Arguably one of the best weekends of the English footballing calendar, the FA Cup third round is here.
Across three days from Saturday to Monday 64 teams are in action, contesting 32 ties to see who will make the third round and take another step en route to Wembley.
As always, the third round brings 20 Premier League and 24 Championship clubs into the competition, where they join those from lower down the leagues who have already been busy in the FA Cup.
In total there are just two all-Premier League ties and 10 pitting Premier League and Championship sides together. Some of the standout fixtures include a Merseyside Derby between Liverpool and Everton, non-league AFC Fylde travelling to Premier League side Sheffield United and holders Manchester City welcoming Port Vale to the Etihad.
But for all the excitement that will come around the country at stadiums, there are just six games being televised.
As usual, we’ve had two writers take a look at the televised fixtures for the weekend ahead and make some predictions. There are also percentile odds, based on the Smarkets betting exchange, for every result possible in each game.
You have to be 18+ to gamble. For more information, go to BeGambleAware.org. Odds accurate at the time of writing (16:00, 02/01/2020).
Rochdale vs. Newcastle United
TV channel info: BT Sport 1 (Saturday 4th, 12:31)
Harry Edwards: The weekend starts with League One side Rochdale hosting Newcastle of the Premier League and, as always, the FA Cup can provide some shocks. Neither side have been in great form, but Newcastle’s injury concerns could see them a bit too cautious and there for the taking. Rochdale 1-0 Newcastle.
Steve Jennings: Rochdale ended a run of three straight defeats on Wednesday with a league win over Accrington. If they successfully retain that momentum, they may have a change of producing a giant-killing against an injury-hit Newcastle. But even so, the Magpies should have enough attacking quality to edge past the hosts. Rochdale 1-2 Newcastle.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Andy Carroll has provided three assists in the Premier League this season, as many as he did in his previous four campaigns combined.
Rochdale win: 19.61%
Newcastle win: 56.82%
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Manchester United
TV channel info: BT Sport 1 (Saturday 4th, 17:31)
HE: Wolves have had United’s number under Nuno Espirito Santo. They are unbeaten in their four games against them, which includes a win in last years’ FA Cup. But they have lost their past two games – Liverpool (A) and Watford (A) – and will face a United side hurting even more after their defeat to Arsenal. It will be close and could all depend on how the teams line up. Wolves 1-2 Man Utd.
SJ: Wolves beat Manchester United twice at Molineux last season and the teams find themselves in very similar shape now. United are struggling for consistency while Wolves continue to be a nightmare for the ‘Big Six’. A home win is very much on the cards here if Espirito Santo’s side are fresh and clinical enough. Wolves 2-1 Man Utd.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Mason Greenwood has scored 10 goals for Manchester United across all competitions this season, only Marcus Rashford (16) has managed more.
Wolves win: 40.32%
Man Utd win: 30.77%
Middlesbrough vs. Tottenham Hotspur
TV channel info: BT Sport 1 (Sunday 5th, 13:01)
HE: Despite their low standing in the Championship, Middlesbrough are on a decent run of form winning led by Jonathan Woodgate. But Woodgate will have a tough task to continue that run against former club Tottenham Hotspur who need to turn their season around. Even with injury woes, expect Tottenham to bite back. Middlesbrough 1-3 Tottenham.
SJ: Tottenham have been poor over the festive period, dropping points at Norwich and losing to Southampton after winning fortunately against Brighton. Middlesbrough, meanwhile, have completely turned their form around in the Championship. Jose Mourinho will make changes but this one could easily go to a replay. Middlesbrough 1-1 Tottenham.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Son Heung-min will be back in the team after serving a three-man suspension and will look to add to his 10 goals for the season.
Middlesbrough win: 16.13%
Tottenham win: 58.82%
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Liverpool vs. Everton
TV channel info: BBC One (Sunday 5th, 16:01)
HE: The big one of the weekend. There seems to be no stopping Liverpool at the moment as they continue to bulldoze their way through the season. This won’t be as easy as their league win over Everton with the Toffees a more adept side following the departure of Marco Silva and the eventual arrival of Carlo Ancelotti. That said, the Reds should still win. Liverpool 2-0 Everton.
SJ: More rotation is on the cards for Liverpool after an incredibly busy December. The Reds must be careful, though, as Everton will be highly motivated to end their dreadful run at Anfield under new boss Ancelotti. Jurgen Klopp will be desperate to avoid a replay but he may have to settle for one if he rests all of his stars. Liverpool 2-2 Everton.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Takumi Minamino is set to make his Liverpool debut this weekend after his move from Red Bull Salzburg.
Liverpool win: 58.14%
Everton win: 18.87%
Gillingham vs. West Ham United
TV channel info: BT Sport 1 (Sunday 5th, 18:16)
HE: Before the arrival of David Moyes, Gillingham could have been favourites to cause an upset, just as Wimbledon did last season. But West Ham thrashed Bournemouth on New Year’s Day and will be looking to continue that mini-revival in the FA Cup as fans need to warm to Moyes. Gillingham 0-3 West Ham.
SJ: The Moyes effect was there for all to see when West Ham thrashed Bournemouth on Wednesday. He may use an FA Cup tie against Gillingham – who are mid-table in League One – to have a look at some of the squad’s fringe players. In any case, the Hammers shouldn’t have too many problems at Priestfield. Gillingham 0-2 West Ham.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Felipe Anderson looked a new player under Moyes against Bournemouth, scoring his first goal of the season.
Gillingham win: 16.67%
West Ham win: 58.48%
Arsenal vs. Leeds United
TV channel info: BBC One (Monday 6th, 19:56)
HE: The weekend ends with Championship leaders Leeds United travelling to face an Arsenal side that have just beaten Manchester United to earn Mikel Arteta’s first win. Leeds have been excellent in the league and may look to add a decent FA Cup run to their quest for Premier League football. Arsenal’s rotation options are thin aside from academy players, so a mixture of experience and youth should see them through. Arsenal 2-1 Leeds.
SJ: Under Unai Emery, this is the kind of game Arsenal would have slipped up in – an encounter with a well-coached if lower quality side in front of an expectant crowd at the Emirates. New manager Arteta should have his players prepared for a tough afternoon, and equipped with that attitude they should see off Leeds United. Arsenal 3-1 Leeds.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Granit Xhaka had looked on his way out of Arsenal but now appears to be a key player for Mikel Arteta’s plans going forward.