It’s the oldest competition in football, and the trophy that teams from every level have a shot at winning. After Wigan’s shock victory over Manchester City in the final last season, it shows that you can’t rule anybody out! With the teams from the top two tiers being bought into the competition this weekend, we have a look at the standout third-round ties, and give you our top 10 facts ahead of the weekend’s games.
When the draw was made, the most notable tie of the round was the North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham at the Emirates. After Tim Sherwood’s resurgent Tottenham beat Manchester United on New Year’s Day, they will certainly be no pushover for the league leaders. Most Arsenal fans are fully aware that their trophy cabinet has not been added to for the past eight years and they will be desperate for that to change, and even more so against their bitterest rivals.
The lowest ranked team left in at the third round stage is Macclesfield, and they host Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow in a massive game for the Silkmen. Last year, Macclesfield were knocked out by eventual winners of the competition Wigan, and they will be looking to use their home advantage tomorrow and progress to the fourth round.
Chelsea playing away at Derby provides the third round with a great chance for an upset. Derby have been on fantastic form under Steve McClaren and are steaming up the Championship table. With a packed Pride Park you wouldn’t bet against them to end up in the pot for the fourth round draw.
And before we leave you to enjoy the action, here are 10 facts for you to ponder over:
1 – Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City are the first teams in action this weekend, as they kick off the live lunchtime game on BT Sport tomorrow.
2 – The holders of the trophy, Wigan Athletic, will start their campaign to retain the FA Cup at home to MK Dons, who managed to reach the fifth round of the competition last year.
3 – Three is the number of non-league teams that will play in this weekend’s third round ties. Grimsby, Kidderminster and Macclesfield are the ones who have made it, all from the conference.
4 – The Matthew’s final of 60 years ago is replicated this weekend, with Bolton playing Blackpool in the third round.
5 – Five is the number of all-Premier league ties this weekend, ensuring that at least 5 teams from the top tier will certainly not make it to the 4th round.
6 – Yeovil will welcome back their old manager, Russell Slade, as they face Leyton Orient at home tomorrow.
7 – There’s a good omen for Sheffield Wednesday if they win, as the club that knocked out Macclesfield last season went on to win the cup.
8 – It is now 3 consecutive years in a row that Liverpool have been drawn to play Oldham in the FA Cup
9 – All the way back in 1901, one of the semi-finals was played between Aston Villa and Sheffield United. These two meet again this weekend in the third round.
10 – The average attendance of the third round of the FA Cup has been below 20,000 every year since 1979.