The draw for the FA Cup third round has thrown up a series of mouth-watering ties with Premier League champions Manchester City’s clash with Chelsea leading the way.
Current top-flight leaders Arsenal face a trip to League One Oxford and while the fixture list may be a little short on romance for the non-league survivors, fifth tier Chesterfield landed a home tie with Sky Bet Championship West Brom.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the round’s most interesting encounters.
Manchester City v Chelsea
City and Chelsea have fought each other tooth and nail at home and in Europe in recent years in a quest for the game’s top honours, but will head into their latest showdown with a gap having emerged between the clubs. The Blues who are due to host Pep Guardiola’s men in the league on January 5, currently trail second-placed City by 11 points and have a major task on their hands if they are to reach a fourth-successive final. However, they did prevail in their last FA Cup meeting, the 2021 semi-final.
Oxford v Arsenal
League One Oxford’s reward for their second-round victory over Exeter was a plum home tie against Premier League leaders Arsenal. They last faced the Gunners, who went into the World Cup break five points clear at the top of the table, in the competition in 2003, when Dennis Bergkamp’s strike and a Scott McNiven own goal secured a 2-0 win.
Manchester United v Everton
Old Trafford will stage a repeat of the 1985 final, which was famously won by United courtesy of Norman Whiteside’s extra-time goal after Kevin Moran had been sent off. Frank Lampard’s men are hovering just above the relegation zone and lost 2-1 at home to Erik Ten Hag’s side in the league last month. However, they have not been beaten at United in their last three visits.
Chesterfield v West Brom
National League promotion-hopefuls Chesterfield earned their place in the hat with a 2-0 win at League Two AFC Wimbledon, but will find the going significantly tougher when they go head-to-head with Championship West Brom. The Baggies are much-improved under new boss Carlos Corberan – they have won their last three games – but may not relish a trip to what is sure to be a packed Technique Stadium.
Sheffield Wednesday v Newcastle
League One Wednesday have history with the high-flying Magpies having knocked them out of the Capital One Cup in 2015 and beaten them home and away the last time they were in the same division, the 2016-17 Championship. However, Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has made no secret of his desire to end a 67-year wait for a domestic trophy and with the club lying third in the Premier League table, may prefer to reflect instead on their 8-0 win over the Owls under Sir Bobby Robson in September 1999.