FA Cup: Three Third Round shocks we are sniffing

The FA Cup returns in earnest to our screens this weekend and with it being renowned for an upset, so here’s three we’re calling…

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Woking vs Watford: Woking and draw – 7/2

Woking, the lowest placed team left in the competition, take on Premier League Watford in what should be the biggest formality of the weekend. But, this is the FA Cup and even though the magic might not be what it used to be, there have still been some major upsets in past seasons.

Non-league Lincoln made it to the quarter-finals in 2017 and non-league Sutton made the fifth round in the same year, while League Two Coventry City knocked out Premier League Stoke City at this stage of the competition last season.

Having said that, a Woking win might just trump any previous shocks. Woking are second in the National League South, the sixth tier in British football, and 109 places separate them from their opponents.

Watford are vying for the title of best of the rest in the Premier League and could even sneak into the Europa League reckoning in May.

In theory, an FA Cup run would be ideal for a team like Watford; they’re definitely not going to get relegated and won’t threaten the summit of the league, so they will have little to play for at the tail end of the season.

Something tells us, however, that the Hornets won’t have it all their own way on Sunday. Televised games have an uncanny knack of providing some of the biggest upset and this might be one of them.

Non-league Woking may get a payday at a Premier League ground before their FA Cup adventure comes to an end.

Claudio-Ranieri-Fulham

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Fulham vs Oldham: Oldham to win – 9/1

It’s fair to say that Fulham have bigger fish to fry than the FA Cup at the moment. After finally lifting themselves off the bottom of the Premier League, the last thing the Cottagers need is the distraction of a cup run.

With a hugely important clash with Burnley coming up just six days after this FA Cup tie, Claudio Ranieri is bound to rest players and leave the door open for a potentially massive upset.

Oldham are one of the most free-scoring teams in League Two, but are also one of the most inconsistent teams in the Football League. They have lost nearly as many games as they have won this season and despite winning four games out of their last six, they also suffered a humiliating 6-0 defeat at Carlisle in that run.

That inconsistency has kept them out of the play-off places, but a big performance in a Premier League ground might just ignite their play-off push.

Oldham have previous history when it comes to FA Cup shocks, ousting Liverpool in the fourth round in 2013.

Of the starting 11 that day, only Jose Baxter remains at the club following their relegation to League Two but, with football league journeymen Chris O’Grady and Ishmael Miller among their ranks now, who would bet against them causing another upset on Sunday?

Probably most people, to be honest.

Norwich vs Portsmouth: Portsmouth to win – 7/2

After years of uncertainty about the club’s future, Portsmouth are finally heading in the right direction once again. Pompey are top of League One and look a good bet to return to the Championship next season.

On Saturday night they travel to Norwich, who also appear to be on the up this season. However, the Canaries have shown signs of faltering in recent weeks, picking up just two points from a possible nine since Christmas, with those two points coming via late equalisers.

Norwich have punched above their weight to end up in the automatic promotion places and that might just be starting to tell as we move into the second half of the season.

They face a make or break month in January as every team they play is directly involved in the promotion shake-up and it is imperative that they keep everyone fit for such an important run of games.

With one eye on their upcoming league games, it wouldn’t be such a big surprise if Norwich’s level dropped on Saturday and in-form Portsmouth could be poised to capitalise.

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* All odds correct at time of posting.