As football enthusiasts around the world gear up for the much-anticipated FA Cup third round, the stage is set for a thrilling display of passion, skill, and, most importantly, the potential for giant-killing upsets.
Over the next five days, 32 ties will unfold, with lower league teams harbouring dreams of causing major upsets against their top-tier counterparts.
One standout fixture in the third round sees League Two side Gillingham hosting Premier League strugglers Sheffield United. Another enticing clash pits League One’s Wigan Athletic against Manchester United, a team that boasts an impressive 12-time FA Cup triumph.
Adding to the excitement are the four non-league teams that have defied the odds to reach this stage. National League leaders Chesterfield face a tough challenge against Championship side Watford, while Maidstone United, the lowest-ranked side remaining in the competition from the sixth tier, host Stevenage from three leagues above.
Football fans will have the opportunity to catch the action live on BBC platforms, with four featured matches, including the heavyweight all-Premier League showdown between record 14-time winners Arsenal and eight-time winners Liverpool on Sunday (16:30 GMT kick-off).
Additionally, BBC One will broadcast the clash between Championship club Middlesbrough and Aston Villa on Saturday (17:30).
Saturday features eight-time winners Chelsea facing Preston (17:30), while holders Manchester City welcome Huddersfield to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday (14:00).
As the drama unfolds on the pitch, fans will be treated to the prospect of witnessing underdogs rise to the occasion and established giants battling to avoid early exits.
The magic of the FA Cup lies in its unpredictability, where anything can happen, and dreams can be realized in a single moment of brilliance.
Adding an extra layer of anticipation, the draw for the fourth round is scheduled for next Monday at approximately 19:50, just before Wigan’s clash with Manchester United kicks off at 20:15.
Football enthusiasts can look forward to the prospect of more thrilling encounters as the competition continues to captivate audiences with its rich history and tradition of producing unforgettable moments.
FA Cup TV matches (GMT)
Friday, 5 January
Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley, 20:00 – live on ITV1, ITV X
Saturday, 6 January
Sunderland v Newcastle United, 12:45 – live on ITV1, ITV X
Middlesbrough v Aston Villa, 17:30 – live on BBC One, iPlayer and BBC Sport website & app.
Chelsea v Preston North End, 17:30 – live on iPlayer, Red Button and BBC Sport website & app.
Sunday, 7 January
Shrewsbury Town v Wrexham, 14:00 – live on S4C.
Manchester City v Huddersfield Town, 14:00 – live on iPlayer, Red Button and BBC Sport website & app.
Arsenal v Liverpool, 16:30 – live on BBC One, iPlayer and BBC Sport website & app.
Monday, 8 January
Wigan Athletic v Manchester United, 20:15 – live on ITV1, ITV X