FA Cup Third Round preview

The FA Cup starts for the Premier League teams this week as we enter the Third Round Proper of the famous competition.

While the qualification for the competition began with the Extra Preliminary Round on 6 August 2016 for teams that are not members of either the Premier League or English Football League, the First and Second Rounds have also now both been completed.

2015/16 FA Cup Champions Manchester United get their 2016/17 tournament underway against Championship high-flyers Reading at Old Trafford while the losing finalists Crystal Palace are away to Bolton Wanderers.

The Cup suffered for popularity in recent seasons as more emphasis was placed on European competitions, most notably the Champions League.

This though led to a greater opportunity for the so-called smaller clubs to stake a claim for some silverware, which has in-turn helped the competition, which was first played in the 1871–72 season, reclaim much of its lost majesty.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is one manager who feels the competition is important, as he said: "It is a big priority for us.

"We have shown historically that we care about it, and it is a massive competition for everybody. To win the FA Cup is always a target each year," ahead of the Gunners' clash with Preston North End on Saturday.

Hull City and Swansea City will enjoy some respite from their league woes as they go head-to-head at the KC Stadium.

Struggling Sunderland have a similar match-up as they take on Burnley at the Stadium of Light, as Everton have a tricky test against Leicester.

The Toffees emerged 2-0 winners in their recent tie and will be confident of a quick-fire double after a positive run of results that has seen them lose just once in their last five games.

Seven-time FA Cup winners Liverpool are at home to League Two side Plymouth Argyle on Sunday as Chelsea face League One side Peterborough.

Tottenham Hotspur are up against former Premier League stalwarts  Aston Villa, who have also been crowned FA Cup champions on seven occasions – although the last time they won the competition was in the 1956–57 season.

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Saturday's FA Cup fixtures in full:
 
Manchester United v Reading
 
Ipswich Town v Lincoln City
 
Hull City v Swansea City
 
Sunderland v Burnley
 
QPR v Blackburn Rovers
 
Brighton v MK Dons
 
Millwall v AFC Bournemouth
 
Blackpool v Barnsley
 
Wigan v Nottingham Forest
 
Rotherham Utd v Oxford Utd
 
Norwich City v Southampton
 
Barrow v Rochdale
 
West Brom v Derby County
 
Everton v Leicester City
 
Wycombe v Stourbridge
 
Watford v Burton Albion
 
Stoke City v Wolverhampton
 
Bristol City v Fleetwood Town
 
Huddersfield Town v Port Vale
 
Brentford v Eastleigh
 
Birmingham v Newcastle Utd
 
Bolton v Crystal Palace
 
Sutton United v AFC Wimbledon
 
Accrington v Luton Town
 
Preston North End v Arsenal
 
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Sunday's FA Cup fixtures in full:
 
Cardiff City v Fulham
 
Liverpool v Plymouth Argyle
 
Chelsea v Peterborough
 
Middlesbrough v Sheff Weds
 
Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa

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