Date: 8th January 2016 at 8:31am
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Arsenal’s nine-year wait for a trophy ended in 2014 with an extra-time victory over Hull. The Gunners followed this up by beating Villa 4-0 in the 2015 final, and the back-to-back successes made the North London side the FA Cup record holders with an unmatched 12 wins.

Aiming for a third straight win, Arsene Wenger and his team welcome fellow Premier League side Sunderland to the Emirates, with the visitors currently struggling at the opposite end of the table to their hosts.

30 May 2015 -FA Cup Final 2015 - Aston Villa v Arsenal - Theo Walcott of Arsenal celebrates with the FA Cup - Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Arsenal are aiming to become just the third side to win the trophy three years in a row

As well as Arsenal hosting Sunderland, there are four other all Premier League ties with Leicester taking on Tottenham (two sides in fine form near the top of the table), Manchester City playing Norwich, Southampton welcoming Crystal Palace to St Mary’s and Watford hosting Newcastle.

Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United struggled last year, battling past Yeovil before needing a replay to see off League Two’s Cambridge United. The Red Devils then beat Preston before eventual winners Arsenal beat them in the Sixth Round. This year they take on Sheffield United, who have been something of a specialist cup side in recent seasons, and will fancy their chances at a nervous Old Trafford.

Before all of this, the Third Round kicks off on Friday evening, with Exeter welcoming Liverpool to St James Park. Brendan Rodgers’ failure to win a trophy during his time in charge of the Anfield outfit resulted in his dismissal, and replacement Jurgen Klopp will be keen to fight for silverware early on in his reign. The German already has his side sitting pretty in the League Cup after the Reds won 1-0 at Stoke in the first-leg of their semi-final on Tuesday.

17 October 2015 - Barclays Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool - Jurgen Klopp manager / head coach of Liverpool - Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Jurgen Klopp takes seven-time winners Liverpool to League Two Exeter

Seven-time winners Chelsea will be hoping it’s not a case of Déjà vu when they face a League One side at Stamford Bridge. The Blues, who take on Scunthorpe United, suffered a shock 4-2 defeat at home to third-tier Bradford in last year’s fourth round. However, Guus Hiddink has fond memories of this competition after lifting the cup with the West London club in his first spell in charge seven years ago.

Eastleigh, who currently sit mid-table in the National League, welcome Championship strugglers Bolton to Ten Acres hoping to achieve a famous cup upset. Whilst Bolton’s form has improved slightly in recent weeks, the club are in turmoil off the pitch, and Eastleigh will look to take advantage. With the Trotters’ future hanging in the balance, the win could hand them some much-needed cash.

Last year’s runners-up, Premier League strugglers Aston Villa, travel to Adams Park to take on Wycombe Wanderers. With upset written all over the game, it might actually prove a welcome distraction for Remi Garde’s side, and give them the chance to recapture form that can then be taken into the league.

8th November 2015 - Barclays Premier League - Aston Villa v Manchester City - New Aston Villa manager Remi Garde - Photo: Paul Roberts / Offside.

Remi Garde’s struggling Aston Villa face a tough trip to League Two Wycombe

Oxford’s clash with Swansea, Peterborough’s home tie against Preston and MK Dons’ trip to Northampton are other potential upsets in waiting this weekend.

One of the most exciting games of the last round was undoubtedly Dagenham & Redbridge versus Whitehawk. A pulsating match saw substitute Jordan Rose pinch an injury time equaliser for the non-league side who took their opponents back to The Enclosed Ground. In the replay, Dagenham sneaked through 3-2 after extra-time with a goal from Obileye in the 100th minute, and their reward is a trip to Goodison Park to take on Roberto Martinez’s Everton, who beat Manchester City 2-1 in the first-leg of their League Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

In an interesting side-story, Brentford boss Dean Smith welcomes his old club Walsall to Griffin Park. Smith spent four years in charge of the Saddlers before controversially leaving to take charge of the Championship Bees in November.

FA Cup Third Round Matches:
Arsenal v Sunderland
Birmingham v Bournemouth
Brentford v Walsall
Bury v Bradford City
Cardiff City v Shrewsbury
Carlisle v Yeovil
Chelsea v Scunthorpe
Colchester v Charlton
Doncaster v Stoke City
Eastleigh v Bolton
Everton v Dagenham & Redbridge
Exeter City v Liverpool
Hartlepool v Derby
Huddersfield v Reading
Hull City v Brighton
Ipswich v Portsmouth
Leeds United v Rotherham
Manchester United v Sheffield United
Middlesbrough v Burnley
Newport County v Blackburn
Northampton v MK Dons
Norwich v Manchester City
Nottingham Forest v QPR
Oxford United v Swansea
Peterborough v Preston NE
Sheffield Wednesday v Fulham
Southampton v Crystal Palace
Tottenham v Leicester
Watford v Newcastle
West Bromwich v Bristol City
West Ham v Wolves

 
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