The crowds might be missing, but there could still be plenty of magic on offer as the fixture calendar serves up one of the highlights of any English football season this weekend: the FA Cup third round.
Due to the fixture pile-up caused by the ongoing Covid-19 situation, it’s a winner-takes-all affair for the 2020/21 season, with no money-spinning replays for the minnows to look forward to if teams are level moving into the closing stages.
Could that change the entire complexion of this year’s tournament as the big guns arrive at this stage of the competition?
Here’s our look at where the giant-killers could strike, while you can find our FA Cup Third Round betting predictions below…
FA Cup Third Round Betting Preview | Where Will the Shocks Lie?
As a Premier League and Champions League winner with Liverpool, Jürgen Klopp has nothing much left to prove on Merseyside.
However, one blot on his copybook has been an inability to land a domestic cup. In fact, he’s only ever really gone close on one occasion before, losing the 2016 EFL Cup Final on penalties to Man City in his first season at the helm. Worryingly for Klopp, the Reds’ recent FA Cup record also leaves plenty to be desired.
It doesn’t look optimal timing for Jürgen Klopp to mount an assault on one of the few trophies that has eluded him as Reds boss. A leggy Liverpool looked as if they were running on fumes in their 1-0 defeat to Southampton on Monday night, and Aston Villa might just smell blood if Dean Smith can resist the temptation to make wholesale changes as his side help kick FA Cup third round weekend off on Friday night. Memories of that 7-2 mauling at Villa Park earlier this season will also give Klopp plenty to think about.
Wayne Rooney has a dilemma on his hands with Derby County on Saturday. Given their perilous EFL Championship league position, the Rams can probably ill-afford an extended cup run. On the flipside, a humiliating exit at the hands of National League North side Chorley could see his side’s fragile confidence dealt a hammer blow.
Will Wazza risk fielding an inexperienced side against the fired-up Lancastrians?
Things could get rocky in Blackpool for Big Sam as his Premier League strugglers West Brom travel to the Seasiders. Allardyce left the League One outfit in acrimonious circumstances in the early nineties but may have to put any thoughts of revenge on hold given top flight survival remains the overwhelming priority for the Baggies.
Given the uncertainty around this year’s competition, this looks an opportune year for an outsider to wrestle the trophy away from one of the big hitters, something that hasn’t happened since Wigan’s triumph in 2013.
Leicester City may just fancy their chances of upsetting the applecart, but first up they’ll have to outfox Michael O’Neill’s improving Stoke City.
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Sunday looks the most likely day to serve up some decent shocks.
Marine will probably need a miracle to manoeuvre their way past Tottenham Hotspur, given this tie throws up the biggest gulf between sides at this stage of the tournament since records began.
Can the Northern Premier League Division One North West minnows write their names into FA Cup folklore by pulling off the greatest shock in the competition’s history?
A more realistic giant killing could be afoot at Rodney Parade.
Brighton are about to become the latest high-profile side to take to the infamously boggy pitch of League Two promotion candidates Newport County.
The Exiles have become renowned FA Cup specialists in recent seasons, with Leeds Utd, Spurs and Leicester City among the big names that have previously come unstuck in South Wales.
A makeshift Seagulls side will be keen to avoid becoming their latest scalp on Sunday.
FA Cup Third Round Correct Score Predictions
Friday 8th January
ASTON VILLA 2-1 LIVERPOOL
WOLVES 1-0 CRYSTAL PALACE
Saturday 9th January
EVERTON 3-1 ROTHERHAM
BOREHAM WOOD 0-2 MILLWALL
LUTON TOWN 1-0 READING
NOTTINGHAM FOREST 2-1 CARDIFF
NORWICH 1-1 COVENTRY
CHORLEY 0-2 DERBY
BLACKBURN 2-0 DONCASTER
BLACKPOOL 1-0 WEST BROM
WYCOMBE 1-0 PRESTON
QPR 2-1 FULHAM
STEVENAGE 1-3 SWANSEA CITY
BURNLEY 2-0 MK DONS
BRISTOL ROVERS 1-1 SHEFF UTD
OLDHAM 1-3 BOURNEMOUTH
STOKE CITY 1-2 LEICESTER CITY
EXETER 2-1 SHEF WEDNESDAY
ARSENAL 2-0 NEWCASTLE UTD
BRENTFORD 2-0 MIDDLESBROUGH
HUDDERSFIELD 2-1 PLYMOUTH
MAN UTD 3-0 WATFORD
SOUTHAMPTON 2-0 SHREWSBURY
Sunday 10th January
CRAWLEY TOWN 1-2 LEEDS UTD
BRISTOL CITY 1-1 PORTSMOUTH
CHELTENHAM 2-1 MANSFIELD
CHELSEA 4-0 MORECAMBE
MAN CITY 3-0 BIRMINGHAM
BARNSLEY 4-1 TRANMERE
MARINE 0-4 TOTTENHAM
NEWPORT 2-1 BRIGHTON
Monday 11th January
STOCKPORT 1-3 WEST HAM UTD
FA Cup Betting | Third Round Betting Tips
It’s set to be a breakneck few days of FA Cup third round action – one of the most unpredictable football betting weekends of the season.
Nevertheless, we’ve gazed into our crystal ball to pick out our top three FA Cup third round betting predictions…
Odds correct at time of writing but may be subject to change.