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5 things to know about this weekend's 3rd-round matches in the FA Cup
After years of dominance by the top teams, Wigan provided one of the biggest feel-good stories in recent FA Cup history by stunning Manchester City to win last season's final at Wembley Stadium.
Will there be another surprise winner this year?
Premier League clubs join the FA Cup at the third-round stage this weekend for what is always one of the highlights of the English football calendar.
Here are five things to know about this weekend's matches in football's oldest club knockout competition:
NORTH LONDON DERBY
There's no doubt about the standout match of the third round — the north London derby between fierce rivals Arsenal and Tottenham at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Both teams are in great form, with Arsenal coming through the hectic festive period on top of the Premier League and Spurs winning 10 points from a possible 12 under new manager Tim Sherwood over Christmas and New Year's Day.
"It's the biggest game of the season, isn't it?" Sherwood said. "It's Arsenal. What more can you say? It's the biggest game in one of the best club competitions about."
There are four other all-Premier League matches at this early stage — on Saturday, it's: Newcastle vs. Cardiff; Norwich vs. Fulham; and West Bromwich Albion vs. Crystal Palace. Manchester United hosts Swansea on Sunday.
BATTLE OF THE RODGERS
Liverpool plays fellow northwest team Oldham for the third straight season in the FA Cup — and that means a father and son going up against each other.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will look to get the better of his son, Anton, who plays in midfield for the third-tier visitors.
And the elder Rodgers will be taking nothing for granted this weekend — his team lost 3-2 to Oldham in one of the biggest shocks of last season's competition.
"He gets reminded of it plenty when he comes to the (Oldham) games," Anton said recently. "But it is all in good heart. It happens — that is part of what makes the FA Cup special."
MEMORIES OF MATTHEWS
Sixty years after meeting in arguably the most famous FA Cup final, Bolton and Blackpool renew their rivalry in the competition.
The 1953 final, which Blackpool won 4-3 after being 3-1 down with 22 minutes left, is widely known as the "Matthews Final" because of the brilliant performance of Stanley Matthews, the England great who was 38 at the time.
While Matthews' wizardry on the wing increasingly befuddled Bolton's defence, it was Stan Mortensen's hat trick — still the only one to have been scored in an FA Cup final at Wembley — that saw Blackpool claim the trophy in front of Queen Elizabeth II, a month before her coronation.
The pair of boots worn by Matthews in that final were sold at auction for 38,400 pounds (now $63,500) in 2010.
Three non-league teams have made it through to the third round — Grimsby, Kidderminster and Macclesfield.
They would have been hoping for money-spinning matches against the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal but the trio was given relatively low-key draws.
Kidderminster hosts third-tier Peterborough and Grimsby and Macclesfield were handed home games against League Championship clubs Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday, respectively.
HAVES VS. HAVE NOTS
Blackburn's home match against Manchester City offers a reminder of how the fortunes of clubs can fluctuate when they are taken over by foreign owners.
City has flourished since being bought by Sheikh Mansour of the Abu Dhabi royal family in 2008, with the club winning the FA Cup in 2011, the Premier League in 2012 and now being regarded as a heavyweight in European football. With its star-studded squad, City is second in the Premier League and is many pundits' favourite to win the title.
For Blackburn, on the other hand, it has been a joyless ride since being taken over in 2010 by Venky's, an Indian poultry giant. At the time of the takeover, Rovers were an established Premier League team — within 18 months, they had been relegated and then regularly changed managers as they struggled to avoid dropping out of the second tier.
They are currently in mid-table in the League Championship, with all that talk about signing the likes of David Beckham and Brazil great Ronaldinho now a fading memory.
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