The Football Association Cup third round draw was held Monday. For the first time this season, clubs from the top two divisions in England were included in the draw.
As the third round begins, 20 teams from England’s lower divisions are thrown into the pot along with the 44 teams from the Premier League and the Championship – which leaves us with a total of 64 teams.
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For American sports fans, we all know that 64 is the magic number for creating a great knockout tournament. Just like March Madness, the FA Cup always gives us a few upsets, but in the end, a top club almost always comes out on top.
The last time a team from outside of England’s top division won the title was in 1980 when West Ham United defeated Arsenal. But just two seasons ago, Wigan Athletic, who was relegated that season to the Championship, defeated Manchester City.
For those who can’t bring themselves to the Premier League or other European leagues because they lack a playoff system, the FA Cup is your answer.
The beauty of the Premier League is that it guarantees that the best team wins the championship. Every team plays every other team twice and there are no playoffs which could lead to upsets. The best team always takes home the title.
But if you love underdogs and love seeing big teams go down, then the FA Cup is for you.
The third round of the FA Cup features several matches between Premier League clubs and lower division opponents. These EPL clubs are playing in the EPL for a reason – they are better than the other teams. But inevitably, one of these less prestigious teams will pull off the upset and a big name club’s dreams of winning an FA Cup trophy will be suspended for another season.
The most noteworthy match of round three is a rematch of last season’s thrilling final between Arsenal and Hull City. The Tigers took a 2-0 lead eight minutes into the match but failed to hold on. Arsenal forced the match to extra time and scored in the 109th minute to take a 3-2 lead and bring the title back to north London.
Here is a list of the rest of the round three fixtures. Which of these matches looks most intriguing to you?
|Accrington Stanley or
|Aldershot or Rochdale
|Barnsley or Chester
|Brighton and Hove Albion
|Cambridge United or
|Bury or Luton Town
|West Ham United
|Oxford United or
|Preston North End
|Queens Park Rangers
|Scunthorpe United orWorcester City
|West Bromwich Albion