur if the League Two outfit are to beat Brendan Rodgers’ below par side this time round, in possibly the rounds most magical tie.
Having gone out of business in the early 2000’s, Wimbledon were reformed by the clubs fans and managed to work their way up from the very bottom of England’s lengthy football pyramid to the football league in a decade. Such a lucrative tie is one that these fans have been waiting for, so expect their little ground to be bouncing come match day.
Another great tie will see either Yeovil Town or Accrington Stanley host record winners of the competition, Manchester United. A replay between the two lower league teams will take place in the coming week in what will now turn into somewhat of a cup final, with a dream game at stake. Yeovil of League One, were relegated from the Championship last year after their first ever season in the league and have been struggling on return to the third tier so far this season. Whilst Accrington Stanley, one of England’s most iconic little clubs, have been enjoying a surprise play-off chase in League Two. The Football League’s smallest club have become legendary and also symbolic of the English leagues since a famous milk advert in the 80’s. Leading to the famous line; ‘Accrington Stanley who are they?’ What’s more both sides desperately need the draw for the high amount of financial revenue it would provide for the 2 cash-stricken outfits. Who said the FA Cup was dead?
Other noticeable ties include Southampton v 2nd in the Championship Ipswich, Aston Villa at home to struggling Blackpool and an all Premier League clash between Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur – a club with great pedigree in the competition. In 2 other all top flight clashes, Leicester host Newcastle and West Ham travel to Merseyside to take on Everton.
Whom do you think will lift the FA Cup this season? Place your bets at Paddy Power football betting odds.
Ties to be played on 3 – 6 January.
|Charlton Athletic||vs.||Blackburn Rovers|
|Dover Athletic||vs.||Crystal Palace|
|Manchester City||vs.||Sheffield Wednesday|
|Aldershot or Rochdale||vs.||Nottingham Forest|
|West Bromwich Albion||vs.||Gateshead|
|Blyth Spartans||vs.||Birmingham City|
|Oxford United or Tranmere Rovers||vs.||Swansea City|
|Cardiff City||vs.||Colchester United|
|Bolton Wanderers||vs.||Wigan Athletic|
|Brentford||vs.||Brighton and Hove Albion|
|Leicester City||vs.||Newcastle United|
|Scunthorpe United or Worcester City||vs.||Chesterfield|
|Everton||vs.||West Ham United|
|Cambridge United or Mansfield Town||vs.||Bury or Luton Town|
|Barnsley or Chester||vs.||Middlesbrough|
|Queens Park Rangers||vs.||Sheffield United|
|Accrington Stanley or Yeovil Town||vs.||Manchester United|
|Preston North End||vs.||Norwich City|
|Doncaster Rovers||vs.||Bristol City|