Happy New Year!
Straight back into action with the Third Round of the FA Cup, which includes a number of tasty looking games – all of which are 3pm kick offs tomorrow unless stated.
Premier League Opposition:
Blackpool v Arsenal (BT Sport 2, 5:30pm Saturday)
Fifth meeting in the FA Cup – Arsenal have only won one of the previous four encounters, but it’s fair to say that Arsenal weren’t a global superpower when they last met in the competition. In 1969/70 both teams were in the First Division and Arsenal lost by the odd goal in five. This is the first time they’ve met any competition for almost eight years – since Blackpool were in the Premier League.
Burnley v Barnsley (12:30pm, no TV coverage)
This is third encounter in the FA Cup although the last game at Turf Moor was February 1911. Tykes haven’t won at Turf Moor in over a decade. As you might expect, Barnsley’s record in FA Cup ties at Premier League teams isn’t that great, but a goalless draw at Luton on New Year’s Day indicates they won’t be pushovers, even though the Tykes haven’t won at Burnley for over a decade.
Also: Gillingham v Cardiff – Cardiff have other priorities than the FA Cup right now.
I’ve covered the games featuring Accrington Stanley and Oxford on Buzzin’ Championship Football, but Luton v Sheffield Wednesday (12:30pm) and Middlesbrough v Peterborough shouldn’t be ignored. The Hatters have never played Wednesday in the cup amd the last time The Owls won at Kenilworth Road was almost 30 years ago. It’s almost 44 years since Peterborough last played Middlesbrough in an FA Cup tie; following a goalless draw at London Road, Posh lost the replay at Ayresome Park. The sides have met four times at Peterborough in the league since the turn of the century but the hosts haven’t won any of those contests.
Honourable mention: Norwich v Portsmouth.
All League One
Fleetwood v AFC Wimbledon
The sole guaranteed place in the Fourth Round and only the tenth meeting between these two, all of which have been since October 2012. Last August Fleetwood lost at home to Wimbledon for the first time in the series but since then the clubs have moved in opposite directions. Whoever wins will equal their best performance in the FA Cup – if you count AFC Wimbledon as a ‘new’ club, neither team has ever got past the third round of the competition.
Additionally, there’s one League game at the top of the table: Charlton v Sunderland would be a game of the week if it hadn’t been this weekend, but as I’ll be returning to EFL action next weekend I’ll take a look at how that game impacts the top of the table at that point.