FA Cup Third Round Replay Preview
Ten Premier League sides will be looking to avoid an early exit in the FA Cup
A thrilling third round of this year's FA Cup will continue with 11 more matches spanning over Tuesday and Wednesday night.
Ten Premier League sides are yet to advance, and must finish their business with reverse ties to move on to the fourth round. On paper the picks of the round will come on Wednesday night as Arsenal and Manchester United host Swansea and West Ham respectively.
Stoke City's unbeaten home record in the league was smashed to bits by a Chelsea side who were very thankful to Potters striker Jonathan Walters, whose two own goals and missed penalty led the Blues to a comfortable 4-0 victory at the Britannia Stadium.
Wipe this horror story from the record and Stoke can be very confident heading into their replay with Crystal Palace, as up until the Chelsea match they had conceded only seven times in Premier League play this season. The winner will welcome Manchester City in the next round.
Jordi Gomez may have saved Wigan Athletic the embarrassment of going out to League One side Bournemouth at the DW Stadium, but lower league teams are notoriously dangerous at home in cup ties. Wigan only need to look back to this season's League Cup where they were knocked out at home to League Two side Bradford City on penalties.
Bournemouth are in scintillating form at the moment, and must turn the calendar back to October 6 to find their last defeat in all competitions. Wigan on the other hand are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference, and will find the cup tie as a welcome distraction from their poor league form. A tricky tie away to Macclesfield awaits the victor.
Sunderland's heroic fight back at Bolton was capitalised with an absolute corker from Craig Gardner, who has a growing reputation for such goals in this competition. A mess of defensive errors on the Sunderland back line saw the Black Cats fall into a 2-0 hole, but an improved second half performance earned a replay at the Stadium of Light.
Both sides exceeded expectations in last year's competition, reaching the quarter finals before Sunderland were ousted by Everton in extra time, and Bolton were steamrolled by Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. Everton will be the visiting team to beat in the following fixture.
West Brom will face QPR for the third time in as many weeks, having only been denied a place in the fourth round by a last gasp Kieron Dyer equaliser at Loftus Road. The Baggies European dreams have taken a hit as the once high-flying club has dropped to seventh in the league table, and will face a QPR side brimming with confidence having held Tottenham to a goalless draw at the weekend. Sheffield Wednesday and MK Dons must also complete a replay before heading to this match's winner.
A sleeper of a first-half turned into a screamer in Swansea, with three goals in the final ten minutes denying Arsenal advancement. A late volley from Kieran Gibbs punished Michel Vorm's goal, only to see an even later Danny Graham effort send the two sides back to the Emirates.
Swansea's cup form earned them a staggering 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge in the League Cup semi final first leg, and currently sit a respectable 9th. Arsenal's home loss to Manchester City extended a poor start to 2013, and the Gunners must now face a Michu-inspired Swansea side who feel they can equal their 2-0 success at Arsenal earlier in the year. If they can, they will head south to Brighton who have recently ousted Newcastle for the second year running.
A touch of brilliance from Manchester United's main man Robin van Persie held West Ham to a draw at Upton Park, and the league leaders will roll into this replay coming off a win in one of their biggest fixtures of the year. The 2-1 win at home to Liverpool was not the most convincing, but United's earlier beating of the Hammers should give them the confidence they need.
When all is said and done, the FA Cup's fourth round will be set in stone. No doubt this round will deliver the goods as it always has done, and one can only hope it carries on through the rest of the competition.
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