FA Cup Third Round Preview and Tips

This coming weekend is one of the biggest of the season as 64 teams remaining in the FA Cup will take to the field from Friday night through to Monday evening in order to try and earn a place in the fourth round of the competition.

Once upon a time, this was arguably the biggest weekend of the year for football teams and while the money on offer in the Premier League and Champions League has diminished the value of the FA Cup in financial terms, it is still a chance of a trophy and a day at Wembley even for the super-rich Premier League top sides.

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However, with many sides electing to field weakened teams, especially in the early rounds of the competition, it is also a tournament that still has the potential to cause a famous giant-killing upset and of course these games still hold huge interest for football fans and the betting enthusiast.

In this article, we are going to preview the best of the 32 games taking place briefly and give you our view on what the Match Result in the game will be. Remember, you can still enjoy a bet on these games at bet365 Sport, where new customers can sign up using the current bet365 Sport New Player Offer, which could see you earn up to £100 in bet credits.

FA Cup 3rd Round Highlights

Friday 4th January

  • Tranmere Rovers v Tottenham Hotspur – Away Win – 2/11

Friday night’s at Prenton Park do have a mystique about them as the Birkenhead-based side have captured the scalp of some notable Premier League opponents over the years. Spurs however will provide a stern test for the League Two side and even with likely a second string side out, I fancy the visitors to come away with the victory.

Saturday 5th January

  • Bournemouth v Brighton – Draw – 13/5

One of just two all Premier League clashes in the third round pits the two south-coast giants against each other. Brighton have the better form but Bournemouth have done pretty well at home against teams mid table and below in the Premier League. This will be close and in truth, I feel it may require a replay in order to decide the winner.

  • Manchester United v Reading – Home Win – 1/7

The Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revolution continues apace against Reading with United in good form since the Norwegian took over at the helm following Jose Mourinho’s sacking. Reading have struggled in the Championship this season and as such, with this being United’s best chance of silverware this season, I am backing Solskjaer to pick a strong team to secure a good win for the home side.

  • West Ham United v Birmingham City – Draw – 10/3

I think Manuel Pellegrini may well be tempted to rest some key players against Birmingham City given that the Hammers have, like all Premier League teams, had a busy period over Christmas and New Year. That could be a risk against a Birmingham City side that are not beaten that often and who are something of a specialist when it comes to drawing games.

  • Chelsea v Nottingham Forest – Home Win – 1/5

Nottingham Forest boss Aitor Karanka is under pressure to deliver after heavy investment in his squad over the summer from new owners, but an away draw against Chelsea will show Forest how far they have to go. Chelsea will rest some big name stars for this one but even so, they will be more than strong enough to secure a win on home soil.

  • Derby County v Southampton – Home Win – 9/5

Derby County knocked Manchester United out of the Carabao Cup earlier this season at Old Trafford and I think Frank Lampard’s team will fancy their chances of a similar outcome at home against a Southampton side that are still struggling for consistency under their new boss Ralph Hassenhutl. The Saints will find this tough and I think Derby’s young side can snatch a win here.

Sunday 6th January

  • Manchester City v Rotherham – Home Win – 1/14

It’s no surprise that I’ve backed Manchester City to win this one, given the quality of their opponents, but I do feel City will give most of their first team squad a rest in this game and play a much younger squad and fringe players. Even so, they should be strong enough to get the job done against a Rotherham side that have struggled a little this season.

  • Queens Park Rangers v Leeds United – Away Win – 6/4

Both of these teams will have their eyes more on the Championship title race than the FA Cup this season but despite this, I am backing Leeds to get the win. They have proven to be very tough to beat this season and show great fighting spirit and while QPR have done well so far this season, I think Leeds are a team that can get the job done here.

  • Woking v Watford – Away Win – 2/11

Non League Woking take on Premier League Watford in what is a real David v Goliath clash, but in truth, I can’t see any way that the non-league side can earn a victory here. Even with some key men rested, Watford have good strength in depth in their squad and that should be more than enough to guarantee them a win and a place in the fourth round.

  • Newport County v Leicester City – Away Win – 2/7

Leicester are rather similar to Watford in that they have a very good set of players in their squad and solid squad depth. As such, I think that will be enough to take them to victory against a Newport County side that have struggled for form of late and who have not won a league game in their last seven attempts.

Monday 7th January

  • Wolves v Liverpool – Draw – 13/5

I have no doubt that Liverpool will rest key men in this game and I also feel that Wolves could be tempted to rest a couple of players. That said, I still think Wolves will fancy their chances against an under-strength Reds team and I cannot see Liverpool repeating the 2-0 win they landed back in December in this one. Instead, I think the teams will go back to Anfield after another draw.

All Odds Correct as of 12pm on Wednesday 2nd January 2019. 

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