Four All-EPL Clashes Highlight FA Cup Third Round Draw

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2012

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28:  Robin van Persie of Manchester United takes on Winston Reid of West Ham United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford on November 28, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The third-round draw for the FA Cup occurred on Sunday morning after the hotly contested match between MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon, which was won 2-1 by MK Dons. 

The third round introduces clubs from the English Premier League and four of the matches in the round of games to be played on January 5th and 6th will be played between two clubs from the top flight.

Manchester United are a part of the marquee match of the third round, as they will make a visit to Upton Park to face West Ham United. The two clubs have played once this season already at Old Trafford, where Manchester United came out victorious by a 1-0 score. 

Arsenal will get a chance to return to the Liberty Stadium and reverse their fortunes from Saturday's 2-0 loss to Swansea, as the two clubs were drawn against each other in the third round.

The other two all-EPL matches will be played between Southampton and Chelsea at the St. Mary's Stadium while West Brom will visit Loftus Road to play QPR. 

Manchester City, who won the trophy in 2011, will open their FA Cup campaign at home against Championship club Watford at the Etihad Stadium.

Other notable matches involving EPL clubs include Stoke City's visit to Selhurst Park to take on Championship leaders Crystal Palace and Sunderland visiting Bolton Wanderers, who were relegated from the EPL last season. 

Both Merseyside clubs were drawn on the road against minnows for the third round, with Liverpool travelling to either Lincoln City or Mansfield Town and Everton were drawn against the winner of Monday's match between League Two side Cheltenham Town and non-league side Hereford United. 

The club left in the competition that sits lowest on the English footballing pyramid will be the winner of the second-round replay between Isthmian Premier League Division side Hastings United and Conference North club Harrogate Town, with the winner earning a third-round trip to the Riverside Stadium to play Middlesbrough.