|Dates: 8-11 January Coverage: Arsenal v Newcastle United live on BBC One on Saturday, 9 January (17:30 GMT) – as well as Crawley Town v Leeds United (13:30) and Marine v Tottenham (17:00) live on BBC One on Sunday, 10 January, plus live streams of games at Chelsea, Man City, Stevenage, QPR and Stoke|
The FA Cup third round, one of the most eagerly awaited weekends of the football calendar, takes place over the next four days – but not as we know it.
It starts on Friday when Aston Villa host Liverpool and Crystal Palace visit Wolves in two all-Premier League ties, both starting at 19:45 GMT.
There are 32 ties across Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday and all will be shown live on either BT Sport, the BBC or the FA Player.
The BBC is screening eight games across the weekend on its platforms, including eighth-tier Marine’s historic home tie with eight-time winners Tottenham on Sunday (17:00) – never in the competition’s history has there been such a gap at this stage.
Mark Chapman presents live coverage of the FA Cup fourth-round draw on Monday on BBC Two (19:00), with the draw for the fifth round also taking place immediately after to aid with fixture scheduling.
Here, BBC Sport explains what is different about this season’s third round, which is taking place against the backdrop of a national Covid-19 lockdown, and what to look out for.
- FA Cup third round fixtures, dates and kick-off times
- All 32 FA Cup ties to be shown live with eight on BBC
Five subs, Covid tests, no replays
There will be no fans present at any of the ties because of a ‘stay at home’ order for millions in the UK.
All clubs are required to be tested for Covid-19 72 hours before their match. Testing for non-Premier League clubs is being funded by the Football Association.
Each team can name nine substitutes and five can be used at three separate times during the tie.
However, if a player suffers a concussion (or potential concussion), clubs shall be permitted to make additional substitutions.
All games will be decided on the day and there will be no replays. If ties are level after 90 minutes there will be an additional 30 minutes. Penalties will take place to decide the outcome if scores are level after 120 minutes.
Each team will receive prize money. Those who advance to the fourth round, to be played 22-25 January, will collect £61,500 while losing sides receive £20,500.
Who are the non-league clubs left?
Four non-league clubs have made it to the third round, with Marine’s reward for advancing from the preliminary round a home tie with Jose Mourinho’s Spurs in Crosby, seven miles north of Liverpool city centre.
It is the Northern Premier League Division One North West club’s eighth game in this season’s competition.
“It’s like a dream,” says life-long Marine fan Barry Lenton. “We were two minutes from going out to Barnoldswick Town in the preliminary round.
“Four months on and we’re getting ready to welcome Tottenham. It’s surreal.”
Chorley, who play in the sixth-tier National League North, host Wayne Rooney’s Derby County at Victory Park on Saturday (12:15).
There are two National League clubs eyeing memorable wins.
Stockport County, fourth in England’s fifth-tier, host three-time winners West Ham United at Edgeley Park on Monday (20:00).
David Moyes’ Hammers sit 10th in the Premier League. It is the first meeting between the two clubs since 1996 when Stockport beat West Ham 2-1 in the League Cup.
Boreham Wood, who are also in the third round for the first time, host Championship side Millwall on Saturday (12:00).
The Wood, 11th in the National League, have won their last five league and cup matches.
Where could the shocks be?
Third-round weekend always throws up a surprise or two. Last season League One Tranmere trailed 3-0 at Premier League Watford before scoring three goals in the last 25 minutes to force a replay, which they won to earn a home tie against Manchester United.
In addition, top-flight sides Brighton, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa all fell at this stage to teams from a lower division.
This season all eyes will be on Crawley Town, sixth in League Two, who host Leeds United on Sunday (13:30), while on the same day Brighton face a tricky tie at Newport County (19:45), who have beaten Leicester, Middlesbrough and Leeds in recent seasons.
League One MK Dons will be dreaming big when they travel to top-tier Burnley on Saturday, while third-tier Blackpool (home to West Brom) and Bristol Rovers (home to Sheffield United) will fancy their chances against struggling Premier League opposition.
And what about Morecambe?
In the past five seasons the Lancashire club have finished 22nd, 18th, 22nd, 18th and 21st in League Two.
This season the Shrimps sit seventh in the table and on Sunday Derek Adams’ team are at eight-time winners Chelsea (13:30).
BBC to show eight live games
Fans in the UK will be able to watch all ties, either on the BBC, BT Sport or through The FA Player.
BBC One is showing three live ties. Holders Arsenal’s all-Premier League game at home to Newcastle is first up on Saturday (17:30), with Crawley v Leeds United (13:30) and Marine v Tottenham (17:00) on Sunday.
Five ties are being streamed on the BBC including Chelsea’s match with Morecambe and Manchester City’s home game with Birmingham City.
BBC Radio 5 Live will provide full commentary from nine third-round ties, including Wolves against Crystal Palace on Friday and Stockport County against West Ham on Monday.
BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra’s commentaries include Rotherham’s visit to Everton on Saturday.
The BBC Sport website will have live text commentaries and goal clips covering all the third round action.
Fixtures to be televised and streamed
Friday, 8 January 2021
Aston Villa v Liverpool (19:45 GMT) – Live on BT Sport
Wolves v Crystal Palace (19:45 GMT) – Live on BT Sport Extra 2
Saturday, 9 January 2021
Boreham Wood v Millwall (12:00 GMT) – Live on BT Sport Extra 3
Everton v Rotherham United (12:00 GMT) – Live on BT Sport Extra 2
Luton Town v Reading (12:00 GMT) – Live on BT Sport Extra 6
Norwich City v Coventry City (12:00 GMT) – Live on BT Sport Extra 5
Nottingham Forest v Cardiff City (12:00 GMT) – Live on BT Sport Extra 4
Chorley v Derby County (12:15 GMT) – Live on BT Sport
Blackburn Rovers v Doncaster Rovers (15:00 GMT) – Live on The FA Player
Blackpool v West Bromwich Albion (15:00 GMT) – Live on BT Sport Extra 3
Bristol Rovers v Sheffield United (15:00 GMT) – Live on BT Sport Extra 4
Burnley v MK Dons (15:00 GMT) – Live on The FA Player
Exeter City v Sheffield Wednesday (15:00 GMT) – Live on BT Sport Extra 5
Oldham Athletic v Bournemouth (being played at Vitality Stadium – 15:00 GMT) – Live on BT Sport Extra 6
Queens Park Rangers v Fulham (15:00 GMT) – BBC Sport website/BBC iPlayer
Stevenage v Swansea City (15:00 GMT) – BBC Sport website/BBC iPlayer
Stoke City v Leicester City (15:00 GMT) – BBC Sport website/BBC iPlayer
Wycombe Wanderers v Preston North End (15:00 GMT) – Live on The FA Player
Arsenal v Newcastle United (17:30 GMT) – Live on BBC One
Brentford v Middlesbrough (18:00 GMT) – Live on The FA Player
Huddersfield v Plymouth Argyle (18:00 GMT) – Live on The FA Player
Manchester United v Watford (20:00 GMT) – Live on BT Sport
Southampton v Shrewsbury Town (20:00 GMT) – OFF
Sunday, 10 January 2021
Barnsley v Tranmere Rovers (13:30 GMT) – Live on The FA Player
Bristol City v Portsmouth (13:30 GMT) – Live on The FA Player
Chelsea v Morecambe (13:30 GMT) – BBC Sport website/BBC iPlayer
Cheltenham v Mansfield Town (13:30 GMT) – Live on The FA Player
Crawley Town v Leeds United (13:30 GMT) – Live on BBC One
Manchester City v Birmingham City (13:30 GMT) – BBC Sport website/BBC iPlayer
Marine v Tottenham Hotspur (17:00 GMT) – Live on BBC One
Newport County v Brighton & Hove Albion (19:45 GMT) – Live on BT Sport
Monday, 11 January 2021
Stockport County v West Ham (20:00 GMT) – Live on BT Sport