As the numbered balls were selectively handpicked by Gianfranco Zola (ex-Chelsea) and Li Tie (ex-Sheffield United & Everton) it was clear the highlight of the draw would come at Eastlands with Manchester City facing their bitter rivals Manchester United.
From then on it looked less exciting with not many Premiership clubs being pitted against one another from their own league. With the exception of the mouth watering Manchester Derby only Newcastle and Blackburn were slammed together in the draw.
There was interest in local derbies too being thrown into the draw; non-leaguers Fleetwood Town will host Blackpool for the first time since 1981 when the Seasiders won 4-0 that day. Leicester City travel to the City Ground to face Nottingham Forest, whilst there will be a hard fought match in Birmingham as City take on Wolves.
In the capital Fulham host Charlton Athletic whilst Dagenham & Redbridge host Millwall. Everton possibly have the ‘easiest’ tie as they face Tamworth at Goodison Park.
The best part of the FA Cup in its early rounds is the possibility of ‘giant killing’ where the lesser team gets one over its ‘bigger’ opponents. Salisbury City will be hoping to do just that at Bramall Lane this Saturday but Blades-Mad believe that Barnsley will beat Swansea City who will be eager to concentrate on their Premier League fight.
Fleetwood will be keen to show Blackpool that there is more than one team in their town whist Cardiff City could cause a stir at the Hawthorns. Swindon Town could force a replay against Wigan as could Sheffield Wednesday who face West Ham United on Sunday.
League Two high flyers Crawley Town host Bristol City and Town could rustle up the Robins feathers whilst Nott’s County could find a positive result at Doncaster Rovers, though despite Rovers bad run of form a home win would still be expected.
Friday, 6 January 2012
Liverpool vs. Oldham Athletic
Saturday, 7 January 2012
Barnsley vs. Swansea City
Birmingham City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Wrexham
Bristol Rovers vs. Aston Villa
Coventry City vs. Southampton
Crawley Town vs. Bristol City
Dagenham & Redbridge vs. Millwall
Derby County vs. Crystal Palace
Doncaster Rovers vs. Nott’s County
Everton vs. Tamworth
Fleetwood Town vs. Blackpool
Fulham vs. Charlton Athletic
Gillingham vs. Stoke City
Hull City vs. Ipswich Town
Macclesfield Town vs. Bolton Wanderers
Middlesbrough vs. Shrewsbury Town
Milton Keynes Dons vs. Queens Park Rangers
Newcastle United v Blackburn Rovers
Norwich City vs. Burnley
Nottingham Forest vs. Leicester City
Reading vs. Stevenage
Sheffield United vs. Salisbury City
Swindon Town vs. Wigan Athletic
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Cheltenham Town
Watford vs. Bradford City
West Bromwich Albion vs. Cardiff City
Sunday, 8 January 2012
Chelsea vs. Portsmouth
Manchester City vs. Manchester United
Peterborough United vs. Sunderland
Sheffield Wednesday vs. West Ham United
Monday, 9 January 2012
Arsenal vs. Leeds United