6 of the biggest mismatches ahead of the third round of the FA Cup
The third round of the FA Cup is arguably the biggest weekend of the football calendar in England, as the oldest association football tournament in the world welcomes the top teams.
The result is some wonderful giants v minnows ties, and the 2017 edition of the tournament is no different – but which fixtures have produced the greatest mismatch?
6. Cambridge United v Leeds United
The gap: 50 league places
Coming in at number six on our list, it’s Cambridge (75th in the league system) v Leeds (25th). There were three games with a 50-place gap, but this one caught our eye.
Both sides have a decent shout of a play-off place come the end of the season, with the U’s seventh in League Two and Leeds fifth in the Championship. Meanwhile, Cambridge’s Luke Berry notched all four goals to see Coventry City off 4-0 in the second round.
We think there’s a chance Leeds might take their eye off the ball in this one however. With this game taking place on Monday evening, Leeds will have just four days between this fixture and a Friday-night league game against seventh-place Derby. Interesting.
5. Chelsea v Peterborough United
The gap: 51 league places
If Peterborough (52nd) manage a win at Chelsea (1st) it will go down as one of the great shocks in recent FA Cup history.
Chelsea sit five points clear at the top of the Premier League, and recently went on a winning streak ending on 13 games at White Hart Lane.
Peterborough meanwhile have something to aim for in the league as well, sitting two points outside the League One play-offs with a game in hand. This fixture begins a tricky run of four consecutive away games for Posh, and we reckon they might be more concerned about league position than an unlikely cup run.
4. Ipswich Town v Lincoln City
The gap: 58 league places
That gap is getting bigger, but this might be a great chance for a cupset, with Lincoln City (93rd) visiting Portman Road to play Ipswich Town (35th).
The Tractor Boys are struggling in the Championship, currently in 15th place just seven points from the relegation zone, but as the division’s longest serving team, they’ll probably be fine.
Meanwhile Lincoln City are leading the National League by two points with a game in hand, having lost just one of their last 10 league games and beaten League One Oldham 3-2 in the last round of the competition. Anyone fancy an Imps win?
3. Liverpool v Plymouth Argyle
The gap: 68 league places
This game is most certainly Liverpool’s (2nd) to lose. Both teams sit second in their respective divisions, it’s just that Liverpool are doing so in the Premier League, while Plymouth Argyle (70th) are doing it in League Two.
Furthermore, Jurgen Klopp’s team have no European football to worry about, and are the Premier League’s top-scoring side, with 48 goals. They might fancy themselves for the FA Cup this season.
2. Brentford v Eastleigh
The gap: 69 league places
A mammoth 69 places separate Brentford (34th) and Eastleigh (103rd), although it is one of the more uninspiring fixtures in the FA Cup’s third round.
Brentford sit mid-table in the Championship, with a mixed bag of nine wins, six draws and 10 defeats, while Eastleigh are 11th in the National League with 10 wins, nine draws and seven defeats.
The Spitfires beat Halifax Town 2-0 in a second-round replay to get here, but there’s really not much more to say than that.
1. Wycombe Wanderers v Stourbridge
The gap: 74 league places
The biggest gap between any side in the FA Cup third round is this one, between League Two side Wycombe Wanderers (73rd), and Northern Premier League Premier Division side, Stourbridge (147th).
That’s Stourbridge, playing in the seventh tier of English football there. To their credit, the Glassboys are undefeated since October, but they come up against a Wycombe side pushing for promotion to League One, who won 5-0 at Chesterfield in the second round of the FA Cup as well.
Will any of these games produce a shock result? All eyes on Stourbridge…