Five FA Cup Fixtures With The Potential Of An Upset – Opinion

England’s most prestigious cup competition hosts it second round over the weekend, with 20 ties set to be played to find out who will progress into the next round.

The second round sees plenty of non-league sides still in the competition, who will both be relishing the chance to face EFL sides this round but also dreaming of a third round fixture against a Championship or Premier League Outfit.

League positioning as well as form goes out of the window in cup competitions and each club has somewhat of a clean slate going into this weekend. With games being played from Friday through to Monday we are treated to an encapsulating slate of games for the second round.

Some of those games are lucky enough to be shown on TV, with the BBC Showing York City’s Friday night clash with Wigan Athletic as well as Saturday’s early kick-off where Walsall travel to Alfreton Town.

The BBC are not the only national broadcaster showcasing the cup this weekend with ITV also showing three games, those being Eastleigh vs Reading, Wrexham vs Yeovil as well as Monday night’s clash between AFC Wimbledon and Ramsgate. Games on TV are often highlighted as the ones which have the highest chance of upsets, but there are plenty more games which could offer up a shot of an upset.

Underdog victories have become synonymous with the FA Cup and we saw plenty of giant-slayings last year, most notably Grimsby Town getting to the fifth round with victories over Luton and Southampton, as well as Stevenage knocking out Aston Villa in the third round.

But which teams will be able to cause an upset this time around?

Here’s five FA Cup second round fixtures which have the potential for an upset

Sutton United vs Horsham

It is somewhat of a cheap shot to put the lowest ranked side in the EFL as a team which are at risk this weekend, but Sutton do face a tricky Horsham side. The away team will certainly be up for it given that they are only in the competition due to Barnsley fielding an ineligible player in their first round replay which would kick them out of the competition.

This is somewhat of a local derby, with the two sides separated by less than 30 miles, and if Horsham are able to play like they did when they drew 3-3 with Barnsley, they won’t make it easy for Sutton. Matt Gray’s side have however improved in recent weeks and have drawn each of their last four League Two games, nonetheless, it is a tie to keep an eye on.

Chesterfield vs Leyton Orient

The National League leaders dispatched Portsmouth in the first round of the competition and once again come up against League One opposition, this time in the shape of Leyton Orient. A home tie certainly helps the Spireites and they will go into the tie full of confidence having won four of their last five matches.

Leyton Orient on the other hand are winless in their last five and could be there for the taking. After a good start to the season, Orient’s performance has plateaued in recent weeks and if they’re not at their best, then they may struggle.

Eastleigh vs Reading

Another non-league side on the list, this time in the form of Eastleigh, who may fancy themselves as giant-killers this weekend. That being said, they are playing Reading at the worst possible time with the Royals winning their last two League One matches against Wycombe Wanderers and Carlisle United respectively.

However there is still a cloud looming over Reading due to players and staff still not being paid their full wage. If allowing their off the field troubles to creep onto the pitch, then Eastleigh, who sit 11th in the National League, might be able to capitalise.

Bolton Wanderers vs Harrogate Town

The highest ranked side in the competition, Bolton, welcome League Two side Harrogate Town to the Macron Stadium on Saturday. Ian Evatt’s side have been in scintillating form in recent weeks which has allowed them to ascend to the top of the League One table. They do however face Portsmouth the weekend after, and players may have one eye on that fixture, which could allow the door to open to Harrogate if they allow complacency to creep in.

Bolton have not progressed to the third round since they were last in the Championship in the 2018-19 season, Harrogate will be looking to prolong that spell come Saturday,

York City vs Wigan Athletic

Could a Friday night fixture under the lights on live TV prove to be a banana skin for former winners Wigan? York fans will certainly hope so as they look to book their place in the third round. Having played on Tuesday night, the fixture does come quite soon for the Latics and having to travel to York could hamper their chances.

Both sides arrive in similar veins of form and if York want to progress then the occasion cannot get to them. If Wigan are able to defeat their National League opposition with relative ease, could they, like in previous years, go deep into the competition?

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