It’s one of the most exciting weekends in the footballing calendar, the third round of the FA Cup when the teams from the top two divisions enter the action. The draw has thrown up a couple of interesting ties for different reasons. There are a couple of relatively local clashes, potential upsets and managerial debuts as sides look to book their place in the fourth round draw.
Here is a look at five games which could catch the eye of the neutrals.
Newcastle v Cardiff
It’s a pretty tough task for Ole Gunnar-Solskjaer in his first game in charge of Cardiff City as his side travel to the North East to take on Newcastle United, who have enjoyed a pretty good Premier League season so far. It will be interesting to see how Solskjaer will approach the FA Cup with survival in the Premier League the priority, whilst Alan Pardew will see the Cup as an opportunity to end Newcastle's 45 year trophy drought.
Southampton v Burnley
Southampton haven’t been in the best of form lately – all be it with a difficult run of fixtures whilst Burnley have been flying high in the Championship, and are firmly in the promotion mix. They may fancy their chances of an upset on the south coast, unless they decide to prioritise their league campaign and rest a few players instead.
West Ham have been in wretched form which seems them in the middle of a relegation dog fight in the Premier League. There is the added distraction of their League Cup semi-final against Manchester City in midweek. Forest have had a strong season in the Championship so far this season with them sitting in the playoff spots. Combine all those factors, plus that Forest are the home side, they will fancy their chances of an upset.
Arsenal v Tottenham
Without doubt it is the standout tie of the third round as the North London rivals do battle. Both teams go into it on a high with Arsenal sitting on top of the table and Spurs looking revitalised under new boss Tim Sherwood - it promises to be an intriguing encounter. Arsenal won the Premier League fixture at the Emirates Stadium in September, as bragging rights as well as a place in the fourth round are up for grabs.
Manchester United v Swansea
Both sides are not having the season’s they would like to have, that is for sure. Manchester United’s cup form has been pretty good with David Moyes’ side currently in the semi-final of the League Cup and in the Champions League knockout stages. But their home form hasn’t been the greatest on the domestic front. As for Swansea they would like to improve on their domestic form of late and claim a huge scalp and add to the misery surrounding United’s form at Old Trafford.
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