THE winter World Cup in Qatar is poised to have a negative impact on the 2023 FA Cup with leading Premier League sides expected to rest even more stars than usual when the Third Round takes place in early January.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp are already expected to field youth sides when their clubs meet in the League Cup just two days after the World Cup Final.
And with a full list of hectic festive and New Year fixtures to be played straight after, it will be no surprise if the ‘big clubs’ prioritise their Premier League and European aspirations ahead of the world’s oldest and most fabled domestic cup competition.
Arsenal, Spurs, City, Manchester United and Chelsea all have over ten players out in Qatar, many representing nations anticipated to go deep into the tournament.
And what a shame it will be for the FA Cup if a tantalising Third Round draw ends up being marred by a mass absence of leading players.
The pick of the bunch is undoubtedly Manchester City hosting Chelsea. Manchester United face Everton at Old Trafford and holders Liverpool are at home to Wolves, making up the third of five all Premier League ties.
There are a few nice draws for the EFL clubs too, as third tier Oxford United host Premier League leaders Arsenal, who will be hoping to better last year’s Third Round defeat away to Nottingham Forest.
Other ties which could produce giant killings results include League Two Stevenage away to Unai Emery’s top flight Aston Villa.
Sheffield Wednesday will fancy their chances at a packed Hillsborough when Newcastle United are the visitors.
And can Portsmouth, back down in League One, stage a repeat of their 2010 semi-final win over Tottenham when Antonio Conte attempts to end his club’s long trophy drought with a trip to Fratton Park?
FULL THIRD ROUND DRAW:
- Preston North End vs Huddersfield Town
- Middlesbrough vs Brighton and Hove Albion
- Chesterfield vs West Bromwich Albion
- Manchester City vs Chelsea
- Charlton Athletic or Stockport County vs Walsall
- Boreham Wood vs Accrington Stanley
- Tottenham Hotspur vs Portsmouth
- Derby County vs Barnsley
- Cardiff City vs Leeds United
- Brentford vs West Ham United
- Bournemouth vs Burnley
- Coventry City vs Wrexham
- Norwich City vs Blackburn Rovers
- Aston Villa vs Stevenage
- Luton Town vs Wigan Athletic
- Oxford United vs Arsenal
- Fleetwood Town vs QPR
- Liverpool vs Wolves
- Grimsby Town vs Burton Albion
- Blackpool vs Nottingham Forest
- Dagenham and Redbridge or Gillingham vs Leicester City
- Forest Green Rovers vs Birmingham City
- Bristol City vs Swansea City
- Hartlepool United vs Stoke City
- Hull City vs Fulham
- Crystal Palace vs Southampton
- Millwall vs Sheffield United
- Shrewsbury Town vs Sunderland
- Sheffield Wednesday vs Newcastle United
- Manchester United vs Everton
- Reading vs Watford
- Ipswich Town vs Rotherham