The FA Cup third round kicks off on Friday night with two big matches. Liverpool visit Aston Villa, while Wolverhampton Wanderers host Crystal Palace.
Friday night’s games will be all-Premier League affairs, but on Saturday, the FA Cup third round ramps up with even more fixtures. The FA Cup regularly sees giant killings in the competition, so don’t be surprised to see some big names go down in the third round.
Due to fixture congestion in England this season, matches that finish in draws at 90 minutes will go to extra-time and penalties. Unlike in previous seasons, there will be no replays if the games finish as draws at 90 minutes.
Friday, January 8
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Crystal Palace
Neither side is in great form going into the FA Cup third round on Friday night. Wolves are coming off of a 3-3 draw last weekend in the Premier League, while Crystal Palace won at home versus Sheffield United.
Wolverhampton Wanderers won their last two matches against Crystal Palace. Both games ended 2-0 in favor of Wolves and both games were played at Molineux. With Wolves playing at home, they should narrowly win. Injuries to attacking players could play havoc for both teams.
Result: Wolverhampton Wanderers win
Aston Villa vs. Liverpool
Will this be the first giant-killing of the FA Cup? Okay, it won’t be a huge giant-killing, but Liverpool are reigning Premier League champions and current league leaders. Aston Villa are playing well this season and already defeated Liverpool 7-2 in shocking Premier League match in September.
Liverpool are winless in their last three league matches and lost on Monday night 1-0 to Southampton. The team’s attacking players are not clicking and that is why Dean Smith’s Aston Villa could claim a win.
ZCode System’s Soccer Buddy favors Liverpool for a win, but Aston Villa could get a result at the end of the 90 minutes. Liverpool’s central defence has been ravaged and Jurgen Klopp could play an inexperienced pairing on Friday night.
Saturday, January 9
Stoke City vs. Leicester City
Leicester City head to Stoke City for their FA Cup third-round fixture. The Foxes are unbeaten in four straight matches and go to play Stoke City, who play in the EFL Championship.
Stoke City are eight in the Championship and coming off of a loss last time out to Bournemouth, 1-0. Stoke City should give Leicester City a run for their money early on. However, Leicester City should win.
Result: Leicester City to win
Queens Park Rangers vs. Fulham
The FA Cup third round sees a West London Derby as Queens Park Rangers host Fulham. QPR are a Championship side struggling for form. They are winless in their last five matches going into the FA Cup and near the Championship’s relegation zone.
Premier League club Fulham are dangerously close to the relegation zone. The squad is very much a Championship-quality team. Fulham have drawn their last four matches in the Premier League. Manager Scott Parker may not put out his strongest squad due to wanting to rest players for their next Premier League match.
This game could finish in a draw and Soccer Buddy has identified it as a key match that could end level after 90 minutes.
Result: Draw (both teams to score)
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