There’s some interesting clashes in the third round of the FA Cup, with a North-East Derby between Middlesbrough and Sunderland, and a War of the Roses clash between Bolton and Huddersfield. Meanwhile, Bristol City try and do the cup double over Watford having knocked them out of the Carabao Cup earlier in the season. We’ve tips for all 3 matches.
Middlesbrough vs Sunderland (Saturday 1.00)
The third-round of the FA Cup hasn’t produced many mouth-watering clashes, but a North-East Derby between Middlesbrough and Sunderland throws together two rivals for whom bragging rights will be nearly as important as progressing to the fourth round. It’s a clash that Middlesbrough will be relishing too, as they’ve now won their last four games against Sunderland. They won 1-0 at home earlier this season, and won both home and away in the Premier League last season before both teams were relegated. However, Sunderland will take some motivation from the fact they progressed from their clash in the 2011/12 FA Cup, when they eventually won in extra-time in the replay after two 1-1 draws. Middlesbrough are having by far the better season though, with 41 points from 26 games leaving them on the brink of the play-off positions, whilst Sunderland’s meagre 22 points sees them in last place and in danger of a second consecutive relegation.
Bolton vs Huddersfield (Saturday 3.00)
A rivalry that has always simmered beneath the surface ever since the War of the Roses is Lancashire vs Yorkshire, and supporters will get behind both Bolton vs Huddersfield this weekend. The pair first played each other in 1920, and it’s Bolton who hold the overall superiority with 31 wins compared to Huddersfield’s 28. However, it’s Huddersfield who have had the upper-hand recently, by winning the last three games the teams played in the Championship. Since then, Huddersfield have made a more than satisfactory transition to the Premier League, currently sitting in eleventh place. They may not be the most consistent, but have beat Brighton, Watford, West Brom, Newcastle, Crystal Palace and even Manchester United this season. Meanwhile, Bolton sit just 1 point above the Relegation Zone in the Championship, though have at least won their last two home games. However, at odds-against, Huddersfield are fancied to extend their winning sequence to four against Bolton.
Watford vs Bristol City (Saturday 3.00)
This is the third time the pair have drawn each other in cup competitions in 4 seasons, with Watford winning a replay to progress in the 2014 FA Cup. However, they lost 3-2 at home to Bristol City in the Carabao Cup earlier this season. Indeed, Bristol City have been true giant-killers this season, having also beaten Crystal Palace and Manchester United on their way to setting up a Carabao Cup Semi-Final against Manchester City on Tuesday. However, as good as that run may be, it may be that their impending semi-final is too big a distraction and, as they’ve lost their last two league games, Watford are fancied to take revenge for that Carabao Cup defeat.
Watford @ 1/2 Bet365 or Matchbook