One of the most exciting days in the football calendar, the FA Cup 3rd Round draw took place yesterday. Throwing up its usual unpredictable mix of fixtures but failing to deliver a Premier League fairytale story for a non-league club.
We can already guarantee that there will be two sides from England’s second tier in the fourth round draw as Coventry v Crystal Palace and Preston v Nottingham Forest constitute the only all Championship 3rd round ties.
Overall the draw is a tough one for the Championship with more than 10 sides facing Premiership opposition, whilst increasing the chances of a relative upset it also means that a strong Championship presence in the fourth round and beyond is limited.
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Despite this pessimism here is my selectino of the most interesting ties in the third round for the Championship:
Arsenal v Leeds
Until recent times a battle of two powerhouses of the modern game, the decline of the Yorkshire club will do little to diminish what will be seen as one of the ties of the round.
Last season Manchester United were knocked out of the competition by Leeds and with Arsene Wenger unlikely to name his strongest side this could be another opportunity for a famous ‘cupset’.
Leicester City v Manchester City
This is a game between two clubs with rich foreign investors, albeit on a different scale.
The cup has a habit of bringing together former players and managers and I am sure that Sven Goran Errikson will be desperate to overcome his former employers. With a home tie the chances of an upset are increased however the depth of the Manchester City squad; even a weakened side is likely to be considered strong favourites.
Reading v West Bromwich Albion
The game for me that is most likely to produce a ‘cupset’ despite mediocre league form, a home tie against Premiership opposition will present a big opportunity to put in a performance and victory that will raise morale and placate the fans.
West Bromwich Albion have started the season well but form is rarely a factor in the FA Cup and this represents an intriguing third round tie.
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