Arsenal aim for consecutive FA Cup hat-trick

Arsene Wenger’s men will start their defence against the side they beat 3-1 in the league on Saturday.

Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny helped their team to beat Everton 2-1 in the English Premier League on 24 October 2015. Picture: Arsenal official Facebook page.

LONDON - Arsenal will begin their quest to become the first team in modern times to win the FA Cup three years running with a home tie against fellow Premier League side Sunderland in January.

Monday's draw in Cardiff for the third round of the most historic domestic knockout competition in world football produced an unusually high total of five all-top flight ties.

Arsene Wenger's holders will start their defence against the side they beat 3-1 in the league on Saturday as they seek to become only the third team in the history of the venerable competition to win the trophy for three years in succession.

The last team to achieve the feat were Blackburn Rovers, who won the Cup in 1884, 1885 and 1886 in Britain's Victorian era, eight years after Wanderers had performed a similar treble.

The third round draw, which traditionally sees the introduction of the glamour clubs into the event, also paired two current Premier League high flyers, fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur against current leaders Leicester City.

The other top-tier ties are Watford versus Newcastle United, Southampton against Crystal Palace and Norwich at home to Manchester City.

Juergen Klopp's Liverpool, smarting from a 2-0 league defeat at Newcastle on Sunday, will visit fourth-tier Exeter City.

The draw, as usual, offered the whiff of romance with four non-league sides still in the competition given the chance to tackle the big boys.

Of those, only National League team Eastleigh are definitely through to the third round and they have been rewarded with a home tie against Bolton Wanderers, currently struggling at the foot of the second-tier Championship.

Seventh-tier club Salford City, the non-league side co-owned by five ex-Manchester United internationals, have captured the all headlines in the competition so far and have the prospect of a home tie if they win their second-round replay at Hartlepool.

The Northern Premier League Premier Division side, in whom brothers Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt hold a 50 percent stake, will play Derby County, currently third in the Championship, if they get through.

Semi-professional Whitehawk, a National League South side, have the incentive of a lucrative trip to Goodison Park to take on Premier League Everton but have to beat Dagenham & Redbridge, of League Two, in their second round replay.

THE FA CUP FIXTURE IN FULL

Hull City v Brighton & Hove Albion

Middlesbrough v Burnley

Norwich City v Manchester City

Cardiff City v Grimsby/Shrewsbury

Huddersfield Town v Reading

Doncaster Rovers v Stoke City

Leeds United v Rotherham

Carlisle United v Yeovil Town

Chelsea v Leyton Orient/Scunthorpe United

Eastleigh v Bolton Wanderers

Nottingham Forest v Queens Park Rangers

Everton v Dagenham & Redbridge/Whitehawk

Southampton v Crystal Palace

Bury v Bradford City

Manchester United v Sheffield United

Oxford United v Swansea City

Brentford v Chesterfield/Walsall

Wycombe Wanderers v Aston Villa

Sheffield Wednesday v Fulham

Ipswich Town v Portsmouth

Birmingham City v Bournemouth

Newport County v Blackburn Rovers

Peterborough v Preston North End

Northampton Town v MK Dons

Tottenham Hostpur v Leicester City

Colchester United v Charlton Athletic

Salford/Hartlepool United v Derby County

Exeter City v Liverpool

West Ham United v Wolverhampton Wanderers

West Bromwich Albion v Bristol City

Watford v Newcastle United