This weekend sees the FA Cup 3rd round ties commence as the competition really heats up with Premier League and Championship sides entering the competition. There have been some memorable 3rd round ties throughout the years and we’ve put together some of the best matches you should look out for this weekend.
The first FA Cup tie of the weekend and will probably be the most keenly contested between Premier League sides. Both teams currently distrust the officials as Slaven Bilic is still seething over Mike Dean’s performance against Man Utd, while Pep Guardiola’s awkward interview showed his displeasure towards the officials. The FA Cup 3rd round is normally the opportunity to rest some players after a busy festive schedule but neither team can afford to do that. Pep Guardiola would want to win a trophy in his first season and this could be a perfect opportunity for Man City.
FA Cup holders, Manchester United, start the defence of their title against a familiar face in former reds defender, Japp Stam. Widely considered as the best defender for United during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign, he is proving to be equally adept in management as his Reading side currently sit 3rd in the Championship. Manchester United have a full squad to choose from and they will likely utilise all of their players for this match. Despite this, Jose Mourinho’s men should have enough to get past Reading into the 4th round. Expect to hear lots of Japp Stam songs from the Stretford End for this match.
Preston North End have a dream tie as they host Arsenal at Deepdale. Preston are currently sitting in a midtable position in the Championship but they will fancy their chances against an Arsenal side who looked out of sorts for 70 minutes against Bournemouth. Arsene Wenger has already stated he will rotate his squad and if Preston can get Deepdale rocking, we could be in for a huge 3rd round shock.
If ever there was a chance for a Premier League side to succumb to a lower league giant killing, this is the match. Sam Allardyce is struggling with Palace at the moment and he travels to familiar surroundings at the Reebok Stadium where he was the long-time manager at Bolton. No longer a Premier League side, Bolton are trying to make their way back up the leagues as they are currently 2nd in League One. Palace would want to rest players for the Premier League but an early elimination to a lower league side would seriously dampen moral. This is a dangerous tie for The Eagles.
It has been a while since Liverpool have had a good run in the FA Cup but they have been given a good opportunity with their 3rd round opponents, Plymouth. Plymouth currently sit 2nd in League Two and even with Liverpool rotating players it will be a huge ask to cause an upset at Anfield. However, stranger things have happened in the FA Cup 3rd round.
Expect at least 3 goals in this match, with a lot of pressure from the Liverpool midfield!
Aston Villa have steadied the ship since the arrival of Steve Bruce and they are currently within touching distance of the playoff places. They have aspirations of becoming a Premier League side again next season and a match against high-flying Tottenham would be a good barometer to them to see what is needed to get back to the Premier League. Spurs have just ended Chelsea’s winning streak with a 2-0 victory at White Hart Lane and they have no plans of slowing down as they aim to make progress in the FA Cup.