FA Cup 3rd Round Preview and Potential Upsets

The best round of one of the best annual competitions is here - the FA Cup 3rd Round - and as the minnows are joined by giants we sniff for upsets.

FA Cup 4th Round preview

There aren’t many times during the football season where the average Football fan cares about much lower than the EPL, the FA Cup 3rd Round is one of those.

The other is usually around April when some realise that three clubs will come up from the Football League to join the EPL.

Perhaps with a club the size of Newcastle United in the Championship, or the BeIn Sports deal on Foxtel that may have fractionally increased interest this season. One may as well since you are now paying an extra $4 a month on Foxtel because of it.



But keeping an eye below the EPL can be a profitable exercise this time of the football season as the FA Cup 3rd Round sees the 20 EPL sides and 24 Championship sides join the survivors from the previous rounds and qualifying from Leagues One and Two, and even further below from the Non League.

There’s bound to be an upset or two, as some of the EPL sides with an eye on survival take their eye off the ball against a lower league side hungry to capture some limelight for as brief a time allowed.

It’s not always about the EPL sides either. Some of the most embarrassing exits in the FA Cup 3rd happen to sides in the second tier Championship, and this year’s edition has a few Championship-Non League march ups.


Everyone likes a bite sized stat to go with fleeting interest, so here’s a few.

In past six Third Rounds of the FA Cup there have been 37 wins for sides over a team in a higher division. Some of the more interesting bits are below.

  • More than half of those upsets come at the expense of a Championship side. This even includes three exits at the hands of non-League teams in the past six editions.
  • The biggest category for upset is League One (3rd) beating Championship (second) with two a year on average. Four last season.
  • League One teams are the kings of the upset with just under half of the surprise results coming for the third tier sides.
  • On average two EPL sides are knocked out at this stage by lower league clubs.
  • Four non-League teams have beaten higher opposition in the past six seasons.
  • Last season’s biggest upsets were EPL side Swansea being knocked out by then 4th tier Oxford United and Portsmouth from the same division taking Ipswich Town from the Championship to a replay and then beating them at home.
  • Three EPL sides needed replays to get past lower league sides last year Liverpool (4th tier Exeter), Aston Villa (Wycombe 4th tier) and West Brom (Bristol City 2nd tier).


Some of the prime EPL upset candidates have been removed from potential upsets as they are playing each as in the case of Swansea v Hull.

But here are a handful of potential upsets worth a look and possibly a wager.


Possibly a bigger chance before Alan Pardew got the boot, but big Sam might still have bigger worries than an FA Cup run. Bolton are going well in the third division League One and look set to bounce back to the Championship at first go. They are doing well at home with just one loss in 12 games and a +12 goal difference.


Middlesbrough aren’t going great at home, with three wins in nine and just 9 goals scored, three of them in the most recent match against Swansea. Middlesbrough only just snuck in to automatic promotion last year on the last day, Sheffield Wednesday made the playoffs, so there wasn’t much between the two last year. Sheffield Wednesday look likely promotion candidates again this year sitting in sixth overall, and sixth on home and away form. Although their away scoring isn’t any better than Middlesbrough with 12 goals in 13 games.


Depending on the side put out by Tony Pulis, this could be another potential upset. Although West Brom are having one of their better seasons, so a full strength side will make an upset hard.

Derby County are on a great run of 10 unbeaten, a run that included a 7 game winning streak. Their defence is Heart Foundation approved with just 15 goals conceded in 24 games. Their ultimate goal is to make up for near misses in EPL promotion, but taking an EPL scalp would build great confidence in a side that has badly choked in two previous promotion campaign.


Non League Eastleigh took then Championship side Bolton Wanderers to a replay last season at this stage, and they are going OK in the Non League Premier division where they sit 11th, but they average more than a goal a game away from home, and knocked out third tier Swindon Town in the first round of this season’s competition already.

Championship side Brentford are inconsistent at home with just one win in their last seven home matches, and they sit in the midfield of the Championship, where a good number of the upsets come from.


Ipswich Town have threatened to break out of a cycle of mediocrity by flirting with relegation from the second tier. Their home form has been quite ordinary at times, as is their recent cup record. They were knocked out by fourth tier Portsmouth in 2015-16. Anything less than a full strength side will be tempting a loss to a Non League side who are going very well in 2nd in the National League Premier (one below League Two), and averaging 2 goals per away game. Ipswich rarely look like scoring multiple goals.



The EPL sides should win here given the strength of their sides, however they won’t want to get too cute against some good lower league sides.

WATFORD v BURTON ALBION – Burton Albion aren’t going great in the Championship, and are not great away from home, but Watford aren’t going too well lately either, and are in just the ladder position of EPL sides that can take their eye off the ball.

MANCHESTER UNITED v READING – Jose Mourinho has Man United back on track, luckily as third placed Championship Reading are in good form, and have had plenty of recent success in the FA Cup.

LIVERPOOL v PLYMOUTH ARGYLE – Liverpool needed a replay to get past a fourth division Exeter City last season, but that first game was away. Plymouth are in the same division, but going much better. Either way Plymouth win with a share of the gate proceeds. Great for a club where the manager paid the staff wages a few years back.



A point of interest at this stage is the number of teams from outside the top 92 Football League sides. 5 sides have made it through to the big stage, four from the National League Premier which is just below the top four divisions, and one from the Northern Premier League, which is the 7th tier of English Football. –

Here’s a quick glance at who is left.

LINCOLN CITY – National Premier League (5th Tier) – Currently 1st – playing Ipswich Town away – see potential upsets.

BARROW – National Premier League (5th Tier) – Currently 6th (-9 points to leader) – playing Rochdale at Home – also a good chance of an upset but not listed above as didn’t want to bore anymore with a third division side being knocked out.

EASTLEIGH – National Premier League (5th Tier) – Currently 11th (-16 points to leader) – playing Brentford away – see potential upsets.

SUTTON UNITED – National Premier League (5th Tier) – Currently 14th (-20 points to leader) – playing AFC Wimbledon at Home – no upset here say the AFC Wimbledon fan with one eye opened.

STOURBRIDGE – Northern Premier League (7th Tier) – Currently 9th (-9 points to leader) – playing Wycombe Wanderers – could have been another upset if not for the man mountain that is Wycombe’s Adebayo Akinfenwa aka The Beast.



Having a responsible wager is all part of the fun for the FA Cup 3rd Round. But how best to stretch the betting dollar. The answer lies in multis.

The football accumulator is a big thing for football in general in the UK, and with the myriad of betting companies in Australia offering deals to entice, it is the best way to enhance your FA Cup 3rd round weekend.

Split all the games into four piles to maximise enjoyment.

Pick your best 5 upsets and take them win/draw or straight if brave.

Then take a multi each for the games kicking off at 3pm UK time that are Home “certainties” and Away “sure things”.

Finally, with a bunch of games kicking off on the Sunday UK time, pick your best and accumulate.

You could have an interest in most of the FA Cup 3rd round with just 4 bets.




BRISTOL CITY to beat Fleetwood Town
WYCOMBE to beat Stourbridge
SUNDERLAND to beat Burnley
STOKE CITY to beat Wolves
HULL CITY to beat Swansea City
EVERTON to beat Leicester
BLACKPOOL to beat Barnsley
MAN UTD to beat Reading

$1 pays $213


ARSENAL to beat Preston North End
OXFORD UNITED to beat Rotherham
WIMBLEDON to beat Sutton United
SOUTHAMPTON to beat Norwich
BOURNEMOUTH to beat Millwall

$1 for $77


LEEDS UNITED to beat Cambridge
SPURS to beat Aston Villa
LIVERPOOL to beat Plymouth
FULHAM to beat Cardiff
DRAW/SHEFFIELD WED v Middlesbrough
BOTH TEAM TO SCORE – Chelsea v Peterborough

$1 “pays” $30



UK Day UK Time Home vs Away
Friday 19:55 West Ham vs Manchester City
Saturday 12:30 Manchester United vs Reading
Saturday 15:00 Hull vs Swansea
Saturday 15:00 Sunderland vs Burnley
Saturday 15:00 Queens Park Rangers vs Blackburn
Saturday 15:00 Millwall vs Bournemouth
Saturday 15:00 Blackpool vs Barnsley
Saturday 15:00 Wigan vs Nottingham Forest
Saturday 15:00 Birmingham vs Newcastle United
Saturday 15:00 Bolton vs Crystal Palace
Saturday 15:00 Norwich vs Southampton
Saturday 15:00 Sutton United vs AFC Wimbledon
Saturday 15:00 Accrington vs Luton
Saturday 15:00 Ipswich vs Lincoln
Saturday 15:00 Brighton vs Milton Keynes Dons
Saturday 15:00 Rotherham vs Oxford
Saturday 15:00 Wycombe vs Stourbridge
Saturday 15:00 Bristol City vs Fleetwood
Saturday 15:00 Brentford vs Eastleigh
Saturday 15:00 West Bromwich Albion vs Derby
Saturday 15:00 Everton vs Leicester
Saturday 15:00 Watford vs Burton
Saturday 15:00 Stoke vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
Saturday 15:00 Huddersfield vs Port Vale
Saturday 15:00 Barrow vs Rochdale
Saturday 17:30 Preston vs Arsenal
Sunday 11:30 Cardiff vs Fulham
Sunday 13:30 Liverpool vs Plymouth
Sunday 15:00 Chelsea vs Peterborough
Sunday 15:00 Middlesbrough vs Sheffield Wednesday
Sunday 16:00 Tottenham vs Aston Villa
Monday 19:45 Cambridge U vs Leeds






About Theydon Bois 282 Articles
Born and raised on the banks of Yebri Creek, Theydon Bois has always been obsessed by sport. A stellar career of Underage B sides, RSL Social Golf, C Grade Warehouse and D Grade Indoor Cricket didn’t showcase much talent, but provided a window into the love for any game, any time. Theydon follows as much as he can and will provide opinion, ideas, and best tips and bets for most sports*. A particular interest in English Football sees Theydon Bois up every Saturday night until 2am with two laptops, smartphones, IPad and a radio feed of Soccer Saturday. A lifelong fan of underperforming, mediocre, disappointing teams will not sway his enthusiasm for sport. *Rugby Union not included.

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