FA Cup 2016 3rd-Round Draw: Winners and Losers

Michael Cummings@MikeCummings37World Football Lead WriterDecember 7, 2015

FA Cup 2016 3rd-Round Draw: Winners and Losers

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    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.

Full Draw

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    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)

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    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.

Loser: Tottenham

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    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.

Winner: Eastleigh

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    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.

Winner: Chelsea

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    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.

Winner: Arsenal

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    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.