FA Cup third round match previews

Premier League and Championship teams join the competition; Games on Saturday include Arsenal vs Newcastle and Manchester United vs Watford; Follow Saturday’s FA Cup third round on Sky Sports’ digital platforms with our dedicated blogs

Friday 8 January 2021 22:28, UK

The FA Cup takes centre stage this weekend as Premier League and Championship teams join the third round, with fixtures including Arsenal vs Newcastle and Manchester United vs Watford.

The FA Cup will not have replays for the 2020-21 season to help ease fixture congestion caused by the COVID-19 crisis, meaning that all ties will be decided on the day.

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There have been a rising number of positive Covid-19 cases, but no club will automatically have to forfeit an FA Cup game if they are affected by the virus, with each case to be assessed by the FA on individual circumstances.

Holders Arsenal begin their campaign at home to Newcastle on Saturday, while Manchester United are also in action when they face Championship side Watford.

Both the fourth and fifth-round draws will take place on Monday January 11, with the respective games scheduled for the weekend of January 23 and Wednesday February 10 respectively.


Arsenal vs Newcastle, Saturday 5.30pm

Team news: Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey could return after a thigh injury.

Defender Gabriel remains absent after he previously tested positive for Covid-19 and is yet to return to training.

Newcastle are unlikely to risk Jamaal Lascelles despite the skipper being given the green light to return to action by club medics following his coronavirus diagnosis.

Allan Saint-Maximin is back on Tyneside after also recovering from the virus, but is yet to resume training and remains on the sidelines.

Steve Bruce has indicated he will make changes with Martin Dubravka set to replace Karl Darlow in goal, but Jamal Lewis (knee) and Ryan Fraser (groin) are definitely out.

Stat of the match: Having lost their first three FA Cup ties with Newcastle, Arsenal have progressed/won four of their last five against the Magpies in the competition, most recently a 3-0 win at the Emirates in the fourth round in 2007-08.

Follow Arsenal vs Newcastle on Sky Sports’ digital platforms with our dedicated match blog, kicking off at 4pm.

Manchester United vs Watford, Saturday 8pm

Team news: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will rotate his Manchester United squad against Watford on Saturday as United continue to battle through a frantic fixture schedule, with Odion Ighalo among those involved against his former club.

The 31-year-old lifelong United fan made an impressive initial impact after his surprise loan switch from Shanghai Shenhua last February. Ighalo’s loan deal was extended over the summer until January 30, 2021 but the Nigeria international has been restricted to just four appearances in all competitions this term.

Donny Van De Beek, Dean Henderson and Axel Tuanzebe are among those pushing to be involved against Watford, but Marcos Rojo and Sergio Romero will be not feature.

Watford boss Xisco Munoz, who will be taking charge of his third game having succeeded Vladimir Ivic last month and on-loan James Garner will be ineligible against his parent club.

However, former United defender Craig Cathcart and forward Joao Pedro are back in training with the Championship side after hamstring problems

Domingos Quina, Isaac Success and Stipe Perica are unavailable as they step up their own return from hamstring issues, while Christian Kabasele is set to miss a third match with a knee concern.

Stat of the match: Manchester United have won three of their four FA Cup ties against Watford, with this their first against the Hornets since a 4-1 semi-final win in 2007.

Follow Manchester United vs Watford on Sky Sports’ digital platforms with our dedicated match blog, kicking off at 6.30pm.

Everton vs Rotherham, Saturday 12pm

Team news: Everton left-back Lucas Digne is set for his first appearance since late November in the FA Cup tie against Rotherham. The France international has made a quicker-than-expected return to fitness from an ankle injury.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti will rest England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, leading scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison.

Playmaker James Rodriguez will feature to improve his match fitness, while striker Cenk Tosun is likely to make his first start since November 2019.

Rotherham‘s latest round of Covid-19 tests came back negative, having had an outbreak before Christmas.

Therefore manager Paul Warne has plenty of options at his disposal.

Only long-term injury victims Clark Robertson (foot), Shaun MacDonald (broken leg), Joe Mattock and Kieran Sadlier (both ankle) and Chiedozie Ogbene are missing.

On-loan players Jamal Blackman, Florian Jozefzoon and George Hirst have been given permission to play.

Stat of the match: Rotherham have lost each of their last five away FA Cup ties against top-flight opponents, scoring one goal while conceding 19 – most recently a 7-0 defeat against Manchester City at this stage last season.

Follow Everton vs Rotherham on Sky Sports’ digital platforms with our overall FA Cup blog, kicking off at 11am.

Chorley vs Derby County, Saturday 12.15pm

Team news: Chorley have a healthy squad, with the only question mark for manager Jamie Vermiglio over forward Sean Miller.

Andy Halls and Harry Cardwell have both returned from the injuries which sidelined them before the turn of the year, with both among the substitutes last week at AFC Fylde, where the latter made a late appearance.

Derby’s first-team coaching staff, backroom team and players are self-isolating due to a coronavirus outbreak at the club so the Rams will field a side predominantly of U23s and U18s, led by development phase coaches Pat Lyons and Gary Bowyer. Former Liverpool striker Bobby Duncan is in the squad and in line to make his debut following his move from Fiorentina in September.

Stat of the match: This will be the very first meeting between Chorley and Derby. Derby are the highest ranked in the English football pyramid that Chorley have faced since losing 6-0 against Notts County in the FA Cup first round in 1899-1900.

Follow Chorley vs Derby on Sky Sports’ digital platforms with our dedicated match blog, kicking off at 11am.

Blackpool vs West Brom, Saturday 3pm

Team news: Both Blackpool and West Brom have seen their preparations for game disrupted by Covid-19. The League One club confirmed two individuals had tested positive on Thursday, while the Premier League side closed their training base on Monday and Tuesday after two players tested positive but further tests conducted on Wednesday all came back negative.

Chris Maxwell and Matty Virtue are both available for Blackpool’s third-round FA Cup tie against West Brom. Goalkeeper Maxwell and midfielder Virtue missed the Seasiders’ last two games after testing positive for coronavirus.

With West Brom deep in a relegation battle, Sam Allardyce is planning to make wholesale changes for the third-round tie, offering a chance to players yet to get a look-in during the hectic three weeks since he was named as Slaven Bilic’s successor on December 16.

Kyle Bartley and midfielder Rekeem Harper are in contention to start.

Stat of the match: Blackpool have been knocked out of four of their five FA Cup ties against West Brom (winning in February 1959), with this the first meeting between the sides in the competition since January 1978 (4-1 West Brom).

Follow Blackpool vs West Brom on Sky Sports’ digital platforms with our overall FA Cup blog, kicking off at 11am.

Bristol Rovers vs Sheffield United, Saturday 3pm

Team news: Bristol Rovers boss Paul Tisdale has a clean bill of health, any late coronavirus issues aside following testing ahead of the game. Josh Grant is back in contention, while goalkeeper Joe Day has arrived on loan.

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has struggled to field a full bench in recent week and says he has “16 fit players” to pick from. Oli McBurnie will miss out but John Lundstram is back from suspension. Teenage forward Antwoine Hackford made his debut in the defeat to Crystal Palace and will hope to get more minutes.

Stat of the match: Bristol Rovers have progressed from two of their last three FA Cup ties against top-flight opponents, more than they had in their previous 16 (1).

Follow Bristol Rovers vs Sheffield United on Sky Sports’ digital platforms with our overall FA Cup blog, kicking off at 11am.

Burnley vs MK Dons, Saturday 3pm

Team news: Burnley have had “a couple” of coronavirus cases ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup third-round clash with MK Dons at Turf Moor.

That was the state of play reported on Thursday by Clarets boss Sean Dyche, who added: “We get re-tested again on Friday so we are going to have to see what the next round brings.”

Midfielder Jack Cork, out since fracturing his ankle in June, could make his first appearance of the season, and there may also be returns to action for Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Matej Vydra.

It is thought unlikely Jay Rodriguez, Dwight McNeil and Charlie Taylor, all of whom have been recovering from injuries, will be involved.

Of the host of MK Dons players that missed the 4-1 win at Swindon on December 29, three that were not injured are set to be available for Saturday’s tie.

They are Matthew Sorinola and Stephen Walker – both absent through non-Covid-19 illness – and George Williams, who was self-isolating.

The players that were sidelined by injury include Kieran Agard, Jay Bird, David Kasumu, Jordan Houghton, Warren O’Hora and Louis Thompson – boss Russell Martin does not expect any to feature against Burnley, but is hopeful “a few” will be back for the match at Peterborough a week later.

Baily Cargill has left the club and joined Forest Green.

Stat of the match: Burnley have won all four of their meetings with MK Dons in all competitions, scoring 11 goals and conceding three. This is the first game between the sides since a 5-0 away win for the Clarets in the Championship in January 2016.

Follow Burnley vs MK Dons on Sky Sports’ digital platforms with our overall FA Cup blog, kicking off at 11am.

QPR vs Fulham, Saturday 3pm

Team news: QPR are set to be without Osman Kakay and Lee Wallace for the visit of west London neighbours Fulham in the FA Cup.

Defender Kakay has not featured since mid-December due to a leg injury. Full-back Wallace is still struggling to shake off an ongoing calf problem. Reserve goalkeeper Liam Kelly has joined Motherwell on loan.

Fulham‘s plans have been hindered by the recent positive Covid-19 tests in the squad, but boss Scott Parker planned to give some fringe players a run-out anyway.

Midfielder Stefan Johansen and back-up goalkeeper Marek Rodak are among those likely to feature. Full-back Kenny Tete is fit after a calf injury and could be involved.

Fellow defender Terence Kongolo is back in training after a broken foot but Saturday’s match will come too soon.

Stat of the match: QPR have progressed from the FA Cup third round in each of their last two seasons, last managing that feat in three consecutive seasons between 1994/95 and 1996/97.

Follow QPR vs Fulham on Sky Sports’ digital platforms with our overall FA Cup blog, kicking off at 11am.

Stoke vs Leicester, Saturday 3pm

Team news: Stoke striker Steven Fletcher is expected to miss Saturday’s FA Cup third round visit of Leicester. The striker suffered a groin injury after falling awkwardly against Bournemouth at the weekend.

Boss Michael O’Neill is already without strikers Tyrese Campbell (knee) and Lee Gregory (groin). Goalkeepers Angus Gunn (ankle) and Adam Davies (groin) are out while left-back Morgan Fox has been battling a hamstring problem.

Leicester duo Jamie Vardy and James Maddison are likely to sit out. Striker Vardy has a long-standing hip problem while midfielder Maddison suffered a knee injury in the win at Newcastle.

Ricardo Pereira (groin) has returned to training but will not feature but fellow defender Caglar Soyuncu (groin) is available for the Foxes. Roma loanee Cengiz Under is a doubt after the winger picked up an ankle knock.

Stat of the match: The last three meetings between Stoke and Leicester at the bet365 Stadium have all ended 2-2, all in Premier League meetings between September 2015 and November 2017.

Follow Stoke vs Leicester on Sky Sports’ digital platforms with our overall FA Cup blog, kicking off at 11am.

    Saturday’s other FA Cup ties

    • Boreham Wood vs Millwall, 12pm
    • Luton Town vs Reading, 12pm
    • Norwich vs Coventry, 12pm
    • Nottingham Forest vs Cardiff, 12pm
    • Blackburn vs Doncaster, 3pm
    • Exeter vs Sheffield Wednesday, 3pm
    • Oldham Athletic vs Bournemouth, 3pm
    • Stevenage vs Swansea, 3pm
    • Wycombe vs Preston, 3pm
    • Brentford vs Middlesbrough, 6pm
    • Huddersfield vs Plymouth, 6pm

    Postponed FA Cup ties

    • Southampton vs Shrewsbury (coronavirus)

    Chelsea vs Morecambe, Sunday 1.30pm

    Team news: N’Golo Kante will miss Chelsea‘s FA Cup third-round clash with Morecambe due to a hamstring injury.

    The World Cup-winning midfielder is not expected to be out for long, but will not be ready take on the Shrimps on Sunday. Andreas Christensen has a minor knee issue, while Reece James is not quite past a thigh concern.

    Youngsters Tino Anjorin, Lewis Bate, Henry Lawrence, Tino Livramento and Jude Soonsup-Bell have trained with Chelsea’s first team this week and could feature.

    Brad Lyons could come straight into contention for Morecambe. The 23-year-old Blackburn midfielder has joined the Shrimps on loan until the end of the season.

    Morecambe are back in training after a Covid-19 shutdown while their players self-isolated for 10 days, and have a clean bill of health. Manager Derek Adams was awarded the League Two manager of the month for December on Friday.

    Stat of the match: Chelsea and Morecambe will face off for the very first time. Chelsea’s last defeat against a side they were facing for the first time was against Steaua Bucharest in March 2013.

    Follow Chelsea vs Morecambe on Sky Sports’ digital platforms with our overall FA Cup blog, kicking off at 12.30pm.

    Crawley Town vs Leeds, Sunday 1.30pm

    Team news: Crawley are sweating on the fitness of in-form top scorer Max Watters ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup third-round clash with Leeds.

    Striker Watters, who has been linked with a host of bigger clubs following 15 goals in 17 appearances, has missed Town’s last two games due to a hamstring problem and will be assessed.

    Manager John Yems has no other selection concerns as he prepares for arguably the biggest game in the West Sussex club’s history.

    Tom Nichols, who scored a hat-trick in the 6-5 first-round win at Torquay, and Ashley Nadesan could continue to lead the line, should Watters be absent.

    Leeds skipper Liam Cooper is back in contention after recovering from an abdominal injury. Cooper has missed the last three matches and it remains to be seen whether he goes straight back into the starting line-up.

    Fellow centre-half Diego Llorente is fit-again following a setback in his recovery from a muscle strain, but will not be risked.

    Tyler Roberts is unavailable, while defenders Robin Koch and Gaetano Berardi (both knee), plus midfielder Adam Forshaw (hip) remain long-term absentees.

    Stat of the match: Crawley have reached the third round for the first time since 2012-13 when they were eliminated by Premier League side Reading.

    Follow Crawley Town vs Leeds on Sky Sports’ digital platforms with our dedicated match blog, kicking off at 12.15pm.

    Manchester City vs Birmingham, Sunday 1.30pm

    Team news: Sergio Aguero is set to start for the first time since October when Manchester City host Birmingham in the FA Cup third round on Sunday as he steps up his return from knee trouble.

    Fellow striker Gabriel Jesus and right-back Kyle Walker could feature after returning to training this week, and being unused substitutes against Manchester United on Wednesday, following positive Covid-19 tests.

    Goalkeeper Ederson, winger Ferran Torres and midfielder Tommy Doyle are the next players due to return but they must first test negative and playing in the game may be unrealistic. Third-choice goalkeeper Scott Carson, defender Eric Garcia and midfielder Cole Palmer are still isolating while centre-backs Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake are doubts with muscle problems.

    Defenders Marc Roberts (ankle) and Kristian Pedersen (knee) could feature for Birmingham at the Etihad Stadium having returned to training.

    The game will come too soon for midfielders Gary Gardner and Alen Halilovic. Forward Caolan Boyd-Munce and goalkeeper Zach Jeacock also both remain on the sidelines.

    Stat of the match: This is the first FA Cup meeting between Man City and Birmingham since a third round tie in January 2001, Man City winning 3-2 at Maine Road.

    Follow Man City vs Birmingham on Sky Sports’ digital platforms with our overall FA Cup blog, kicking off at 12.30pm.

    Marine vs Tottenham, Sunday 5pm

    Team news: Marine are waiting nervously on the results of their second round of coronavirus testing to decide whether their FA Cup third-round tie with Tottenham can go ahead.

    The Northern Premier League North West Division side came through a first round unscathed and will receive results of their second batch of tests by Saturday morning.

    Boss Neil Young has promised the players that have been involved in their historic run to what is the biggest mismatch in FA Cup history the chance to play against Spurs.

    But they are short of match practise, having not played since December 26 due to the suspension of their league.

    Tottenham could have Gareth Bale back as Jose Mourinho promises to go strong. There are 161 places between the two sides in the football ladder, but Bale could be involved after a recent calf injury.

    Giovani Lo Celso (hamstring) continues to miss out while Erik Lamela could be involved after a period of self-isolation. Mourinho has said out of 20 players, only one from the under-18s will be making the trip to Crosby.

    Stat of the match: This will be Tottenham’s first FA Cup match against non-league opposition since January 1995, beating Altrincham 3-0 in a third round tie.

    Follow Marine vs Tottenham on Sky Sports’ digital platforms with our dedicated match blog, kicking off at 3.30pm.

    Newport County vs Brighton, Sunday 7.45pm

    Team news: Newport expect to have captain Joss Labadie and veteran forward Ryan Taylor available again for their FA Cup third-round tie against Premier League Brighton.

    Midfielder Labadie has missed the past three matches, while Taylor has not played since early October because of a hamstring issue.

    Swindon forward Scott Twine and Swansea defender Brandon Cooper have both been recalled from loan spells by their parent clubs.

    Striker Owen Windsor has joined the Exiles on loan from West Brom until the end of the season, but is not eligible on Sunday having already played in this season’s competition during a previous spell at Grimbsy.

    South Africa striker Percy Tau could made his long-awaited Brighton debut. The 26-year-old, signed during 2018, has been recalled from an extended loan spell in Belgium after Brighton received Government approval to secure a work permit following the end of the Brexit transition period with the European Union.

    Midfielder Adam Lallana is doubtful through illness and striker Danny Welbeck (knee) will again miss out.

    Forward Aaron Connolly is also sidelined by a hamstring injury picked up in last week’s 3-3 draw with Wolves, along with full-back Tariq Lamptey (hamstring).

    Brighton will be without Tariq Lamptey, who has suffered a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury. Striker Percy Tau has been recalled from his loan at Anderlecht and is available to play.

    Stat of the match: This will be the fourth FA Cup meeting between Newport County and Brighton, with Newport winning the first 3-1 in November 1948, before losing 1-8 in November 1955 and 1-2 in November 1966.

    Follow Newport vs Brighton on Sky Sports’ digital platforms with our dedicated match blog, kicking off at 12.15pm.

    Sunday’s other FA Cup ties

    • Barnsley vs Tranmere, 1.30pm
    • Bristol City vs Portsmouth, 1.30pm
    • Cheltenham vs Mansfield, 1.30pm

    Stockport vs West Ham, Monday 8pm

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