Potential giant-killings in the 2022/23 FA Cup third round

Finley Crebolder
Could Oxford spring a surprise on Arsenal?
Could Oxford spring a surprise on Arsenal? / Julian Finney/GettyImages

Undoubtedly the best thing about the FA Cup third round year after year is the potential for giant-killings.

Sure, seeing two top Premier League sides go up against one another immediately can be fun, but nowhere near as fun as watching a team from further down the pyramid knock out a giant.

We've seen that happen a number of times over the years, and could well be treated to it again in 2023 going by the match-ups.

Here are five games that could produce an upset.

Gillingham vs Leicester

Given their somewhat disappointing league campaign, Leicester will be going all out to try and give fans something to celebrate in the cup, which would just make a defeat to Gillingham an even bigger shock.

The hosts are not only a League Two side, but currently the worst in the entire EFL, sitting bottom of the basement division with just two wins in 23 matches.

They managed to knock Brentford out of the Carabao Cup at the start of November, winning on penalties, but have only tasted victory twice since, against non-league sides AFC Flyde and Dagenham & Redbridge in the first two rounds of the FA Cup.

Given that, them beating Leicester and making it through here would be quite the upset.

Sheffield Wednesday vs Newcastle

Historically two of England's biggest clubs are in very different states right now, with the hosts heading into the match as big underdogs.

They're currently trying to get back into the Championship after dropping down into the third tier for the first time in a decade and then failing to gain promotion last season.

As for Newcastle, they're on track to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2003 with things going swimmingly since the Saudi Arabia takeover.

Winning the FA Cup would be a real statement of intent on their part, a message to the heavyweights of English football that they're well and truly back, and a third-round loss would be a big surprise.

Aston Villa vs Stevenage

Newcastle aren't the only fallen giant on the up at the moment with Unai Emery turning things around at Aston Villa since taking charge, picking up wins against Tottenham and Manchester United.

The only matches he's lost have been to Manchester United (obviously a different game) and Liverpool, so the hosts will fancy their chances heading into the game with Stevenage.

The visitors haven't been higher than League Two since 2014 and have spent a lot of their time since then towards the bottom of the fourth division.

Things are going better this season with them currently second in the league, but it would nevertheless take a brave man to bet on them getting a result at Villa Park.

Oxford United vs Arsenal

Arsenal are one of the favourites to win the FA Cup this year given how good they've been of late, with Mikel Arteta's side currently sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League.

Their title aspirations many encourage the manager to play a heavily rotated side at Oxford though, and that could give us some real hope of a classic upset.

Oxford are currently mid-table in League One and have been at that level for a long time now, not playing any higher in over 20 years.

This is a real David vs Goliath match-up, but we all know how that panned out...