It’s the match of the round or the most difficult draw of the round, depending on the angle one takes, or perhaps it’s both. Whatever the case, it’s Everton against Liverpool at Anfield and set for the weekend of January 6th as the two local rivals enter the competition by facing off against each other.
In a round filled with draws like Ipswich Town vs. Sheffield United and Newport vs. Leeds United it looks by far the most difficult pairing of opponents. That also makes it the most tempting, at least for the neutral viewer. And for the teams it at least avoids any risk of a magic of the cup-type upset.
It’s also certain to be one of the games chosen to be televised, which is never something guaranteed in the early FA Cup rounds, so at least there’s that. And with the two sides set to face off for the first time this season this weekend, it’s likely the FA Cup tie will serve as a chance at revenge for one.
Amongst the other top six sides, Arsenal get to travel to face Nottingham Forest, Manchester United will host Championship side Derby while their neighbours City host Burnley, Chelsea will travel to face Norwich, and as mentioned, Tottenham will play host to AFC Wimbledon.
None exactly headlining matches for the third round of the cup, when the 20 winners of the last round are joined by 44 sides from the Premier League and Championship. More noteworthy perhaps is Brighton hosting Crystal Palace, a game that like Liverpool vs. Everton is a derby draw.