The third round of the FA Cup is usually one of the highlights of the year when we get to watch tiny non-league teams (i.e. David) battle it out against massive Premier League clubs (i.e. Goliath) at quaint football grounds in the cold of winter.
This year, for TV viewers in the United States, the experience will be quite different. Instead of the matches just appearing on Fox Soccer Channel and pay-per-view, the games will be televised by both Fox Soccer Channel and Setanta Sports. The end result is more FA Cup matches on US television than ever before.
Another quirk, courtesy of Setanta Sports in the UK, is that there’s a Friday FA Cup match which will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.
Here’s the complete schedule for this weekend’s FA Cup matches on U.S. TV. All times eastern.
Friday, January 2nd:
- Tottenham Hotspur v Wigan Athletic, 10am, Setanta Sports
Saturday, January 3rd:
- Forest Green Rovers vs Derby County, 10am, Fox Soccer Channel
- Macclesfield vs Everton, 10am, Setanta Sports
- Hull City vs Newcastle United, 10am, Setanta Xtra (replayed at 12:15pm on Setanta Sports)
- Preston North End vs Liverpool, Noon, Fox Soccer Channel
Sunday, January 4th:
- Gillingham vs Aston Villa, 8:30am ET, Fox Soccer Channel
- Southampton vs Manchester United, 11am, Setanta Sports
Monday, January 5th:
- Blyth Spartans vs Blackburn Rovers, 3pm, Fox Soccer Channel
To me, the most interesting matches will be Blyth against Blackburn, Forest Green Rovers against Derby and Macclesfield against Everton. What remains to be seen is whether the Premier League clubs will be fielding full-strength sides in their FA Cup matches. I’m sure many players will be rested, but there’s still no excuse why the Premier League teams can’t beat their lesser opposition.
Other matches to keep an eye on, that aren’t televised, but could feature upsets are:
- Hartlepool vs Stoke City,
- Sheffield Wednesday vs Fulham,
- West Ham United vs Barnsley,
- Middlesbrough vs Barrow,
- Chelsea vs Southend,
- Manchester City vs Nottingham Forest,
- West Brom vs Peterborough,
- Histon vs Swansea City, and
- Arsenal vs Plymouth.