FA Cup Draw 2015-16 Schedule: 3rd-Round Fixtures and Dates Released

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2015

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 30:  Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal lifts the trophy in celebration with team mates after the FA Cup Final between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on May 30, 2015 in London, England. Arsenal beat Aston Villa 4-0.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Defending champions Arsenal will host Sunderland in the third round of the FA Cup, while Manchester United were paired with Sheffield United in Monday's draw.

Struggling Chelsea will play either Leyton Orient or Scunthorpe United at Stamford Bridge, 2011 winners Manchester City have an all-Premier League clash with Norwich City, and Liverpool face a trip to Exeter City.

Salford City—the lowest ranked side left in the draw—could face Championship side Derby County in the third round, but they need to beat League Two's Hartlepool United in their second-round replay on Dec. 15.

Here is the full list of fixtures for the FA Cup third round after the 44 Premier League and Championship clubs entered the draw on Monday.

FA Cup 2015-16: Third-Round Fixtures
Homevs.Away
Watfordvs.Newcastle United
West Bromwich Albionvs.Bristol City
West Ham Unitedvs.Wolverhampton Wanderers
Salford City or Hartlepool Unitedvs.Derby County
Exeter Cityvs.Liverpool
Tottenham Hotspurvs.Leicester City
Colchester Unitedvs.Charlton Athletic
Peterborough Unitedvs.Preston North End
Northampton Townvs.MK Dons
Arsenalvs.Sunderland
Newport Countyvs.Blackburn Rovers
Ipswich Townvs.Portsmouth
Birmingham Cityvs.Bournemouth
Wycombe Wanderersvs.Aston Villa
Sheffield Wednesdayvs.Fulham
Oxford Unitedvs.Swansea City
Brentfordvs.Chesterfield or Walsall
Buryvs.Bradford City
Manchester Unitedvs.Sheffield United
Evertonvs.Dagenham & Redbridge or Whitehawk
Southamptonvs.Crystal Palace
Eastleighvs.Bolton Wanderers
Nottingham Forestvs.Queens Park Rangers
Carlisle Unitedvs.Yeovil Town
Chelseavs.Leyton Orient or Scunthorpe United
Doncaster Roversvs.Stoke City
Leeds Unitedvs.Rotherham United
Cardiff Cityvs.Grimsby or Shrewsbury
Huddersfield Townvs.Reading
Middlesbroughvs.Burnley
Norwich Cityvs.Manchester City
Hull Cityvs.Brighton & Hove Albion
BBC Sport

Fixtures will be played between Jan. 8 and Jan. 11, 2016.      

 

The Gunners have won the storied competition in both of the last two seasons, and their campaign for a third triumph on the bounce begins at the Emirates against the Black Cats—who they beat 3-1 in the Premier League on Saturday. 

Manchester United have not won the competition since 2004, but Louis van Gaal will surely be targeting a 12th FA Cup victory for the Red Devils this season.

They will be heavy favourites against the Blades at Old Trafford, but the League One side will be desperate to pull off an upset.

Chelsea's chances of retaining the Premier League this season have been all but dashed after a miserable start to the campaign. Thus, the FA Cup will likely be high in the agenda for the west London club, especially having been dumped out by Bradford City in only the fourth round last term.

The Sky Blues were also ejected at the same stage in 2014-15—by Middlesbrough—and they face a tough challenge in this year's third round against Norwich.

Liverpool had hoped to send club legend Steven Gerrard out on a high last term with FA Cup glory, but Aston Villa dashed those dreams in the semi-finals.

With Gerrard now gone and a new manager in place in the shape of Jurgen Klopp, a trip to Exeter presents a challenge, but one they have passed often in the past, per football writer Andy Kelly:

Eastleigh are the only non-League side guaranteed a place in the third round following their defeat of Stourbridge on Saturday.

The National League outfit will hope to keep the dream alive when they face Bolton Wanderers at home in the third round.

Always one of the highlights of the domestic campaign, the FA Cup third round is likely to be no different this season after the draw threw up some intriguing matchups.

An upset or two of some kind is all but guaranteed for the big guns, as nothing prompts a giant-killing quite like the oldest football competition in the world.

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