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Arsenal host Liverpool; Tyne-Wear derby


The always hotly anticipated draw for the FA Cup third round has been made as Premier League and Championship clubs elbow their way into football’s oldest cup competition.

Eternal northern rivals Sunderland and Newcastle United were drawn against one another in one of the standout fixtures of the third round. The pair convene at the Stadium of Light for the first Tyne-Wear derby since 2016. Newcastle may be in the division above Championship Sunderland but they have not beaten their neighbours since 2011.

Premier League leaders Arsenal host Liverpool in a clash of top-flight giants. The pair boast 22 FA Cup trophies between them. Reigning FA Cup holders Manchester City avoided the drama to earn a home tie against Championship strugglers Huddersfield Town.

Manchester United were beaten by their city rivals in last summer’s showpiece, falling behind to the fastest FA Cup final goal in history. Erik ten Hag’s side will try to hold out for longer than 13 seconds when they travel to Wigan Athletic in the third round.

Unsurprisingly for a competition which dates back to 1871 – decades before crossbars were even introduced to the sport – the FA Cup is a stickler for tradition.

Adhering to past precedent, the third round will take place on the first weekend of the new year, with ties scheduled for the weekend beginning on Saturday, 6 January 2024.

The footballing calendar is packed to bursting point as it is, with the game’s governing bodies intent on cramming even more matches into the schedule. The FA cracked open some space in the calendar by scrapping replays from the fifth round onwards ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.

However, if a third-round tie is level after 90 minutes, it will still go to a replay at the home ground of the away team for the initial tie. If the two sides cannot be separated in the replay, 30 minutes of extra time and, if the deadlock cannot be broken, a penalty shootout will be contested.

There is increasing talk of removing this tradition from the competition as part of reforms before a new cycle of TV scheduling which begins in 2025/26. But nothing has been decided just yet.

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