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THE FA CUP WEEKEND AHEAD

4 January 2013

FA CUP WITH BUDWEISER PREVIEW


The Third round of the FA Cup runs over the course of this weekend, with Cardiff City making the three hour plus journey up the M5 to Blue Square Bet Conference Premier league outfitMacclesfield– the Silkmen in tenth place at the halfway mark.


Elsewhere in the third roundBrightonhost Premier League outfitNewcastlein a big game for the Seagulls, the two sides having met in the fourth round last year. Brighton have beaten three of the last five teams in the FA Cup that stand higher in the tier system than themselves, including last year's fixture against the Toon. The game finished 1-0 thanks to a Mike Williamson own goal, and Alan Pardew will want maximum concentration for this historic banana skin game following a stuttering league start. Brighton's last three results give an even indication of form, the Albion beating Ipswich in a convincing 3-0 display, whilst losing 3-1 to Watford at home and drawing against both Millwall and Nottingham Forest. Gus Poyet's men will want to continue their good cup form and recent reputation as something of a giant killer, whilst in the league they sit ninth, three points off a play off place.


Newly promoted League One outfitCrawleywelcomeReadingin another Premier League test. Earlier this season they were knocked out of the Capital One Cup at the third round by the Swans, who needed a 90thminute Danny Graham strike to avoid embarrassment after Crawley originally claimed a 2-1 lead. The Reds have enjoyed something of a resurgence in recent times, reaching the fifth round of the FA Cup last year, earning back to back promotions and now sitting comfortably just one point from a play off place in League One. Good defensive acquisitions, including young Cardiff-born Joe Walsh and ex-Bolton Mark Connolly have helped them improve a squad that already has a winning mentality. Reading, currently captained by former Bluebird Jobi McAnuff will not be taking the game lightly, and although their Premier League form continues to cause concern, they will be considered clear favourites, even if McDermott rests some of his main eleven including the winger.


Arguably the glamour tie of the round,WestHamhostManchesterUnitedat Upton Park, giving the Hammers an early opportunity to avenge the 1-0 Old Trafford league defeat in November.  Manchester United are currently free scoring and boast one of the world's most lethal striker bar La Liga's two superstars. But if Van Persie is rested, Danny Welbeck is there to try and make an impression after the England forward's opportunities have been somewhat limited this season. West Ham lead the cup head-to-head stats by four games to three, however Alex Ferguson’s team can look to their last FA Cup meeting in which the Red Devils completed a six goal rout. The newly promoted Hammers have shown their Premier League pedigree, currently sitting eleventh - and Sam Allardyce can look at United's leaky defence as a possible weakness. The visitors still sit, like Cardiff, seven points clear at the top of the league.


Newly promotedSouthamptonentertainChelseain another all Premier League contest, with interim boss Benitez sure to employ his famed squad rotation policy. Just how much he does change will give an indication of how far the Spaniard wants to go in this competition, with Chelsea currently fighting on four fronts, including a League Cup Semi Final tie against Swansea next week. Southampton, after a shaky start, have started to find their feet in the top flight, though they sit on level points one place above the relegation zone, albeit with a game in hand. The Saints have never lost to the Blues in the FA Cup and will be heartened by Chelsea's sloppy defeat to bottom of the league QPR on Wednesday, whilst ex-Cardiff goalkeeper Ross Turnbull will be deputising for the injured Petr Cech. Southampton have one FA Cup to their name, a victory over Manchester United in 1976, whilst the Blues have lifted the Cup seven times in total – five times coming in the last twelve years.


Sunderland in a tricky tie at Loftus Road.BromWest will look to continue their Chelsea beating form as they take on QPR and Harry Redknapp's Coventry will play League One Tottenham in an all-Championship clash. Birmingham host Leeds, while Watford welcome CityManchester at Selhurst Park. The Eagles' league form has started to dip slightly before their 3-1 home win over Wolves to reignite their promotion push. Elsewhere Stoke take on Tony Pulis' PalaceCrystal, neither team really striking form this season in an interesting fixture, whilst early Championship pace setters Boltonhost Premier League relegated

 

THE FA CUP WITH BUDWEISER

Third round in full


Saturday 5th January 2013

Brighton V Newcastle (12:30)

Aldershot V Rotherham

Aston Villa V Ipswich

Barnsley V Burnley

Blackburn V Bristol City

Bolton V Sunderland

Charlton V Huddersfield

Crawley V Reading

Crystal Palace V Stoke

Derby V Tranmere

Fulham V Blackpool

Hull V Leyton Orient

Leeds United V Birmingham

Leicester V Burton Albion

Luton V Wolves

Macclesfield V Cardiff

Man City V Watford

Middlesbrough V Hastings Utd

Millwall V Preston

Nottm Forest V Oldham

Oxford Utd V Sheff Utd

Peterborough V Norwich

QPR V West Brom

Sheff Wed V MK Dons

Southampton V Chelsea

Southend V Brentford

Tottenham V Coventry

Wigan V Bournemouth

West Ham V Man Utd (17:15)

 

Sunday 6th January 2013

Swansea V Arsenal (13:30)

Mansfield V Liverpool (16:00)

 

Monday 7th January 2013

Cheltenham V Everton (19:45)


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