FA Cup fever is taking over the land this weekend, as the third round returns. Over the years, this stage has become legendary for its habit of producing victories for the game’s lesser names against Premier League top-dogs.
There could well be more famous ‘cupsets’ this time around, and we’ve taken a look at four lower-league sides who could stun their illustrious opponents.
First up, Nathan Jones takes his table-topping Hatters to Tyneside…
Newcastle United v Luton Town
The Magpies have come a cropper against the underdogs time and again in the FA Cup. Last season saw them exit to League One Oxford United after a humiliating 3-0 rout, the fourth lower-division side to knock them out since 2011.
Rafa Benitez is likely to have his work cut out again when they host Luton on Saturday. The Hatters sit top of League Two, and have scored 34 goals in their last 11 games in all competitions.
As a Non-League side, Luton knocked out then-Prem club Norwich City in 2013. And there’s reason to believe they could take another top-flight scalp on Tyneside. Especially with Newcastle losing five of their last six at St James’ Park.
Top Tip: Luton to Win @ 11/2
Shrewsbury Town v West Ham United
The Shrews booked their place in FA Cup folklore back in 2003, with Nigel Jemson’s double toppling Premier League heavyweights Everton.
The Toffees boss that day was one David Moyes. And the Scot returns to Shropshire with his Hammers side this weekend.
West Ham have been in decent form of late, but the Shrews have managed six wins and two draws in their past eight games. In the process, they’ve conceded just three goals.
Top Tip: Under 2.5 Goals @ 4/5
Exeter City v West Bromwich Albion
The Baggies haven’t won an away game since August. And that streak could be set to continue against a Grecians side who have given their fans plenty of home cheer.
Paul Tisdale’s men have won four on the spin, so head into this clash at St James’ Park in good form. They’ve also got cup heroics in their recent history – having forced replays against the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United.
We think this could well be another difficult away day for the goal-shy Baggies. And the Grecians look well-priced for glory.
Top Tip: Exeter to Win and Under 3.5 Goals @ 5/1
Coventry City v Stoke City
The Sky Blues lifted this trophy back in 1987. And the current crop will be looking to channel the spirit of those Cov legends as they face Premier League Stoke.
Mark Hughes’ visitors won’t be relishing a trip to the Ricoh Arena. They’ve lost nine of their 12 games on the road this season. Up front, the likes of Jese and Saido Berahino have looked closer to Northern Premier League than Prem-quality.
Stoke have been knocked out by lower-tier opposition in three of the last four seasons. Coventry have reason to be confident.
Top Tip: Coventry to Win @ 19/5
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing