The FA Cup third round is famous for its thrills and spills – but what does the famous old competition have in store for us this season?BBC Sport’s football expert Mark Lawrenson has taken a look at all 32 of this weekend’s ties and given his verdict on who will make it into round four.For…
The FA Cup third round is famous for its thrills and spills – but what does the famous old competition have in store for us this season?
BBC Sport’s football expert Mark Lawrenson has taken a look at all 32 of this weekend’s ties and given his verdict on who will make it into round four.
For selected matches, including the BBC’s two televised games – Newport v Leicester (16:30 GMT KO on Sunday) and Wolves v Liverpool (19:45 on Monday) – Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac has made her predictions too.
Annie is a Tottenham fan, who is confident Mauricio Pochettino’s side will not be on the wrong end of a shock when they travel to play League Two side Tranmere on Friday evening.
But which teams will suffer an upset, who will spring a surprise?
Premier League v non-league
|Woking v Watford||110||x-x||0-2|
Gap = how many league positions separate each team
Woking, who are second in the National League South, are the lowest-ranked team left in this season’s FA Cup. They beat League Two side Swindon in the last round but this is a whole different test for them.
Teams that play at Woking’s level have to be physical but Watford are a very physical side as well, so I don’t see the Hornets losing that battle.
Javi Gracia’s side are eighth in the Premier League and should be looking at the FA Cup as a competition they can have a really good run in, but you just don’t know what his priorities will be, or how many changes he will make.
Premier League v League Two
|Tranmere v Tottenham||75||x-x||1-2|
|Everton v Lincoln||58||x-x||3-0|
|Crystal Palace v Grimsby||67||x-x||1-0|
|Fulham v Oldham||59||x-x||2-0|
|Newport v Leicester||73||x-x||0-1|
All the Premier League teams will be resting players this weekend – it is just a question of how many – but I would still expect most of them to make it through.
Tottenham are one of those that I think will progress. Friday night will be a great occasion at Tranmere, who are back in the Football League now after some tough times, and are doing well in League Two.
The money Rovers will get for having this tie live on BT will be very much appreciated too and Rovers have definitely earned it after needing replays to get past Oxford City and Southport in rounds one and two.
Tottenham had a bit of a scare in last year’s fourth round when they needed a replay to get past another League Two side, Newport County.
This tie will also be far from easy, because Tranmere have only lost once at home this season, and they have got some goals in them from James Norwood and Connor Jennings, but I still think Spurs will edge it.
Lincoln City are top of League Two and their fans are probably dreaming of another cup run after reaching the quarter-finals as a non-league side in 2017.
The Imps are up against an Everton side that are extremely inconsistent and play poorly on their off-days, but this tie is at Goodison Park and home advantage should see the Toffees through.
Crystal Palace have struggled for goals at home all season, scoring only five in 10 league matches, but they have still been creating chances and I think they will find a way to squeak past Grimsby.
Fulham are another struggling top-flight team who need to get a win, and it does not matter how scrappy it is as long as they get it.
I think the Cottagers will get past managerless Oldham and Leicester will beat Newport, which the BBC is showing live on Sunday (16:30 GMT KO and live on BBC One and the BBC Sport website).
The Foxes’ form has been up and down as well, but we saw what they can do when they beat Chelsea and Manchester City over Christmas.
Newport will be up and at ’em like they were in their cup run last season but I think Leicester will have too much for them assuming, as with all of the Premier League clubs, that they don’t just play their reserves. If they do, then they deserve to go out.
Annie Mac: Spurs are my team and they are flying this season. I think they have got this in the bag – easy peasy. 0-3
Lincoln gave us one of those fairytale moments a couple of years ago when they reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup against all odds – that is what the FA Cup is all about and I would like to give this to them again. I think they have the capacity to score at Everton, and I am going to back them to win 2-1.
Premier League v League One
|Burnley v Barnsley||32||x-x||2-1|
|Gillingham v Cardiff||45||x-x||1-1*|
|Blackpool v Arsenal||49||x-x||0-2|
* Away team to win at home in the replay
Barnsley are doing well in League One but Burnley are definitely looking more like their old selves, and they are starting to get a few breaks in front of goal too.
I have a feeling Gillingham will make life difficult for whatever team Cardiff boss Neil Warnock puts out, but Warnock’s sides are always very competitive and I think they will escape with a draw and win the replay.
I am at Bloomfield Road to watch Blackpool play Arsenal for BBC Radio 5 live and am looking forward to it. The Gunners only just got past the Seasiders in the Carabao Cup earlier this season and, while I think even a weakened Gunners side will get through, it might be close.
Annie Mac: Unai Emery has been making that Arsenal team play good, man. I think they are playing really well this season and think they are going to take this one not by a little but by a lot. I am making these predictions while wearing Blackpool colours (a tangerine jumper) but lads, I think you are going to lose by four goals. 0-4
Premier League v Championship
|Man Utd v Reading||37||x-x||3-0|
|West Ham v Birmingham||18||x-x||1-2|
|Bristol City v Huddersfield||11||x-x||2-0|
|Chelsea v Nottingham Forest||23||x-x||2-1|
|Derby v Southampton||8||x-x||2-0|
|Newcastle v Blackburn||20||x-x||3-2|
|Man City v Rotherham||38||x-x||3-0|
Manchester United are flying under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and he will just want to keep that momentum going against a Reading side that are struggling in the Championship.
Some of these ties will be a lot closer than that one, though, and I can see Birmingham causing an shock against West Ham and Derby upsetting Southampton.
Garry Monk has done an excellent job at Birmingham and if West Ham put out a weakened team then I would back the Blues.
It is the same with Southampton at Derby – the Rams always look like scoring and I doubt Saints will put out their strongest side given they have just dropped into the relegation zone.
Huddersfield have lost eight Premier League games in a row and probably do not need the distraction of the FA Cup but they definitely need a victory over Bristol City to give them some belief back.
Holders Chelsea and Manchester City should have relatively few problems at home against Nottingham Forest and Rotherham and, although Newcastle’s focus is on staying up, they will want to avoid the ignominy of losing to Blackburn at St James’ Park.
Premier League v Premier League
|Bournemouth v Brighton||1||x-x||1-1*|
|Wolves v Liverpool||8||x-x||0-1|
* Away team to win at home in the replay
Bournemouth and Brighton are well-matched and I think it will take a replay to separate them.
Wolves against Liverpool (19:45 GMT KO and live on BBC One and the BBC Sport website) is a difficult one to call.
There is no doubt that Reds boss Jurgen Klopp will make a lot of changes to his team, while Wolves are on a strange run of results – including winning at Spurs then losing at home to Crystal Palace – that makes it very hard to know what they are going to do next.
Annie Mac: Obviously Liverpool will play to win but I do think their focus is on the Premier League this year so I am going to give it to Wolves. 2-1
Championship v non-league
|Sheffield United v Barnet||83||x-x||2-0|
I really like the way Sheffield United play. They are always good to watch because they have a real go at teams, and I don’t see Barnet keeping them out.
Championship v League One
|Sheff Wed v Luton||10||x-x||1-1*|
|Shrewsbury v Stoke||26||x-x||0-2|
|Accrington v Ipswich||12||x-x||2-1|
|Bolton v Walsall||17||x-x||2-1|
|Brentford v Oxford||28||x-x||2-0|
|Middlesbrough v Peterborough||26||x-x||2-0|
|Norwich v Portsmouth||23||x-x||1-0|
|Preston v Doncaster||13||x-x||2-1|
* Away team to win at home in the replay
Luton are doing really well at the top of League One and I can see them getting past Sheffield Wednesday after taking them back to Kenilworth Road.
I see another shock on the cards at Accrington, who have one of the better managers in the lower divisions in John Coleman.
Stanley are at home to Ipswich, who are bottom of the Championship with one win in their past 14 games, and only one away win all season – that’s why I am going for Accrington to reach round four.
Shrewsbury took West Ham to a replay at this stage of the FA Cup last season but I don’t see them having any joy against Stoke City.
Bolton, who host Walsall, definitely need a money-spinning FA Cup run because it could mean the difference between their players being paid or not – that is a big incentive for them.
Brentford and Oxford are both struggling a bit which is a surprise – I was expecting Karl Robinson to do better as U’s boss – but I am going to back the Bees here.
Middlesbrough lost at home to another League One club, Burton, in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup but I think they will get past high-scoring Peterborough on Saturday.
Norwich and Portsmouth are both doing well at the top of their respective divisions and I would love to know how the Canaries manage to score so many late goals because the number they get is absolutely phenomenal.
Pompey will come and play because they have nothing to lose – but I am going with Norwich to win and I am also backing my team Preston to beat Doncaster.
I will be at Deepdale to watch this one and I am expecting a close game. I have already seen Doncaster in the FA Cup this season, when they played Chorley in round one. Rovers score a lot of goals and this is a trickier tie than might first appear.
Championship v Championship
|West Brom v Wigan||16||x-x||2-0|
|Aston Villa v Swansea||2||x-x||2-1|
|Millwall v Hull||6||x-x||0-2|
|QPR v Leeds||8||x-x||1-1*|
* Away team to win at home in the replay
West Brom are at the top end of the Championship for a reason and their home form is particularly good – the second best in their division behind Leeds.
The Baggies are up against a Wigan side that upset Manchester City last season, but the Latics have only won once away all season and are on a run of one win in their past 13 games, so I don’t see them having another run this year.
Aston Villa and Swansea are both in mid-table and have both been very up and down of late, but I think Villa will edge this one.
Hull are the form team in this division right now so I would back them to beat Millwall and, although leaders Leeds have just lost two games in a row, I can’t believe their manager Marcelo Bielsa will put out a weakened team at QPR, which is why I see them going through.
League One v League One
|Fleetwood v AFC Wimbledon||13||x-x||1-0|
I sat next to Fleetwood manager Joey Barton at the Southport versus Tranmere tie in round two and was impressed by what he had to say. Wimbledon are struggling badly in League One so I think Barton will be into round four in his first season as a manager.
How did Lawro do last time?
In the current round of Premier League games, Lawro has so far got four correct results, including one perfect score, from nine matches, for a total of 70 points.
He is level with rapper Yatez, who has got seven correct results, but with no exact scores, and also has total of 70 points.
Any points they score from Thursday’s game between Manchester City and Liverpool will be added to their totals. Lawro is going for a 1-1 draw while Yatez has backed City to win 2-1.
|Total scores after week 21|
|Lawro v Guests|
|+/- DENOTE POSITION DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAWRO’S TABLE AND ACTUAL POSITION|
GUEST LEADERBOARD 2018-19
|140||The 1975’s Ross MacDonald|
|90||Jim Glennie, Karl Pilkington, Chris Stark|
|86||Lawro (average after 21 weeks)|
|80||Richard Ashcroft, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Greg James, Mark Wahlberg|
|60||Idris Elba, Dolph Lundgren, Mumford & Sons, Dillian Whyte|
|50||Bring Me The Horizon, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre and Theo Ellis.|
|40||Tom Grennan, Josh Warrington|
Lawro’s best score: 260 points (week seven v Karl Pilkington)
Lawro’s worst score: 40 points (week three v Idris Elba, week eight v Chris Stark and week 12 v Mumford & Sons)