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Non-League Chesterfield Get Lucrative FA Cup Tie Away at Chelsea

The draw for the third round of the 2021/22 FA Cup was conducted on Monday after the conclusion of the second round proper, with teams from the Premier League and the EFL Championship joining the winners from the second round. Non-league side Chesterfield, who currently leads the National League – the fifth tier of English football, receive a mouthwatering tie away at reigning European champions Chelsea while defending FA Cup winners Leicester City host Watford in one of the round’s only three all-Premier League tie.

The oldest national football competition in the world, the FA Cup was known for its stories of giant killings, Davids vs Goliaths, and fairytale runs done by England’s minnows in a competition traditionally dominated by the behemoths of the Premier League.

Only four non-league sides advanced into the third round – the same amount of teams as last year – however, each and every one of them will be relishing the chance to cause an upset over their oppositions, who came from the top four tiers of English football.

Chesterfield’s reward of overcoming League Two side Salford City 2-0 in the second round was a lucrative, money-spinning trip to Stamford Bridge to take on Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side. On paper, Chelsea are the clear favorites in this tie, taking on non-league opposition for the first time since a 1-0 win away at Scarborough in the 2003/04 FA Cup. However, Chesterfield will be eager to create a fairytale run of their own in this season’s FA Cup by claiming the scalp of the European champions at their very own backyard no less.

Fellow National League sides Yeovil Town and Boreham Wood were also handed ties against opposition from the leagues above them, but unlike Chesterfield the duo were given the home advantage as they will host their respective opponents.

Promotion-chasing Boreham Wood will host League One’s AFC Wimbledon at Meadow Park, while Yeovil, currently mid-table in the National League, will welcome high-flying Championship side AFC Bournemouth.

Kidderminster Harriers, the only remaining side from the sixth tier of English football (National League North) and the lowest-ranked side still left in this season’s FA Cup, will host Championship side Reading in their third-round tie.

The draw for this season’s FA Cup third round generated three all-Premier League ties. Defending cup champions Leicester will once again welcome Claudio Ranieri back at the King Power Stadium as Watford pay them a visit in their third-round match. Ranieri, who won the Premier League with Leicester back in the 2015/16 season, was given a hero’s welcome as Leicester beat Watford 4-2 in the league on November 28th, however, receptions won’t be as warm as the Italian returns to the King Power once again in the cup.

Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa will visit Old Trafford to take on Manchester United, allowing Liverpool legend Gerrard to rekindle an age-long rivalry with his former club’s arch-enemies, while the final all-Premier League tie sees high-flying West Ham United host Leeds United at the London Stadium.

Manchester City, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur were handed relatively easy ties, with City playing away at League Two side Swindon Town, Liverpool hosting League One’s Shrewsbury Town, and Spurs welcoming League One outfit Morecambe to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side famously played out the kids in the Reds’ last match against Shrewsbury, a 1-0 win for Liverpool juniors at Anfield as the senior side was being rested due to fixture congestions.

2013 winners Wigan Athletic will host Championship side Blackburn Rovers, while League Two’s Harrogate Town, who knocked out Ryan Reynolds-owned Wrexham in the first round and 2008 champions Portsmouth in the second round for their first FA Cup third-round appearance in history, will travel to Championship side Luton Town.

Meanwhile, Barnsley, currently mired in a relegation dogfight at the Championship, will host the winners of the only second-round replay tie between League One’s Ipswich Town and League Tow’s Barrow.

Last but not least, Arsenal will face a potential banana skin in the form of Championship outfit Nottingham Forest, with Forest having knocked the Gunners out of the FA Cup at the same stage back in 2018.

The 2021/22 FA Cup third round draw in full, with parenthesis indicating the tiers where the teams belong to (PL = Premier League, CH = Championship, L1 = League One, L2 = League Two, NL = National League, NLN = National League North):

  • Boreham Wood (NL) vs AFC Wimbledon (L1)
  • Yeovil Town (NL) vs AFC Bournemouth (CH)
  • Stoke City (CH) vs Leyton Orient (L2)
  • Swansea City (CH) vs Southampton (PL)
  • Chelsea (PL) vs Chesterfield (NL)
  • Liverpool (PL) vs Shrewsbury Town (L1)
  • Cardiff City (CH) vs Preston North End (CH)
  • Coventry City (CH) vs Derby County (CH)
  • Burnley (PL) vs Huddersfield Town (CH)
  • West Bromwich Albion (CH) vs Brighton & Hove Albion (PL)
  • Kidderminster Harriers (NLN) vs Reading (CH)
  • Leicester City (PL) vs Watford (PL)
  • Mansfield Town (L2) vs Middlesbrough (CH)
  • Hartlepool United (L2) vs Blackpool (CH)
  • Hull City (CH) vs Everton (PL)
  • Bristol City (CH) vs Fulham (CH)
  • Tottenham Hotspur (PL) vs Morecambe (L1)
  • Millwall (CH) vs Crystal Palace (PL)
  • Port Vale (L2) vs Brentford (PL)
  • Swindon Town (L2) vs Manchester City (PL)
  • Wigan Athletic (L1) vs Blackburn Rovers (CH)
  • Luton Town (CH) vs Harrogate Town (L2)
  • Birmingham City (CH) vs Plymouth Argyle (L1)
  • Manchester United (PL) vs Aston Villa (PL)
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers (PL) vs Sheffield United (CH)
  • Newcastle United (PL) vs Cambridge United (L1)
  • Barnsley (CH) vs Ipswich Town (L1) or Barrow (L2)
  • Peterborough United (CH) vs Bristol Rovers (L2)
  • West Ham United (PL) vs Leeds United (PL)
  • Queens Park Rangers (CH) vs Rotherham United (L1)
  • Charlton Athletic (L1) vs Norwich City (PL)
  • Nottingham Forest (CH) vs Arsenal (PL)

The third-round ties will all be played on January 8th, with the replays – should any of these matches end in a draw – to be scheduled later in the future.