The Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup needs no introduction – but here at Ladbrokes News, we love it so much that we’re going to give it one anyway…
It’s given English football many of the most iconic moments in its history, from Non-League Sutton United beating then top-flight heavyweights Coventry City, to Wrexham’s last-gasp defeat of Arsenal, and more recently, Leeds United’s shock triumph at Old Trafford.
And there are plenty more fascinating storylines set to play out this season. And talking of the Theatre of Dreams, let’s start there.
The legend returns
Despite spending just three years with the club, it’s no exaggeration to say that Jaap Stam has hero status with Manchester United fans – having starred in the club’s unforgettable treble-winning campaign of 1998-99.
But, 15 years on from his departure, the former centre-back will be back in familiar territory, as he takes his Reading side to Old Trafford, with the Royals – who reached the FA Cup semi-finals in 2015 – looking to provide an upset.
Whoever comes out on top, you can expect plenty of excitement on the field too. This fixture ended 4-3 to United when the sides met back in December 2012, while United also beat the Berkshire outfit 3-2 here during their Premier League heyday.
Once upon a time in the West (Midlands)
It’s fair to say that no side has done more to deserve their place in the Emirates FA Cup Third Round than Northern Premier League outfit Stourbridge.
They’ve had to knock out six sides already to reach this stage, and have done so in style, with their latest triumph a 1-0 victory over League One Northampton Town at the War Memorial Athletic Ground.
This weekend offers a stiff test in the form of a Wycombe Wanderers side in red-hot form, winning nine of their last 10 outings. Still, Gareth Ainsworth’s men would underestimate Stourbridge at their peril. With a League One scalp already under their belt, the West Midlands club could well take their hosts by surprise here.
A new local derby
Less than five miles separate Sutton United’s Gander Green Lane ground from the Cherry Red Records Stadium where AFC Wimbledon ply their trade. But despite the clubs being near neighbours, Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup clash will be the first time the pair have met.
Wimbledon were involved in an unforgettable tie against Curzon Ashton in the last round, turning round a 3-0 deficit with 10 minutes left to claim a sensational 4-3 victory. So it goes without saying that this game might be worth keeping an eye on.
Add to that the fact Sutton have ex-Dons pair Ross Worner and Matt Tubbs in their ranks, and you can expect plenty of excitement from this one.
Cod Army looking to make history
Fleetwood Town’s rise from Non-League minnows to League One stalwarts has been a truly incredible one, but it’s in the Emirates FA Cup where Uwe Rosler’s men are looking to make history.
The club have never been beyond the Third Round of this competition, but the club from the Fylde coast can go into uncharted waters this time around, with a victory at Bristol City guaranteeing the Cod Army a plaice (sorry!) in the Fourth Round.
Now unbeaten in nine games, Rosler’s charges will fancy their chances against the Robins, who are on a five-game losing streak, and have won just two of their last 14 games.
Click here for all the latest Emirates FA Cup Third Round odds.
All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publishing.