The Third Round FA Cup Draw Was Decisively Meh

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The draw for the Third Round of the FA Cup wrapped up just a little while ago. And unless you have a clear rooting interest, or you’re quite enamored with the history and romance of the competition, there’s a good chance you’ll end up doing something else with your weekend.

With a few exceptions, most Premier League clubs were matched up with lower league opposition. On the one hand, it’s great for the smaller clubs and great for fans to see more of English football outside the glitz and glamour of the top flight. There are also more opportunities for cupsets, which is what the Third and Fourth Rounds are all about.

On the other hand, the marquee tie of the round seems to be West Ham vs Manchester City. Maybe you’d get out of bed at 6am on a weekend day for that, but maybe you wouldn’t.

What else is there from the draw? Defending FA Cup champions Manchester United will host Reading, who are currently managed by former United great Jaap Stam. Several struggling Premier League clubs will face each other in the Cup, in what will likely be both a welcome reprieve from the relegation battle and likely practice for some decisive league fixtures down the road; these include Sunderland v Burnley, Hull City v Swansea, and top-half Everton facing the struggling champions Leicester City.

Seventh division club Stourbridge are awaiting a Second Round replay against Northampton Town. If they win that clash, they’ll be the lowest-level club in the Third Round and will face off against League Two outfit Wycombe Wanderers.

Fan-owned darlings AFC Wimbledon are set for an emotional weekend after being drawn against fifth division club Sutton United, who were their first ever opponents after being reformed in 2002 following the split between them and the club that eventually became known as Milton Keynes Dons.

I’m one of those hopeless romantic, Magic Of The FA Cup types, so I’m definitely looking forward to the first weekend in January. But if football romance isn’t your thing, there probably isn’t going to be much to draw you in for this round.

Here are the full results of the Third Round draw, which will be played out January 6-9. The full schedule, including which games will be picked for television, is still being worked out.

Ipswich Town v Lincoln/Oldham

Barrow v Rochdale

Manchester United v Reading

Hull v Swansea

Sunderland v Burnley

QPR v Blackburn

Millwall v Bournemouth

West Ham v Manchester City

Brighton v MK Dons/Charlton

Blackpool v Barnsley

Wigan v Nottm Forest

Birmingham v Newcastle

Chelsea v Peterborough/Notts County

Middlesbrough v Sheff Weds

West Brom v Derby County

Everton v Leicester

Liverpool v Newport/Plymouth

Wycombe v Northampton/Stourbridge

Watford v Burton Albion

Preston v Arsenal

Cardiff v Fulham

Stoke v Wolves

Cambridge Utd v Leeds

Bristol City v Shrewsbury/Fleetwood

Huddersfield v Port Vale

Tottenham v Aston Villa

Brentford v Halifax/Eastleigh

Bolton v Crystal Palace

Norwich v Southampton

Sutton Utd v AFC Wimbledon

Accrington v Luton

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