Sunday, November 29, 2009

Watford first up for FA Cup holders Chelsea

LONDON (AFP) - Holders Chelsea set out on the first steps towards a defence of their FA Cup crown with a home tie against Championship side Watford, finalists in 1984, in the third round draw made on Sunday.

West Ham will host London rivals Arsenal, who last lifted the trophy in 2005 and have not picked up any silverware since, in one of three all Premier League fixtures.

The other two top-flight affairs see Aston Villa host Blackburn and Hull travel to Wigan.

Everton, the side Chelsea beat under then interim coach Guus Hiddink in last season's final, welcome League One side Carlisle to Goodison Park.

The Toffees' Merseyside rivals, seven-time winners Liverpool, were drawn against second-tier Reading.

Non-league Kettering could be set for a dream trip to Old Trafford to face 11 time winners Manchester United should they manage to negotiate their second round replay with Leeds.

Either Oxford or Barrow will definitely get the chance to claim a Premier League scalp, with the winner of their replay set for a trip to Sunderland's Stadium of Light, while York, from the semi-professional ranks of the Blue Square Premier league (the fifth division) travel to Stoke.

Another non-league side, Staines Town, who forced a replay with 2004 finalists Millwall at Wheatsheaf Park, have the incentive of a home tie with Derby.

The 2008 winners Portsmouth have been drawn at home against Coventry.

Of the remaining Premier League clubs Manchester City will return to Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium, Tottenham host Peterborough, Bolton are at home to Lincoln, Fulham face Swindon, Wolves will meet either Tranmere or Aldershot and Birmingham are away to Nottingham Forest.

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