One of the most exciting weekends on the English calendar takes place this weekend, as the third round of the FA Cup takes place. The world’s oldest soccer competition is one of the most beloved, as it gives minnows a chance to knockout some of the most established sides in the top leagues. But, could we see any giant killings this weekend?
Premier League Sides To Get Through
We begin our rundown of some of the most interesting fixtures in the FA Cup this weekend with the very first third round tie that will be played. Manchester City travel to Swindon Town in a fixture that shows exactly what makes the FA Cup so special. The League Two side are huge +2000 outsiders to make it past the Premier League champions, and there aren’t many stats that will give them much confidence.
City have made it past their last seven ties against teams from the fourth tier or lower, with their last defeat coming against Blackpool in January 1984. Pep Guardiola has respected the FA Cup every season since he has been in charge at City, and Swindon’s record of ten losses in the past eleven games against City looks unlikely to change. However, a closely fought contest could be on the agenda, which means our pick will be on a 2-0 win for City.
Fellow Premier League sides Brighton and Chelsea also look very solid contenders to reach the next round, with the sides coming up against West Brom and Chesterfield, respectively. The Blues will be confident after beating Spurs 2-0 in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final, while the Seagulls are riding high in the Premier League and West Brom are failing to keep up with the leading pack in the Championship.
Potential Giant Killings
Third round weekend is all about the potential shocks that could be about to play out. For our money, the most likely shock could come with Hull City beating Everton. The Championship side are struggling this season, but Grant McCann’s side will be right up for it against an Everton side that are winless in three. The Toffees are also likely to make changes, which could mean that Hull are well positioned to take full advantage.
Charlton Athletic will also be very hopeful of reaching the fourth round of the FA Cup, as they host Norwich City on Sunday. The Addicks beat the Canaries last time that they faced off in the FA Cup in the 2008-09 season, while Norwich boss Dean Smith has been knocked out in the third round of the competition in three of the previous four seasons. Premier League survival remains Norwich’s main aim this season, which means a changed line-up could suffer an embarrassing defeat against Charlton.
The biggest shock could also come on Sunday, as a COVID-hit Liverpool side face off against an in-form Shrewsbury Town. The visitors have won three of their last four games, and will be confident of a shock result coming into this game due to the number of key players that the Reds will be without due to COVID. Shrewsbury put in a good showing in the 2019-20 season against the Reds, as the Anfield giants needed a replay to get past the Shrews. The minnows could go one better this weekend.
FA Cup Third Round Picks
- Manchester City 2-0 @ +700
- Brighton & Hove Albion @ +125
- Chelsea @ -2000
- Hull City @ +300
- Charlton Athletic @ +425
- Shrewsbury Town @ +900