FA Cup 2016 3rd-Round Draw: Winners and Losers
The FA Cup third-round draw is set, with all 20 Premier League clubs joining in for matches to be played from Jan. 8-11.
Who received a favorable draw? Who faces a stiff challenge? Here, Bleacher Report selects winners and losers from Monday's draw.
Disagree with any of our choices? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section.
Below is the full draw. Home teams are listed first. Matches are scheduled for Jan. 8-11.
Arsenal vs. Sunderland
Birmingham vs. Bournemouth
Brentford vs. Chesterfield or Walsall
Bury vs. Bradford City
Cardiff City vs. Grimsby/Shrewsbury
Carlisle vs. Yeovil
Chelsea vs. Leyton Orient or Scunthorpe
Colchester vs. Charlton
Doncaster vs. Stoke City
Eastleigh vs. Bolton
Everton vs. Dagenham & Redbridge or Whitehawk
Exeter City vs. Liverpool
Huddersfield vs. Reading
Hull City vs. Brighton
Ipswich vs. Portsmouth
Leeds United vs. Rotherham
Manchester United vs. Sheffield United
Middlesbrough vs. Burnley
Newport County vs. Blackburn
Northampton vs. MK Dons
Norwich vs. Manchester City
Nottingham Forest vs. QPR
Oxford United vs. Swansea
Peterborough vs. Preston North End
Salford City or Hartlepool vs. Derby
Sheffield Wednesday vs. Fulham
Southampton vs. Crystal Palace
Tottenham vs. Leicester
Watford vs. Newcastle
West Bromwich vs. Bristol City
West Ham vs. Wolves
Wycombe vs. Aston Villa
Winners: Premier League Fans (and Possibly Some Minnows)
The third-round draw served up five all-Premier League ties. Holders Arsenal will host Sunderland, with Premier League leaders Leicester City heading to the other half of north London to play Tottenham Hotspur. Manchester City will head to Norwich City, Southampton will welcome Crystal Palace to St. Mary's Stadium and Newcastle will travel to Watford.
For Premier League fans, that means a weekend of five Premier League matches—fully half a regular schedule—when none were guaranteed. Besides competitive balance, these games should provide a similar level of unpredictability the top flight has produced all season.
That could be good news for minnows as well, with five Premier League sides guaranteed to go out of the tournament at the first hurdle.
Drawing a home match in the third round is ideal. But although Tottenham will play at White Hart Lane in the third round, they'll have to beat Premier League leaders Leicester City to move on to the next round.
That's no easy task at the moment. Leicester are playing an exciting brand of attacking football and are the only Premier League side to have scored in all their matches this season. Jamie Vardy's amazing goal run has just ended, but Riyad Mahrez hit a hat-trick in a 3-0 win at Swansea City at the weekend.
Tottenham are playing good football as well, having avoided defeat in 14 straight league matches since the opening day of the season. Harry Kane is firing in goals, and manager Mauricio Pochettino has made progress with his young side, but they must have hoped to have avoided such a tough draw in the third round.
Eastleigh were not the only non-league team in Monday's draw, but the other three—Grimsby, Whitehawk and Salford City—still had work to do in order to qualify for the third round.
Eastleigh's reward was a home match against championship side Bolton Wanderers. Drawing such a high-profile opponent will ensure the Spitfires have a memorable FA Cup atmosphere in their home ground. And with Bolton struggling at the bottom of the second tier, Eastleigh might even fancy nicking a result.
"We will be looking forward to that tie," said Eastleigh boss Chris Todd, per BBC Sport.
To say Chelsea have struggled this season to defend their Premier League title would be an understatement. Through 15 games, the Blues have lost eight times and collected just 15 points. Jose Mourinho's men currently sit a mere two points above the relegation places, a shocking statement considering the wealth of talent available at Stamford Bridge.
Thus Monday's draw—at home to either third-tier Scunthorpe or fourth-tier Leyton Orient—was a welcome relief. Anything can happen in the FA Cup, which has a proud history of upsets, but Chelsea couldn't have asked for a much better assignment.
The bad news is that Arsenal drew a Premier League opponent in the third round, which is technically the toughest draw possible.
The good news is that the holders' opponents will be Sunderland. The same two teams met at the weekend, with Arsenal winning 3-1 at home despite not playing their best game. The third-round tie will also be at the Emirates Stadium, where the Gunners will be supremely confident in advancing—despite their lengthy injury list.
Having won the FA Cup in back-to-back seasons, Arsenal should have a solid starting point for another run at the trophy.