Why Brighton vs. Newcastle Is the FA Cup 3rd Round Tie to Watch

Matt CheethamCorrespondent IJanuary 4, 2013

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28:  Will Buckley of Brighton celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the FA Cup fourth round match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Newcastle United at Amex Stadium on January 28, 2012 in Brighton, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

This weekend marks one of the most keenly anticipated events in the English football calendar. The FA Cup Third Round. 

Sides get a chance to leave behind the stresses and strains of league form and focus on the refreshing one-off nature of the cup.

Yet with so many fixtures to digest, which should be prioritised? 

Football purists will salivate over the passing marathon on offer at Swansea against Arsenal, yet as with the potential upset of Southampton hosting Chelsea, it's a tie on display in the Premier League.

Fans want to see shock results, but they also want to witness new matchups from contrasting clubs, not league-on-league clashes.

Most of the top names—Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool—have especially winnable games on paper.

While they will be worth watching, the contests are unlikely to be competitive and may be over before halftime. Don't bank on any of them crashing out just yet.

Instead, to satisfy all the needs of an FA Cup Third Round tie, tune into the game at the Falmer Stadium, where Brighton host Newcastle.

This clash pits the Championship against the Premier League in an unpredictable tussle that could well prove a memorable spectacle.

Brighton have been enjoying a consistent, if unspectacular, league campaign under Gus Poyet.

They currently sit three points off the play-offs and boast an array of useful talent desperate to prove themselves against Premier League opponents.

Poyet tends to mix an efficient blend of youth and experience, with Tomasz Kuszczak and Wayne Bridge two of the more familiar names, both used to the big occasion.

In contrast to their hosts, Newcastle are in absolutely dire form, having lost 10 of their last 13 games.

They have just sold top scorer Demba Ba and are sinking down the Premier League table at an alarming rate.

With Alan Pardew's men facing a particularly long journey to Brighton and sure to be greeted by a raucous, frenzied crowd, this tie reeks of a potential upset.

For Brighton's players, it's not only an opportunity to test themselves against top-tier opposition, but also a chance to forge a reputation and make a name for themselves during a transfer window.

What adds spice to the occasion is that it's also a repeat of last year's fourth round tie, when Brighton sent an in-form Newcastle crashing out.

The hosts will look to this for encouragement while Pardew's side will be intent on revenge.

Tune in on Saturday to see which side can battle their way through what should be a fast-paced, committed and pulsating affair.