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FA Cup Third Round Preview

Welcoming the FA Cup Final Team HomeThis weekend we get a break from the Premier League, for what I consider to be the best cup tournament in the world; the FA Cup. The third round is always interesting as the clubs in the Premier League and Championship come in and play teams from the lower divisions. It is here that we get those remarkable upsets that the FA Cup is famous for.

Here is a look at some of the games this weekend:

Match of the Week: Manchester United v Liverpool
The two most successful teams in English football meet at Old Trafford in what could well be the last game in charge for Liverpool’s Roy Hodgson.

After being upset by Leeds in the third round last year, I expect Fergie to field a strong team to make sure they don’t get knocked out here again. Plus Fergie loves nothing more than beating Liverpool, and he has a chance to end any hope that Liverpool fans of winning something this season.

I cannot see anything other than a United win here, and it could get ugly is Liverpool fall behind early.

Other Games
Arsenal play Leeds United is a repeat of the famous 1972 final, but with both teams expected to play their squad players, I cannot see Leeds knocking off another big name for the second consecutive year.

While Arsenal will not be one of them, I do expect to see several Premier League teams get knocked out of the FA Cup this weekend.

Blackpool have had a great start to their first ever Premier League season, but with a small squad and Premier League survival much more important that an FA Cup fun, Southampton have to be feeling that they have a great chance to knock-off Blackpool at St Mary’s.

Some other Premier League teams who could well lose this weekend are Birmingham will have to travel to Millwall, West Brom, who are in the middle of a terrible run of form at the moment, travel to Reading while Everton have to go to Scunthorpe. Doncaster, too, will see Wolves as ripe for plucking and Stevenage may feel they can go one better than their 1998 team and send Newcastle packing.

Then there are the Premier League sides whose managers face must-win games. Carlo Ancelotti has been given the backing of Roman Abramovich, but lose at home to managerless Ipswich and that backing might be removed.

Avram Grant knows he has to beat Barnsley in order to keep his job at West Ham until next week, while Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier is reportedly safe in his job but lose at Sheffield United and that could change

FA Cup Third Round Predictions
Arsenal v Leeds: HOME
Blackburn v QPR: HOME
Bolton v York: HOME
Brighton v Portsmouth: DRAW
Bristol City v Sheffield Wednesday: HOME
Burnley v Port Vale: HOME
Burton Albion v Middlesbrough: AWAY
Chelsea v Ipswich: HOME
Coventry v Crystal Palace: HOME
Crawley Town v Derby: HOME
Doncaster v Wolverhampton: HOME
Fulham v Peterborough: HOME
Huddersfield v Dover: HOME
Hull v Wigan: HOME
Leicester v Manchester City: AWAY
Manchester United v Liverpool: HOME
Millwall v Birmingham: HOME
Norwich v Leyton Orient: HOME
Preston v Nottingham Forest: DRAW
Reading v West Bromwich: HOME
Scunthorpe v Everton: AWAY
Sheffield United v Aston Villa: HOME
Southampton v Blackpool: HOME
Stoke v Cardiff: HOME
Sunderland v Notts County: HOME
Swansea v Colchester: HOME
Torquay v Carlisle: AWAY
Tottenham v Charlton: HOME
Watford v Hartlepool: HOME
West Ham v Barnsley: HOME
Stevenage v Newcastle: AWAY

photo credit: joncandy