FA Cup 3rd Round: 10 Games to Watch

Will Tidey@willtideySenior Manager, GlobalJanuary 6, 2012

FA Cup 3rd Round: 10 Games to Watch

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    The Premier League takes a break this weekend, as attention in England turns to the grand old tradition of the FA Cup. The third round sees the introduction of the big boys, and over the years has thrown up some memorable upsets.

    The action starts tonight with Liverpool vs. Oldham at Anfield, and culminates on Monday evening with Leeds taking on Arsenal at The Emirates.

    Here are my 10 games to watch.

Everton vs. Tamworth

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    Non-League Tamworth travel to Goodison Park on Saturday looking to produce one of the great FA Cup upsets.

    Currently positioned 15th in the Blue Square Premier, Tamworth saw past Gateshead in round two to set up the tie and will be taking 3,000 fans to Merseyside.

    Here's what manager Marcus Law said to The Telegraph's Jim White on how they'll approach it.

    “If you’re saying to me could we play Everton under 1970s rules so every time [Louis] Saha or [Tim] Cahill get the ball we can kick them from behind until they either go off injured or snap and get red-carded, maybe I would.

    "It was fair game then because it was within the laws. You can’t do that now. So we’ll approach the game in an educated manner, respectful of who we are up against.”

    Everton come into the game on the back of a Premier League defeat to Bolton. Landon Donovan made his return in that one, and should feature again on Saturday.

    PREDICTION: Everton 3-1 Tamworth

Swindon Town vs. Wigan

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    Swindon Town are managed by the incomparable Paolo Di Canio these days, and the hot-headed Italian will be waving his arms and screaming madly on the touchline as his team take on Premier League opposition in the form of Wigan.

    Swindon have only lost once at home in League Two this season, and will fancy themselves to give Wigan a serious test on Saturday.

    Roberto Martinez's visitors have lost six of eight on the road in the Premier League this season, and find themselves planted in the relegation zone. For the sake of moral, they can't avoid defeat in this one.

    PREDICTION: Swindon 1-1 Wigan

Fleetwood Town vs. Blackpool

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    Ian Holloway's Blackpool were relegated from the Premier League last season and currently find themselves just outside the playoff places in the Championship.

    On Saturday they'll travel the short distance to non-league Fleetwood Town, who are flying high in the Blue Square Premier.

    Fleetwood chairman Andy Piley called it "the game of the century," and hopes will be high for an upset after his team beat League One Yeovil in a replay to reach round three.

    PREDICTION: Fleetwood 1-2 Blackpool

West Brom vs. Cardiff

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    It's Premier League against Championship, as promotion hopefuls Cardiff host Roy Hodgson's West Brom in Wales.

    Cardiff have a good home record this season, while the Baggies come into the game on the back of two straight league defeats.

    I'm going for an upset in this one.

    PREDICTION: Cardiff 2-0 West Brom

Fulham vs. Charlton

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    Fulham will go into their all-London clash with Charlton boosted by a 2-1 Premier League win against Arsenal, which saw Bobby Zamora grab a late winner.

    Their opponents are flying high in League One and have won nine of their 13 away games in the league this season. They're also an attacking, free-scoring side who will likely have a go at their more lofty opponents and see what happens.

    I see this one going as expected, however.

    PREDICTION: Fulham 4-1 Charlton

Crawley Town vs. Bristol City

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    Former Liverpool and England goalkeeper David James is Bristol City's goalkeeper these days, and his heroics helped achieve a notable victory against Championship leaders Southampton recently.

    Bristol followed that with a win against Millwall and are gradually clawing themselves away from the relegation places in the Championship.

    On Saturday they face a serious test in the form of League Two leaders Crawley, who have serious financial clout behind them and will be looking to repeat the run that saw them travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United last season.

    I see this one going to a replay.

    PREDICTION: Crawley 2-2 Bristol City

Derby vs. Crystal Palace

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    Nigel Clough's Derby County are making a push towards the playoff places in the Championship, having won their last three on the spin.

    On Saturday they host Crystal Palace, who proved their knockout credentials with a win against Manchester United to reach the Carling Cup semifinals. Palace are just a point ahead of Derby in the league, so this has all the makings of a tight contest.

    I'm going with form.

    PREDICTION: Derby 1-0 Palace

Arsenal vs. Leeds

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    Monday night's televised tie will see Championship promotion hopefuls Leeds head south to take on Arsenal at The Emirates.

    These two famously met in the 1972 FA Cup Final, with Leeds running out 1-0 winners.

    Expect Arsene Wenger to go with a few of his young gunners in this one, and Arsenal to ultimately run out fairly comfortable winners.

    PREDICTION: Arsenal 3-0 Leeds

Birmingham vs. Wolves

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    If you're looking for atmosphere, this one will be hard to beat. A 12.30pm kick won't stop fans of both teams arriving in high spirits and pumped up for the occasion.

    The Midlands derby between Birmingham and Wolves will see Championship hosts take on their Premier League neighbours, and you can expect a tight and full-blooded affair.

    Form will go out the window, and I can see this one going to a replay.

    PREDICTION: Birmingham 1-1 Wolves

Manchester City vs. Manchester United

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    There's no escaping the tie of the FA Cup third round, which will resume hostilities between Manchester City and United at The Etihad on Sunday.

    The last time these teams met City ran out 6-1 winners at Old Trafford. Roberto Mancini's team go into this one with a three-point lead over United at the top of the Premier League, and with most people considering them favorites.

    United have lost their last two games, against Blackburn and Newcastle, and Sir Alex Ferguson will be leaning on all his experience to draw a big performance from his team.

    Expect a fast-paced, feisty encounter, and don't be surprised if we get a red card or two. I'm going for a scrappy 1-0 win for United.

    PREDICTION: City 0-1 United


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