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FA Cup: Five potential third round shocks

The third round of the FA Cup, the oldest cup competition in the world, returns for another year, with clubs across the country looking to create history and memories to last a lifetime.

The tournament has a penchant for causing upsets, particularly at this stage, from Wrexham knocking out Arsenal in 1992, to Newport County stunning then Premier League outfit Leicester City more recently in 2019.

This year’s draw has opened up more potential upsets and here are five that could happen this weekend.

Maidstone v Stevenage information

  • Where is Maidstone v Stevenage? The Gallagher Stadium, Maidstone
  • When is Maidstone v Stevenage? 12:30, Saturday 6th January
  • Where can I watch Maidstone v Stevenage? bet365 Live Streaming Service
  • What are the odds for Maidstone v Stevenage? Maidstone 5/1, Draw 10/3, Stevenage 8/15

Maidstone are one of the lowest-ranked teams remaining in the competition, sitting fourth in the National League South going into this cup tie.

The Stones have already taken an EFL scalp in this season’s edition of the FA Cup, eliminating League Two Barrow in the previous round.

Stevenage will be very familiar with cup upsets, having famously beaten Premier League side Newcastle United in 2011 when they were in the fourth tier.

Boro have lost each of their last two away games in the league, and scraped past fellow League One side Port Vale on penalties in the previous round.

Peterborough v Leeds information

  • Where is Peterborough v Leeds? London Road Stadium, Peterborough
  • When is Peterborough v Leeds? 14:00, Sunday 7th January
  • Where can I watch Peterborough v Leeds? bet365 Live Streaming Service
  • What are the odds for Peterborough v Leeds? Peterborough 4/1, Draw 7/2, Leeds 4/7

Peterborough are just four points off top spot in League One and are unbeaten in each of their last 10 games.

Posh are also the division’s top goalscorers, and this will put them in good stead against a Leeds side without a win on the road in three.

The Whites also possess cup shock pedigree, with a Jermaine Beckford strike enough to defeat Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2010.

However, they are also all too aware of being on the wrong side of an upset in recent years, with eliminations at the hands of lower league Rochdale, Sutton United, Newport County, Crawley Town, Hereford United and Histon this century.

Gillingham v Sheffield United information

  • Where is Gillingham v Sheffield United? Priestfield Stadium, Gillingham
  • When is Gillingham v Sheffield United? 15:00, Saturday 6th January
  • What are the odds for Gillingham v Sheffield United? Gillingham 11/2, Draw 10/3, Sheffield United 1/2

Gillingham were facing off against their FA Cup opponents in League One as recently as 2017, but there has been a stark contrast in fortunes for the sides since then.

Whilst the Gills find themselves in 10th in the fourth tier of English Football, the Blades have seen multiple promotions (and one relegation) to reach the Premier League.

However, Sheff Utd are propping up the rest of the top flight in 20th and have conceded 49 goals already this season, scoring just 15.

These statistics suggest that a difficult afternoon is in order for Chris Wilder’s men, with Gillingham possessing better figures in each metric as well as the fifth-best defence in League Two.

Watford vs Chesterfield information

  • Where is Watford v Chesterfield? Vicarage Road, Watford
  • When is Watford v Chesterfield? 15:00, Saturday 6th January
  • What are the odds for Watford v Chesterfield? Watford 9/20, Draw 15/4, Chesterfield 5/1

Watford reached the final of the FA Cup in 2019, but this memory may be somewhat tarnished by the 6-0 defeat they suffered at the hands of Manchester City in that year’s showpiece, which is the joint heaviest final loss in this competition alongside Derby County to Bury in 1903.

The Hornets have since failed to progress past this round of the competition in each of the last four years, including a shock defeat to lower league Tranmere Rovers in 2020.

Chesterfield have won eight of their last 10 games and sit top of the National League with a healthy seven-point lead over their nearest rivals.

The Spireites almost pulled off a shock of their own in the competition last season, claiming a 3-3 draw with Championship outfit West Brom, before losing in the replay.

Sunderland vs Newcastle information

  • Where is Sunderland v Newcastle? The Stadium of Light, Sunderland
  • When is Sunderland v Newcastle? 12:45, Saturday 6th January
  • Where can I watch Sunderland v Newcastle? bet365 Live Streaming Service & ITV1
  • What are the odds for Sunderland v Newcastle? Sunderland 16/5, Draw 16/5, Newcastle 8/11

In what is arguably the likeliest of all the potential shocks of the round, the Tyne and Wear derby makes its long-awaited return after an eight-year absence.

Sunderland’s relegation from the top flight in 2017 has denied this famous rivalry from occurring, whilst Newcastle’s new owners have helped push fears of their own relegation firmly away.

The Black Cats occupy the final play-off spot in the Championship and are unbeaten in their last three league games, whilst Newcastle have plummeted down the Premier League table to 10th, losing four of their last five.

The drop in form for the Magpies is arguably down to the current injury crisis at the club, with as many as eight first team players in the treatment room.

Sunderland also boast a recent dominance over their North East rivals, losing just one of their last six meetings.

Any odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.

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