As is customary, the FA Cup third-round draw saw some notable Premier League teams given the platform for potential embarrassment as the balls pitted David against Goliath in several ties.
Detailed below are some of the most intriguing, sure to tempt plenty of giant-killing inspired wagers.
Chelsea v Leyton Orient/Scunthorpe
Before last season’s FA Cup clanger and the Premier League champions’ ongoing title-defence meltdown, there would have been nothing to fear from a Chelsea perspective. The Blues have successfully negotiated 17 consecutive third-round ties, yet League One Bradford shredded the formbook last season when running out 4-2 winners at Stamford Bridge in the fourth round.
Manchester United v Sheffield United
With United facing a possible early exit from the Champions League the day following the FA Cup draw, it is not altogether inaccurate to say Louis van Gaal has struggled with knockout competitions since arriving at Old Trafford. MK Dons were also in League One when knocking the Red Devils out of the League Cup shortly after the Dutchman arrived, albeit at Stadium MK, while Championship Middlesbrough followed suit this term when defeating LVG’s men at Old Trafford on penalties in the quarters. Although languishing in League One, Sheffield United were beaten FA Cup semi-finalists in 2013 and given their pedigree, could cause a headache.
Exeter City v Liverpool
League Two Exeter’s reward for ending a 10-year drought of third-round action is a glamour home tie against Liverpool, with many sure to see the Devonian underdog’s FA Cup journey ending swiftly. However, the Grecians famously earned a St James’ Park replay after engineering a 0-0 at Old Trafford the last time they ventured this far, so Paul Tisdale’s side could make life difficult for the Premier League behemoths. Jurgen Klopp’s unfamiliarity with the FA Cup could also work in Exeter’s favour.
Oxford United v Swansea
At the time of writing speculation is in overdrive surrounding the future of Garry Monk’s tenure as Swansea manager. Whether the Englishman is still in charge or not come the New year when this tie will be played, the Swans’ current slide towards the top flight’s danger zone could leave them vulnerable to an early cup exit. League Two leaders Oxford have not won a third-round tie in 17 attempts, but circumstances may be riper than many times beforehand.
Wycombe v Aston Villa
Rock-bottom of the Premier League, Villa could hardly do with this thorny-looking fixture at League Two promotion-chasers Wycombe. Adams Park will be rocking and if their league form is still in the doldrums by the time the tie rolls around, Villans boss Remi Garde may well be tempted to risk a much-altered line up in Buckinghamshire.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.