FA Cup 2013
The FA Cup is the oldest football association football competition in the world and remains one of the most prestigious trophies in world football. The third round staged in January saw the Premiership sides enter the competition, giving the teams from the lower divisions the chance of becoming “giant killers”.
There were victories for non-league Macclesfield against Championship leaders Cardiff and Luton against Wolves. Both sides could face Premiership opposition in the fourth round with Luton away to Norwich and Macclesfield hosting the winners of the replay between Bournemouth and Wigan.
Chelsea are the undisputed FA Cup kings in recent years, winning four of the last six including their 2-1 victory over Liverpool in 2012. Although they are experiencing a troubled season in the wake of the break up of their successful Champions League winning side, they signalled their intent with a thumping 5-1 victory over Southampton in the 3rd round. They face a trip to Southend or Brentford in the next round and 5-1 joint-favourites in the FA Cup betting.
Manchester United needed a late goal from Robin van Persie to keep their Cup hopes alive when salvaging a 2-2 draw at West Ham United. The winners of the replay will face either Fulham or Blackpool. United have a Champions League clash with Real Madrid in February and have not won the FA Cup since 2003-04. Manchester rivals City kick-started their rise to Premiership Champions when beating Stoke in the 2010-11 final by a goal to nil. They could face Stoke in the fourth round if the Premiership side can overcome Crystal Palace in a replay.
Brighton claimed one of the biggest scalps of Round 3 when defeating Newcastle United 2-0 and have been rewarded with a home tie against the winners of the Arsenal and Swansea tie. The Gunners are seeking their first silverware in eight seasons and are priced at 11-1 to end the drought this season. Everton reached the final in 2008-09, losing out to Chelsea, and are also hoping to end a long run without a trophy. They have been in excellent form in the Premiership and crushed lowly Cheltenham 5-1 in the third round to start their campaign. They play the winners of Sunderland and Bolton.
Liverpool are in the middle of a rebuilding process under Brendan Rodgers and needed a controversial goal from Luis Saurez to edge past Mansfield. They now face a tricky tie away at Oldham. Tottenham are yet another Premiership side who would relish the prospect of ending the season with some silverware. Andre Villas-Boas has made an impressive start following his surprise appointment last summer and they look lively contenders at 9-1. They play the winners of Leeds and Birmingham in Round four. Aston Villa suffered a 3-1 defeat in their Capital One Cup semi-final first leg against Bradford and face another potential upset at Millwall.
Reading host Sheffield United, QPR or West Brom play the winners of Sheffield Wednesday and MK Dons and there are two all-Championship ties. Huddersfield play Leicester and Derby host Blackburn. In the remaining ties, Aldershot are away to Middlesbrough and Barnsley await the winners of the replay between Hull and Orient. The fourth round ties will be played on the 26th and 27th.