FA Cup 2017/18 Third Round Preview

Football
Updated Monday 8th January 2018, 12:25 PM

Christmas may be the most magical time of year for many, but for success-starved supporters of lower-league football clubs, the FA Cup third round offers the chance to dream big as the decorations come down.

The world’s most famous domestic cup competition has been underway since August, when the extra-preliminary round took place, but this weekend sees the stars of the Premier League and Championship join in the fun, hoping to avoid a giant-killing. What are the chances of one of football’s biggest names being toppled at the first hurdle? Take a look at Sports.net’s FA Cup 201718 third round preview.

Manchester United v Derby County

Friday 5th January, 8pm

For all the talk of a crisis at Old Trafford, Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United sit second in the Premier League (ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Arsenal tonight). Their New Year’s Day win over Everton followed disappointing draws with Southampton, Burnley and Leicester, and a humiliating EFL Cup defeat to Championship Bristol City. The Portuguese will have to do without the injured Romelu Lukaku and suspended Ashley Young, but he may be tempted to field a stronger side than he might have originally intended to avoid another cup exit.

Derby County also occupy second position in their division, and will certainly be no pushovers. A newfound ability to grind out results in the Championship even when playing below par and a tight defence that conceded just once in December are major reasons that the club find themselves in serious automatic promotion contention for the first time in years. Czech striker Matej Vydra’s 15 goals in 23 games, compared with just five in 40 last term, have powered the Rams’ impressive campaign, and 15/1 from 888Sport for him to hit the back of the net first is very tempting.

Sports.net’s Top Tip

Type Odds Provider Bet Now
First Goalscorer
Matej Vydra (DER)
15/1
Bet Now

Fleetwood Town v Leicester City

Saturday 6th January, 12:45pm

After a meteoric rise from the North West Counties League Division One, in the tenth level of English football, to the third-tier League One in ten years, Fleetwood seemed to have plateaued. However, former Manchester City striker Uwe Rosler was appointed manager in 2016 and almost guided them to a play-off final appearance last season. The Cod Army’s form has dipped a little this year and they could lose top scorer Devante Cole, a rumoured target for Sheffield United, before they face former Premier League champions Leicester. They won’t be able to call on new striker Paddy Madden either, as the former Scunthorpe man is cup-tied.

Having endured a slump after failing to live up to their extraordinary championship-winning season, Leicester City have a newfound spring in their step. They sit eighth in the Premier League and, although the second half of December is best forgotten, a 3-0 hammering of Huddersfield Town on New Year’s Day should give them the confidence to sweep aside their lower-league foe this weekend.

Sports.net’s Top Tip

Type Odds Provider Bet Now
Half Time/Full Time
Leicester/Leicester
8/5
Bet Now

Newcastle United v Luton Town

Saturday 6th January, 3pm

Newcastle may sit just a point above the Premier League relegation zone, but there are some reasons to be cheerful for the St James’ Park faithful. They’ve kept two clean sheets on the bounce, from a victory over Stoke and a draw with Brighton, and they showed great defensive organisation to restrict free-scoring Manchester City to a solitary goal in last month’s defeat, almost snatching a draw late in the game. They may need to call on all of that resolve this weekend when they take on an attacking powerhouse.

Luton Town have scored a breathtaking 62 goals in 26 League Two matches so far this term, putting seven past both Cambridge and Stevenage and eight past Yeovil. They are four points clear at the top of the table, and will relish a trip to Tyneside, where they will feel they have little to lose. Of course, there is a vast gulf in class between the two divisions, but all the pressure is on the home side and the Hatters have the scoring habit, making 6/1 on them scoring in both halves an interesting proposition.

Sports.net’s Top Tip

Type Odds Provider Bet Now
To Score in Both Halves
Luton
6/1
Bet Now

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Last Updated: Monday, 8 January 2018 12:25:48+00:00
Published By Sports.net

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