The third round of the FA Cup is here and we are expecting an action-packed weekend. Here are the things to look out for during the fixtures.
Ole Gunner to make history
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s dream start to life as Manchester United interim manager continued on Wednesday with a fourth consecutive victory. He will be out to make a statement in the FA Cup when his charges play host to Reading. Solskjaer’s win against Newcastle made him just the second manager in Manchester United’s history to win his first four games in charge, following Sir Matt Busby’s record in 1946. He will be happy to better this with yet another home win where he is expected to rotate his squad heavily.
Chelsea to shift focus on their FA Cup title defence
Chelsea are fourth in the Premier League table following their goalless draw against Southampton at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. The Blues are still in the title race but will shift focus to the FA Cup as they seek to add to their trophy collection, with Nottingham Forest the opposition on Saturday. The promotion hopefuls beat Leeds United 4-2 to get their New Year off to the perfect start and might want to spoil the party for Chelsea, who have stumbled at home in recent weeks.
Everton must win?
Everton’s home form has not been up to expectation as they lost 1-0 for the second game on the run when they played host to Leicester City on New Year’s Day. Marco Silva, the former Hull City and Watford manager cannot afford to lose at home to League Two side Lincoln City in the FA Cup on Saturday. The visitors are top of the League Two table by four points but Everton will prove a much tougher prospect here as they are uniquely motivated by recent results in the Premier League.
Under 2.5 Goals in prospect?
Newport County were beaten 1-0 at the hands of Stevenage and this happened despite their opposition being reduced to ten men in the first half. However, they can take hope in Leicester’s record in cup competitions with regards to scoring goals. Ten of Leicester’s last 14 domestic cup matches have seen fewer than three goals, including all three Carabao Cup outings this season and all but one of their last six FA Cup ties. From where we sit, this is another low-scoring affair waiting to happen.
Arsenal’s poor defensive record to continue
New Year’s Day saw Blackpool slump to another disappointing defeat as they hosted Sunderland. The result made it four games on the bounce without a win. That news is not about to get better with Arsenal being their next opponent in the FA Cup. Whereas the visitors are heavily favoured to carry the day, Unai Emery’s men can’t stop conceding goals. Arsenal are yet to keep a domestic clean sheet when away from home this season.