This weekend is a weekend in the football calendar that many fans up and down the country have marked off as one to watch out for. The FA Cup may have lost its appeal and value as a competition to win for some people, but the third round is a fantastic weekend of sport and there are many great games taking place this season.
We have many clashes that put the big boys up against the smaller clubs in the football system, and that is the magic this competition brings. There are also many games where big clubs take each other on, and we are sure to see some big names exit the competition very early.
Looking down the list of ties there are many mouth-watering ties to look at, starting off with a Merseyside derby on Friday night to kick off the third round with a bang. A few weeks ago Liverpool would have fancied their chances of a comfortable success here, but Everton have played better in recent weeks.
On Saturday we have another big derby taking place when Middlesbrough host Sunderland in a game that will be fiercely contested in the North East. Elsewhere, many Premier League clubs have been drawn away against lower opposition and they will be looking to avoid an upset in those games. Huddersfield, Southampton and Swansea are all struggling for form in the Premier League and a trip to a Championship club is far from ideal for them. Saturday evening is rounded off with another Premier League club visiting a Championship club when Chelsea travel to face Norwich.
On Sunday, West Ham and Arsenal both travel away to lower league opposition, while Tottenham play AFC Wimbledon at Wembley. The final tie on Sunday is a trip to Newport County for Leeds, and the final game of the weekend comes on Monday when Brighton host Crystal Palace.
Our Predictions for the Big Ties
Liverpool vs Everton – Liverpool win
Manchester United vs Derby – Manchester United win
Fleetwood vs Leicester – Leicester win
Middlesbrough vs Sunderland – Middlesbrough win
Bolton vs Huddersfield – Draw
Exeter vs West Brom – West Brom win
Fulham vs Southampton – Fulham win
Manchester City vs Burnley – Manchester City win
Watford vs Bristol City – Bristol City win
Wolves vs Swansea – Wolves win
Norwich vs Chelsea – Chelsea win
Newport vs Leeds – Leeds win
Shrewsbury vs West Ham – West Ham win
Tottenham vs AFC Wimbledon – Tottenham win
Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal – Arsenal win
Brighton vs Crystal Palace – Draw
What Games are on TV?
Liverpool vs Everton – Friday, 19:55 BBC One
The Merseyside derby kicks off the weekend in great style and will provide a fantastic platform for the competition to begin. Everton have gradually improved over the past few weeks and managed to climb the table and move away from safety. They will have to do even better than that if they are to win at Anfield, but in a one-off game, anything can happen.
However, Liverpool have been playing some good football, they are tough to beat at home and they have enough to beat Everton on Friday night.
Fleetwood vs Leicester – Saturday, 12:45 BBC One
Premier League club Leicester face a tricky trip to Fleetwood on Saturday lunchtime and they will have to perform well to avoid a cup upset. After a poor run of games, Leicester bounced back to beat Huddersfield 3-0 and that will give them confidence going into this tie. After starting the season with hopes of promotion, Fleetwood have been a little disappointing in League One this season, they are currently 12th in the league. They have won two of their last three games though, and their compact ground will no doubt cause Leicester some problems when they visit.
Leicester need to be professional here, but they have more than enough to get a win from their trip to Fleetwood.
Norwich vs Chelsea – Saturday, 17:30 BT Sport 2
Premier League top four team Chelsea have a trip to Norwich on Saturday evening which will round off the FA Cup action for that day. It may only be January, but the Premier League title race looks to be over already so if Chelsea wants some silverware this season, it will have to come in one of the cup competitions. Norwich have experience of playing the big clubs though, and they are not going to make this easy for Chelsea. They are unbeaten in their last three, winning two of them although many would have expected to see them much higher than their current position of 13th in the Championship.
Norwich will make this tough, but Chelsea have the quality to get past them in what should be an entertaining tie.
Shrewsbury vs West Ham – Sunday, 14:00 BBC One
West Ham have been playing much better football recently, and they have lost just one of their last five games. They should have the confidence and ability to win this tie, although Shrewsbury are having a great season in League One and looks sure to make this a difficult afternoon for the Premier League outfit. They have lost just three games this season, and are currently in 2nd place looking for promotion. This is a big opportunity for them to continue their good run and impress people with their performance on TV, so expect a huge push from them against West Ham.
The Hammers should have the quality to get past Shrewsbury, although the League One club are going to make this very difficult.
Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal – Sunday, 16:00 BT Sport 2
While Arsenal are playing well, and they know that this competition represents a good chance of silverware for them, they know they are in for a tricky afternoon in the North of England. One worry for them will be the number of draws they have had recently, they have drawn three of their last four Premier League games. Nottingham Forest were expected to challenge for promotion after spending some money this summer, but they are without a win in their last five and have recently sacked manager Mark Warburton.
Arsenal come here after a few draws recently and they will really want to avoid a replay and another game as their schedule continues to be busy. Although Arsenal are not flying high, neither are Nottingham Forest, and the Gunners can beat a Forest team that looks very low on confidence.
Brighton vs Crystal Palace – Monday, 19:45 BT Sport 2
The final tie of the round is an all-Premier League clash between two clubs who are struggling and look likely to have a relegation scrap on the horizon. Both will concentrate on the league, but will also know the value of a good cup run and the effect it can have on morale in the camp. Crystal Palace have been in much better form recently, and have lost just one of their last five, while Brighton have the same record, but theirs includes three draws. With just one point between them in the league, there is little to choose between them, although Crystal Palace are the form team out of anyone in the bottom half right now.
This looks sure to be a tight matchup, and a draw would not be a surprise, although neither team would want a replay getting in the way of their survival bid.
Many people will be looking for teams they can put in an accumulator this weekend and with it being the FA cup, there will be many strong favourites for people to back.
The Friday night home double looks sure to be popular, with Liverpool at 2/5 to beat Everton and Manchester United at 2/9 to beat Derby. Both look to have great chances and while the odds are not great, many will place the double hoping to win funds for the games on Saturday.
Leicester at 1/2 will be a popular choice for punters in the first television match, and should they not win a lot of accumulators will be down at the first hurdle. Elsewhere at 3 o’clock, Manchester City are sure to be in many accumulators at 2/11 at home to Burnley, a game they should win comfortably. Two other popular choices are surely going to be Newcastle at 1/2 at home to Luton and Chelsea away at Norwich, also priced at 1/2.
Lastly, on Sunday, a price that will tempt a lot of people is the evens on offer for West Ham to beat Shrewsbury. Two leagues separate these two clubs and West Ham have been showing signs of improvement recently, that price could look a big one after they have played on Sunday afternoon.
As well as accumulators being placed, many people will be looking to pick out smaller clubs who they believe are capable of beating a big team. Three that stand out this weekend are Coventry, Exeter and Bristol City. Coventry are 4/1 to win at home to Stoke, who are really struggling in the Premier League relegation zone right now. Another club in the relegation zone is West Brom and Exeter are 4/1 to beat them on Saturday afternoon. Finally, after beating Manchester United in the League Cup, can Bristol City defeat another Premier League team? They are 13/2 to win away at Watford.
A Yellow Card Shown in the Merseyside Derby with Coral
We all know the Merseyside derby is going to be a feisty affair on Friday night. There looks sure to be a yellow card in the game. If you are looking to open a new account with Coral and you think the same, head over now and open one because they are offering an enhanced price of 25/1 for there to be a card in the game to new customers. This offer will get your betting account off to a great start, and give you some betting funds to use this weekend.
Chelsea to beat Norwich with Ladbrokes
If you are looking to open a new account with Ladbrokes and you fancy Chelsea to beat Norwich this weekend then now is a great time to get one open. They are offering new customers the price of 33/1 that Chelsea will beat Norwich this weekend, huge value and much bigger than anywhere else on the market. This will get your new account off to a great start, and give you some betting funds to spend over the coming days.
Manchester City, Watford and Southampton Enhanced Treble with William Hill
Many people will fancy Manchester City to win this weekend and if you are looking for teams to go with them, take a look at the William Hill enhanced treble. They are offering Manchester City, Watford and Southampton in a treble at the enhanced price of 5/1, instead of the standard price of 5/2. Should you fancy these teams to win, this represents great value and is open to new and existing customers.