Stoke the unlikely beneficiaries of FA Cup third-round draw
The north London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham may have filled most of the headlines following the FA Cup third round draw, but it is Stoke that should be secretly licking their lips at the possibility of lifting the trophy for the first time.
Despite being the second oldest professional football club in the world, Stoke’s best FA Cup performance to date came when losing the 2011 final to Manchester City.
Stoke’s odds are 66/1 to win the FA Cup and the fact that they host Leicester in the third round has to be deemed a positive to their chances.
Leicester have been knocked out of the FA Cup by the eventual winners in two of the last three seasons, while Stoke’s track record in the competition is also not to be sniffed at, as they have lost to the triumphant finalists in two of the last four.
Given that Leicester currently sit third in the Championship, many will view this draw as a potential banana skin for Stoke, but avoiding Premier League opposition in round three has been paramount to a winning cause in the last decade.
Not since Manchester United eliminated Aston Villa in the 2003/04 campaign has an FA Cup winner dumped out top-flight opposition in the third round.
Not only is this bad news for the prospects of Arsenal and Tottenham in the FA Cup betting, who are 8/1 and 16/1 respectively to lift the trophy, but additionally Man Utd after their home draw with Swansea.
Man Utd are third favourites at 15/2 to win the FA Cup and alongside the benefit of a home draw, David Moyes has come out on top in four of his five Premier League showdowns with the Swans, drawing the other.
Stoke have also shown in their latest Premier League victory over Chelsea and draw earlier in the campaign with Manchester City, that they are capable of mixing it with the best in a one-off fixture and this bodes well ahead of a cup competition.
FA Cup third-round draw
Barnsley v Hartlepool or Coventry
Yeovil v Leyton Orient
Liverpool v Oldham or Mansfield
Nottingham Forest v West Ham
Bristol City v Watford
Southend v Millwall
Middlesbrough v Hull
West Brom v Crystal Palace
Kidderminster v Peterborough
Doncaster v Stevenage
Stoke v Leicester
Southampton v Burnley
Newcastle v Cardiff
Rochdale v Leeds
Wigan v MK Dons
Charlton v Wrexham or Oxford United
Manchester United v Swansea
Port Vale v Plymouth
Norwich City v Fulham
Aston Villa v Sheffield United
Macclesfield v Sheffield Wednesday
Sunderland v Carlisle
Bolton v Blackpool
Blackburn v Manchester City
Everton v QPR
Brighton v Reading
Arsenal v Tottenham
Birmingham v Bristol Rovers or Crawley
Grimsby v Huddersfield
Ipswich v Preston
Derby v Chelsea
Bournemouth v Fleetwood or Burton