Skip to content
FA Cup
  1. Football
  2. FA Cup

Saturday's FA Cup preview: Big boys braced for third-round challenges

FA Cup holders Liverpool begin the defence of their title when they welcome Wolves to Anfield to complete an exciting day of third round action.

All three remaining National League sides are also in action on Saturday, while Premier League big-hitters Newcastle are one of five top-flight sides putting their reputations on the line at lower-league opponents.

Bassey's whirlwind week ends in Conte showdown

WhatTottenham v Portsmouth, FA Cup  
WhereTottenham Hotspur Stadium, London
When12:30, Saturday 7th January, 2023
How to watchBBC red button & bet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsTottenham 1/7, Draw 15/2, Portsmouth 16/1

"Preservation isn't a good option – it rarely ends well," says Portsmouth caretaker boss Simon Bassey, a man who a week ago was anticipating standing in the shadows at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but instead will find himself in the technical area alongside Antonio Conte.

Bassey was commenting after watching Spurs thrash Crystal Palace 4-0 in the Premier League, a second-half performance that prompted the interim Pompey chief to do an 11 v 14 training session in preparation, because he's convinced Tottenham are so good it will look like they've got three more players on the pitch.

Bassey has other problems as well. The 16/1 League One outfit have got loads of injuries and are also without suspended midfield star Marlon Pack and striker Dane Scarlett, who's on loan from Spurs. They have also only won once in nine, which is why Bassey is in charge in the first place, Danny Cowley having been sacked on Wednesday.

On the flip side, Conte sent out a second-string team against Morecambe at this stage of last year's competition and they were a goal down until the 74th minute by which time Harry Kane had been brought on. Spurs eventually won 3-1.

Kane is 4/9 as an Anytime Goalscorer, although clearly, Conte wouldn't ideally want to play the England skipper – and many of his other stars – if he can avoid it.

Gills' goal gloom should give Leicester a lift

WhatGillingham v Leicester, FA Cup  
WherePriestfield Stadium, Gillingham
When12:30, Saturday 7th January, 2023
How to watchBBC1 & bet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsGillingham 12/1, Draw 6/1, Leicester 1/5

Gillingham boss Neil Harris has masterminded an FA Cup shock against Leicester before, when his Millwall side, then of League One, toppled the Foxes in 2017.

Since then, Leicester have gone on to lift the cup while Harris has gone on to Priestfield Stadium, where he manages the most goal-shy side in the land.

The 12/1 shot Gills have only scored seven times in 23 League Two matches, a staggeringly dire record which will surely persuade many punters to pile into the Leicester & both teams not to score at 8/11.

The warning sign for prospective Leicester backers is that their own team head for Kent on a three-match losing streak and Gillingham, almost implausibly, did manage to beat Brentford in the League Cup in November.

Four other top-flight teams face away days at lower-league opponents – and all look challenging.

Brighton, Nottingham Forest and Fulham all visit Championship opposition with Middlesbrough 9/2 shots to beat Brighton, Blackpool 7/2 to down Nottingham Forest and Hull 9/2 to see off Fulham.

And Newcastle's task at Sheffield Wednesday doesn't look any easier, especially with Eddie Howe likely to ring the changes. Darren Moore's League One high-fliers are 11/2 to stun the Toon.

Related FA Cup News

Manchester United v Everton Bet Boosts: 11/1 shot carries weight

Manchester United v Everton preview: United to pile more pain on Lampard

Hollywood club Wrexham ready to light up the screen again

WhatCoventry v Wrexham, FA Cup
WhereCBS Arena, Coventry
When17:30, Saturday 7th January, 2023
How to watchS4C & bet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsCoventry 5/6, Draw 13/5, Wrexham 7/2

Wrexham, one of three National League sides to have made the third round, will be backed by 4,000 travelling fans at the CBS Arena at Coventry. 

A sign of the progress they have made – they are on a 17-match unbeaten run – is the 7/2 odds chalked up by their name, competitive enough given the 60-place gulf between the teams in the pyramid. 

Being on TV certainly won't faze the North Wales mob – one of the benefits of being owned by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney is that life at the Racecourse Ground has turned into a media circus. 

Mark Robins' Sky Blues have won one of their last six and this is about as thankless a task as they could have hoped for. 

Wrexham's fifth-tier rivals Chesterfield were never going to match last year's prize draw of a third-round trip to Chelsea, but they are still delighted to be welcoming in-form West Brom to Saltergate. The Spireites are 9/2 to stun Carlos Corberan's men.

And Boreham Wood would have been hoping for a bigger team than Accrington Stanley in round three, though the National League side are at home and should fancy their chances of landing 2/1 odds. 

Boreham Wood aren't in the best of form – two wins in nine – but neither are Stanley, who are only outside the League One relegation places on goal difference.

Can Gakpo become an instant Anfield smash?

WhatLiverpool v Wolverhampton, FA Cup
WhereAnfield, Liverpool
When20:00, Saturday 7th January, 2023
How to watchITV4 & bet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsLiverpool 3/10, Draw 9/2, Wolverhampton 17/2

Liverpool fans could get their first sighting of World Cup star Cody Gakpo, who is 5/1 as a First Goalscorer in the holders' showdown with Wolves.

Gakpo scored three goals for Netherlands in Qatar before clinching a £40m switch from PSV to Liverpool and with Jurgen Klopp sure to want to rest either Mo Salah or Darwin Nunez – or maybe both – the Dutch international may well get his chance.

The Champions League – and qualifying for next year's Champions League – will be Klopp's spring-time priorities and he will make plenty of changes with Virgil van Dijk also ruled out.

That may offer Wolves a better chance than 17/2 odds imply though boss Julen Lopetegui has been frustrated about the two days' less preparation time his side have enjoyed for his first taste of the FA Cup.

Related Articles

bet365 uses cookies

We use cookies to deliver a better and more personalised service. For more information, see our Cookie Policy