Described as the ‘greatest cup competition in the world’, The FA Cup is back for what is set to be another exciting campaign.

We preview the standout fixtures from this weekend’s third round.

Liverpool to avenge Villa hiding?

Friday night sees Liverpool travel to Villa Park to face Aston Villa, but can they put aside their current woes against the Villains and progress to the next round?

Since Jurgen Klopp took over at Liverpool five seasons ago, Liverpool have struggled to produce an impressive run within this competition. In these five seasons, the Reds have been knocked out in the third round once, three times in the fourth round and last year they were knocked out by Chelsea in the fifth round. Liverpool are currently priced at 1/12 to beat Villa and qualify for the next round. A stat that will fill Liverpool fans with confidence is on each of the last three occasions their team have eliminated Aston Villa from the FA Cup they’ve gone on to reach the final.

Earlier this season, Villa produced possibly the result of the campaign as they crushed Liverpool 7-2 in the Premier League. But in the FA Cup, Aston Villa have not had the best run against Premier League sides. Since beating Liverpool in the 2014-15 campaign, Villa have lost their last three FA Cup games against Premier League sides by an aggregate score of 0-10. An understrength Villa are priced at 18/1 to beat Liverpool on Friday evening.

Arsenal to continue their impressive run?

The ‘Kings of the Cup’ kick off their FA Cup campaign against fellow Premier League counterparts Newcastle United at the Emirates on Saturday, but can they continue their impressive recent turnaround in form?

After an awful run of fixtures, Mikel Arteta’s side are finally starting to show what they can do after three wins in a row in the Premier League. In their last 24 FA Cup campaigns, the Gunners have only been eliminated once in the third round of the competition after losing to Nottingham Forest back in the 2017-18 season. The current holders Arsenal are currently priced as 1/2 favourites to defeat the Magpies, and having won four of their last five against Newcastle in the competition, you would not be surprised to see them progress once again.

Newcastle are on a difficult run of form and it does not get any easier for Steve Bruce’s side, especially when The Magpies have been eliminated from 10 of their last 11 FA Cup ties against fellow Premier League opposition. Newcastle’s last three away games against Arsenal in the FA Cup have all ended in a 3-0 defeat. The Magpies are 5/1 to buck this trend and secure victory on Saturday.

Watford to end their United hoodoo?

After coming off the back of a League Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City in midweek, Manchester United host Watford in the FA Cup on Saturday.

United have been tipped to rival Liverpool for the Premier League title this season after an impressive run, but could they make it a double winning season? United head into this fixture as 3/10 favourites, and having progressed from 33 of their last 35 FA Cup third round ties, it is unsurprising that they are the favourites this time around.

In recent times, Watford have struggled against United, with the Hornets losing their last nine away games against the club and are winless in their last 13 trips to face the Red Devils. The last time Watford defeated United was way back in October 1978 and they are 17/2 to repeat that trick here.

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