The FA Cup begins in earnest this weekend. It’s been going since August, but with the Third Round starting on this first weekend of January, the teams that most fans know best enter the tournament. While it’s likely that it’ll be two Premier League teams facing off in the May 23 final at Wembley Stadium, the Third Round is when Cinderella stories emerge as well as when favorites establish themselves.
What is the FA Cup?
Started in 1871—making it the oldest competition of its kind—the FA Cup is England’s annual club soccer tournament. It involves 10 different levels of the English football pyramid. It starts with the ninth and tenth-level teams playing in August (think weekend warriors who operate on a semi-professional level), and picks up in talent levels up until this stage. Here, in the Third Round, all 20 Premier League teams and 24 Championship teams are brought into what becomes a 64-team elimination tournament.
Because assignments happen via random draw, it’s possible that two favorites square off in the upcoming Fourth Round (starting Jan, 25) and Fifth Round (starting March 1) en route to the quarterfinals (starting March 21) and semifinals (played the weekend of April 18-19 at Wembley).
FA Cup live stream: How to watch FA Cup matches
For American viewers, ESPN+ is the home for FA Cup action.
- Cost: $4.99 per month or $49.99 for 12 months (after 7-day free trial)
- Devices: Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku players and TV, Oculus Go, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Samsung smart TVs, and iOS and Android devices
ESPN+ is a subscription service that extends ESPN’s existing website and app, and it’s essential for soccer fans in particular, carrying Serie A+, MLS, USL, and FA Cup matches. It encompasses other sporting events as well, including 20 exclusive UFC Fight Night events per year, 180 NHL games, at least one MLB game a day for every day of the season, and a cornucopia of college sports.
ESPN+ also features the network’s sports talk programming, and it features original series starting with the entire 30 for 30 catalog ESPN made its name on. It also unlocks more content and fewer ads on the ESPN site.
FA Cup odds
According to William Hill’s oddsmakers, Manchester City (which opens its campaign on Saturday hosting League Two side Port Vale) is favored to hoist the trophy in May, getting +300 odds (wager $100 to win $300). Here are the top tier of teams:
- Manchester City: +300
- Liverpool: +600
- Tottenham Hotspur: +700
- Chelsea: +800
- Manchester United: +1100
- Arsenal: +1200
- Leicester City: +1200
- Wolves: +2000
Recent FA Cup winners
- 2019: Manchester City
- 2018: Chelsea
- 2017: Arsenal
- 2016: Manchester United
- 2015: Arsenal
- 2014: Arsenal
- 2013: Wigan
- 2012: Chelsea
- 2011: Manchester City
- 2010: Chelsea
- How to watch the Premier League
- How to watch the 2019-20 La Liga season
- How to watch the Champions League
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