And that concludes the etc. The standout tie is probably Leicester City v Watford, who are managed by Claudio Ranieri. There’s still time for them to sack him before January I suppose. West Ham v Leeds is a bit of a cracker, too, as is Steven Gerrard’s emotional return to Old Trafford. And Chelsea v non-league Chesterfield has gone the romance-o-meter zinging.
Here we go… for reasons too boring to explain, I’ll list the ties four at a time.
“Hi Rob,” says Peter Oh. “Very cunning of AFC Bournemouth to call themselves that instead of Bournemouth AFC, ensuring a number one position above Arsenal. Cherries on top!”
Radford again? You betcha. It’s nearly time for our annual festival of misty-eyed nostalgia – the third round of the FA Cup. This season it should be even more evocative than usual: it’s the 50th anniversary of the FA Cup’s most celebrated moment, Ronnie Radford’s astonishing equaliser for non-league Hereford against first division Newcastle.
The FA Cup third round will never be as magical as it once was, football has changed too much, but it’s still medically proven to be good for the soul. And that’s just the draw. The actual football, which is usually pretty good as well, takes place between Friday 7 and Monday 10 January.
There are five non-league teams in tonight’s draw, though only four will play in the third round: Kidderminster, Chesterfield’s toenail munchers, Yeovil and either Boreham Wood or St Albans. They meet at Meadow Park tonight in the last second-round tie.
The third round of the cup is about romance, sure, but it would be nothing without cold, hard, raw, baw data. Below are the relevant numbers for tonight’s draw, which is scheduled to start at 7pm, and you can probably add your own punchline to that last bit.
1. AFC Bournemouth 2. Arsenal 3. Aston Villa 4. Barnsley 5. Birmingham City 6. Blackburn Rovers 7. Blackpool 8. Brentford 9. Brighton & Hove Albion 10. Bristol City 11. Burnley 12. Cardiff City 13. Chelsea 14. Coventry City 15. Crystal Palace 16. Derby County 17. Everton 18. Fulham 19. Huddersfield Town 20. Hull City 21. Leeds United 22. Leicester City 23. Liverpool 24. Luton Town 25. Manchester City 26. Manchester United 27. Middlesbrough 28. Millwall 29. Newcastle United 30. Norwich City 31. Nottingham Forest 32. Peterborough United 33. Preston North End 34. Queens Park Rangers 35. Reading 36. Sheffield United 37. Southampton 38. Stoke City 39. Swansea City 40. Tottenham Hotspur 41. Watford 42. West Bromwich Albion 43. West Ham United 44. Wolverhampton Wanderers 45. Yeovil Town 46. Bristol Rovers 47. Port Vale 48. Morecambe 49. Hartlepool United 50. AFC Wimbledon 51. Colchester United or Wigan Athletic 52. Leyton Orient 53. Cambridge United 54. Mansfield Town 55. Swindon Town 56. Rotherham United 57. Charlton Athletic 58. Boreham Wood or St Albans City 59. Kidderminster Harriers or FC Halifax Town 60. Shrewsbury Town 61. Salford City or Chesterfield 62. Rochdale or Plymouth Argyle 63. Ipswich Town or Barrow 64. Harrogate Town