FA Cup third-round predictions: Chris Sutton v singer and Liverpool fan Banners

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We know there will be some upsets in the FA Cup third round, but who will be on the wrong end of them this time?

BBC Sport football expert Chris Sutton has made his predictions for all 32 ties and given his verdict on who will make it into round four.

For this weekend’s matches he is up against singer-songwriter and Liverpool fan Banners.

Liverpool v Arsenal (BBC One at 16:30 GMT on Sunday) is one of the BBC’s four televised games from round three.

How to follow the FA Cup third round on the BBCBanners is back living on his native Merseyside after making the breakthrough in Canada and the US, and has more than six million listeners per month on SpotifyBanners, aka Michael Nelson, released his latest track ‘The Best View in Liverpool’ in December.

He is a lifelong Red and a season-ticket holder at Anfield.

“There was never any chance of me supporting anyone else,” Banners told BBC Sport. “My whole family support Liverpool and, as soon as you get taken to your first match, that’s it – you are in.

“I am amazingly lucky in that I get to go to watch them all the time now.

“The Premier League is the best league in the world, ultimately, and when I’ve watched us against Manchester City in the past few years it is the best game, because those are the best players on the planet, and I can walk up the road to watch them – it is right there.

“It’s not always been like that watching Liverpool in my lifetime. Sometimes I just have to remind myself that I am in Anfield, I am getting to watch Mo Salah, and this won’t last forever.

“As I’ve got a bit older, that’s how I see footy now – you just have to love it during times like these, whatever the result – although of course I always want us to win.”

Banners is definitely enjoying Liverpool’s current view from the top of the Premier League.

“I genuinely think at the start of the season that a lot of Liverpool fans would have taken fourth place, and just been happy to be involved at the top,” he added.

“We have completely changed the midfield and the frontline around from the team that won the title in 2020, and I don’t think anyone expected the new signings to settle quite as well as they have done.

“The funny thing is, there’s an argument that Endo has been our best midfielder recently. Five or six weeks ago I’m not sure we’d have been too bothered about him going to the Asian Cup with Japan, but now we are wondering what we will do without him!”

Chris Sutton and Banners were speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

SUTTON’S PREDICTIONSGap=league places between the two teams

Premier League v League TwoSATURDAYGillingham v Sheff Utd58x-x0-22-1You can listen to live commentary on Gillingham v Sheff Utd (Saturday, 15:00) on BBC Radio 5 Live.

The biggest problem Gillingham have is finding the net – they are the lowest scorers in League Two with only 21 goals in 25 games. Their manager Stephen Clemence is the son of Ray, who won the FA Cup twice, but I think this is the end of his run this year.

People talk about the number of changes that teams will make for these ties, especially the Premier League sides, but Sheffield United have got players who need minutes to get back to full fitness, so they should put out a strong team here.

The Blades are bottom of the Premier League and have not won away all season, so any win on the road is an important one, and will help them gather a bit of momentum. They reached the semi-finals last season, so it would totally demoralise their fanbase if they went to Priestfield and lost there too.

Banners: There seems to be 10 minutes added time at the end of every Premier League game, and every team has had so many injuries. It feels like this season has been the most intense we have seen, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of sides use these ties as a chance to take a breather, including Sheffield United. If I was going to pick a tie for an upset, I’d probably say this one.

Premier League v League OneSUNDAYLuton v Bolton28x-x2-11-1 HNott’m Forest v Blackpool37x-x2-02-0MONDAYWigan v Man Utd53x-x1-20-3H=Home team to win away in the replay.

I’d like everyone to remember how difficult it is to know whether anyone will put out their strongest side in these ties, not just the top-flight clubs.

I am not sure how Luton boss Rob Edwards will approach this game because his side have got a sniff of staying up after picking a couple of wins over Christmas, but Bolton could well rotate their squad too, because they are flying at the top of League One.

Home advantage will help the Hatters, though, and the same goes for Nottingham Forest when they face Blackpool, who are on the fringes of the play-off race. Forest have a big squad, and I suspect new boss Nuno Espirito Santo will use this game as a chance to try some different players.

So, no shocks so far – and I don’t see one when Wigan play Manchester United on Monday, either.

The Latics boss is my old Celtic team-mate Shaun Maloney, who scored a brilliant winner when Wigan beat United in 2012.

So, it’s written in the stars that Wigan win this one as well – but I am going with United on the basis that Erik ten Hag simply cannot lose this game for the sake of his Old Trafford future.

It won’t be a comfortable night for them, though. I can see Wigan taking the lead before United fight back and allow Erik to hang on to his job by his fingernails.

Banners: I actually think Wigan is a good away tie to get if you are in the north-west – it’s only a short trip and you usually get the whole stand behind one of the goals which is great, but this time United have got the East Stand, which runs the whole length of the pitch, so that’s even better for them. United have got a few injuries but when they’ve used young players this season, they’ve done well, and I think they will be up for this one. Ten Hag definitely needs the win, too.

Premier League v ChampionshipFRIDAYFulham v Rotherham31x-x3-02-1SATURDAYSunderland v Newcastle17x-x0-31-0QPR v Bournemouth31x-x1-20-2Stoke v Brighton32x-x1-30-1Chelsea v Preston24x-x1-1 H2-0Middlesbrough v Aston Villa30x-x1-01-1 ASUNDAYMan City v Huddersfield38x-x3-15-0West Ham v Bristol City25x-x1-01-2H=Home team to win away in the replay / A=Away team to win at home in the replay.

You can listen to live commentary on Sunderland v Newcastle (Saturday, 12:45) and Middlesbrough v Aston Villa (Saturday, 17:30) on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Fulham have got some unfinished business in the FA Cup after their meltdown against Manchester United in last season’s quarter-finals and I can see Marco Silva giving it a good go again this year.

The Cottagers were excellent against Arsenal, and there is a really nice balance to their team. I don’t see them having many problems against Rotherham, who are managed by my old Blackburn team-mate Leam Richardson.

Leam used to clean my boots when he was an apprentice at Rovers – and of course I used to tip him handsomely at Christmas. I was known as ‘Generous Chris’ for a reason, you know. I wish him well, but he has got his work cut out to get through here.

Mick Beale has just gone in at Sunderland after Tony Mowbray was harshly sacked as manager and this would be a massive win for him, but Newcastle need this even more. In fact, it feels like this is one they have to win, because their rivalry is that intense.

Newcastle have lost in round three to League One sides in each of the past two seasons, and Eddie Howe loves to make lots of changes for these ties – but he cannot do that this time, in the position they are in, so I think they go full strength, and go through.

But, even if they lose, I am not buying into any suggestion that the Magpies need to change their manager. We know they are on a bad run, but I think they should stick with Eddie Howe and most of their support is still with him.

QPR have got the worst home record in the Championship so the fact they are playing Bournemouth at Loftus Road won’t help them much. It’s not as if Cherries boss Andoni Iraola has got to worry about relegation any more, so why not have a crack at the FA Cup? I hope they do.

New Stoke boss Steven Schumacher has got a bit of a tune out of his side after taking charge before Christmas and is still unbeaten. He will see playing Brighton as the chance to really make his mark but the Seagulls won there on their way to the semis last season, and they will be strong whoever plays this time.

Chelsea are already in the Carabao Cup semi-finals and a good run in the FA Cup will be important to Mauricio Pochettino too, although I think Preston will dig in at Stamford Bridge and take them to a replay.

Aston Villa were on the wrong end of the biggest shock in round three last year when League Two side Stevenage beat them at Villa Park, and although Michael Carrick’s Middlesbrough are inconsistent, I think they can cause the upset this time if Unai Emery makes as many changes as I expect.

There is not even a sniff of a shock at Etihad Stadium, though, where holders Manchester City will beat Huddersfield without breaking sweat.

Bristol City have more of a chance against West Ham because this is exactly the type of tie where David Moyes rests a few players, but the Hammers are at home and should just squeak through.

Banners: Going to Sunderland is probably the last game that Newcastle boss Eddie Howe wanted in round three, because there’s not much for him to win here – they are expected to beat the Black Cats – but it’s a total horror show if they are beaten. It’s on TV too, and everyone else wants to see an upset, so it’s a recipe for trouble for me!

Premier League v Premier LeagueTHURSDAYCrystal Palace v Everton3x-x1-1 AP2-0FRIDAYBrentford v Wolves5x-x0-21-2Tottenham v Burnley14x-x4-33-0SUNDAYArsenal v Liverpool3x-x1-1 A2-3A=Away team to win at home in the replay / P=on penalties

You can listen to live commentary on Crystal Palace v Everton (Thursday, 20:00) and Tottenham v Burnley (Friday, 20:00) on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Everton edged a thriller 3-2 when they went to Selhurst Park in November and I think their tie with Crystal Palace will be just as close. I think Toffees boss Sean Dyche will put out a strong team after three straight defeats and it is a blow for Palace that Michael Olise is out of this game.

Wolves thumped Brentford when they met straight after Christmas, and the Bees have now lost five in a row. Their manager Thomas Frank surely can’t be under pressure after the job he has done there, but I don’t see them getting a result this time either.

Tottenham have still got a long injury list and are also without Son-Heung min who is away at the Asian Cup, but Burnley boss Vincent Kompany might well be focused fully on the Premier League, even though I think they are down anyway. There might be some goals there.

As with every other tie, I really don’t know what sort of team Arsenal or Liverpool will put out – Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp have rotated their squad heavily in the FA Cup in previous seasons – but I have a feeling this one will end in the result neither manager wants, which is a draw.

Banners: From Liverpool and Arsenal’s point of view, the worst outcome is a replay. But what is so nice about this game is that it is just so stressful playing in the Premier League every week and, in comparison, this feels like a bit of a holiday as a supporter to be honest. I’m hoping for a boss game of footy where both teams come away saying our players did great – and Liverpool win!

Championship v non-leagueSATURDAYWatford v Chesterfield63x-x2-13-0SUNDAYWest Brom v Aldershot67x-x2-03-0Chesterfield have already beaten two League One clubs, Portsmouth and Leyton Orient, to get here but going to Vicarage Road is a different proposition. Watford’s season is stuttering a bit but they should still have too much for the National League leaders.

Aldershot sprang the big surprise of round two when they knocked out League Two leaders Stockport but West Brom have only lost once at the Hawthorns since the start of September, and that was against Championship leaders Leicester.

Championship v League TwoSATURDAYAFC Wimbledon v Ipswich54x-x1-01-0Plymouth v Sutton53x-x4-02-1Southampton v Walsall56x-x1-22-0Swansea v Morecambe49x-x2-02-0I smell an upset at Wimbledon because, after a long winning run and an excellent season, Ipswich are going through a bit of a sticky patch at the moment, and their manager Kieran McKenna will chop and change his team.

For obvious reasons, I’d love to back Sutton to upset Plymouth – they don’t feature in Sutton’s Predictions too often – but they are having a bad time of it at the bottom of League Two and have just sacked Matt Gray. Plymouth are also without a manager, following Schumacher’s departure to Stoke, but they have some good players and they are at home.

Southampton are unbeaten in their past 18 Championship games but I am going to gamble on their boss Russell Martin focusing on their promotion bid. Walsall won 6-1 at Grimsby on Monday, so they will be full of confidence.

Swansea are managerless too but got a good win over West Brom last time out. Morecambe are without a win in four and not in the sort of form to go to Wales and get anything.

Banners: Teams have started treating Ipswich like they are second in the Championship, rather than a team that has just been promoted. But for this prediction, one of my best friends is an AFC Wimbledon supporter who helped to form them – they are back at Plough Lane now, which is great to see and this might turn out to be a day to remember for them.

Championship v League OneSATURDAYCoventry v Oxford Utd21x-x0-11-0Blackburn v Cambridge Utd25x-x6-13-0Norwich v Bristol Rovers21x-x1-02-1SUNDAYPeterborough v Leeds23x-x2-31-3Coventry are unbeaten in seven and motoring along nicely in the Championship under my former team-mate Mark Robins, but he made six changes when they lost to Wrexham at this stage last season and they could come a cropper again if he does the same.

Oxford are going well in League One and I’m backing them to give the Sky Blues an education if they rest too many, but I don’t see another university city, Cambridge, graduating to round four when they go to Ewood Park. Blackburn concede too many goals but I love watching them, and they score a few as well.

Another of my former clubs, Norwich, had 25% possession at home to Southampton on New Year’s Day. That’s OK when they are playing a big club in the Premier League but, in the Championship, that just isn’t acceptable. I don’t really know what is going on under David Wagner, but it isn’t going very well.

I am going to refer to the Canaries v Bristol Rovers as the ‘Dave Williams derby’ after the former Norwich player and assistant manager who came to Carrow Road from Rovers in the 1980s and had a major influence on my career when I was a youngster. It’s a nice connection for this tie but Norwich have to win it. They probably will, and by a deflected goal, but it has all been a bit underwhelming by them this season.

Former Norwich boss Daniel Farke is having a great time of it with Leeds, who are flying at the moment. Peterborough have got some exciting young players and they will have a real go at home, but Leeds have the quality to get past them.

You can listen to live commentary on Peterborough v Leeds (Sunday, 14:00) on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Championship v ChampionshipSATURDAYMillwall v Leicester14x-x1-01-2Hull City v Birmingham City13x-x2-00-1Sheff Wed v Cardiff City13x-x1-1 A2-0A=Away team to win at home in the replay

Millwall have won three in a row in the Championship but their focus will just be to try to stop Leicester and nick a winner. I am not sure the Foxes will be too bothered if they do bow out.

Hull play some expansive football under Liam Rosenior and I can see them getting past Birmingham, who ended Wayne Rooney’s short spell in charge this week and are in a bit of a mess.

Another of my former apprentices, Barry Bannan, was with me at Celtic and is still going strong with Sheffield Wednesday at the age of 34. Little Barry is a great player – I taught him everything he knows.

The Owls have found a bit of form of late, but I can see Cardiff getting past them with a replay, which will keep Jason Mohammad happy, I suppose.

League One v non-leagueSATURDAYMaidstone Utd v Stevenage69x-x0-31-0National League South side Maidstone are the lowest-ranked team left in the competition and beat League Two highflyers Barrow to get this far – it was a cracking goal to win it too. Steve Evans is in charge of Stevenage though, and he will be ready for whatever they throw at them.

League One v League TwoSUNDAYShrewsbury v Wrexham14x-x1-22-3I fancy an upset here. Shrewsbury are solid enough at home but Wrexham have got 36-year-old Steven Fletcher, who bagged a hat-trick against Barrow this week and came on the Monday Night Club. I am going for him to get the winner.

League Two v non-leagueSATURDAYNewport County v Eastleigh17x-x2-2 A1-2A=Away team to win at home in the replay.

I am going to end with another shock. Eastleigh upset Reading in round two, and I think they will get the better of Newport via a replay too.

Banners: I am going for Eastleigh to cause the upset here. After Liverpool, this will be the result I will be looking out for. My main concern with the FA Cup, though, is that I can’t remember the last time the team that won it put the lid on their heads when they were celebrating with the trophy. I think it’s important that they bring that back. I have a vision of Curtis Jones doing it for Liverpool at Wembley this season – his hair would really suit it, you see.

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