This FA Cup preview sees three Premier encounters over the course of the weekend, with the gruelling festive period in evidence once again.

West Ham host Manchester City at the London Stadium, with City the second Manchester club at the stadium in the last five days.

West Ham vs Manchester City – Friday 6th January 2017 – 19:55 - BBC One

man-city-west-hamWest Ham welcome Manchester City to the London Stadium in the third round of the FA Cup, with the big boys now entering proceedings.

Slaven Bilic's side come into this match on the back of a narrow defeat at home against Manchester United 2-0.

The game was marred by the sending off Sofiane Feghouli, with Mike Dean adjudging serious foul play in a challenge with Phil Jones.

It was a poor decision which was more worthy of a yellow, with both players committed to playing the ball.

United capitalised through goals from Juan Mata (63) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (78), with the Hammers finally succumbing.

Hammers Solid

West Ham have had a poor season so far, but there are signs that they have turned the corner, despite this latest defeat.

It consigns Slaven Bilic's side to successive defeats in the Premier League, after going on a run of three successive wins.

West Ham will be looking to seek a reprieve in the FA Cup, they don't come much tougher than Manchester City though.

Hammers Underdogs

The Hammers head into this fixture as the underdogs, despite home advantage and their good recent form.

West Ham will be looking to register their first win in three matches against Manchester City.

Slaven Bilic's men will be looking to draw on the win in 2014, where the Hammers prevailed 2-1 at Upton Park.

West Ham are 18/5 with Andy Carroll at 15/2 to score first.

West Ham

Pep Talk Of The Town

Guardiola's side come into this match on the back of a 2-1 win against Burnley the day after New Years Day.

Another red card was awarded in this game, with Fernandinho sent off for the third time in six matches for a two-footed lunge.

Sergio Aguero and David Silva were on the bench for the first half, but were summoned to help struggling City in the second half.

Gael Clichy (58) was the unlikely scorer for City, with Sergio Aguero (62) helping ten men City to a 2-0 lead.

Ben Mee (70) scored Burnley's only goal to halve the deficit, Pep Guardiola's post match interview soon took centre stage.

Stuttering Start

The Spaniard was visibly annoyed in the post-match interviews, refusing to answer any questions about Fernandinho's sending off.

Manchester City still remain on Liverpool's coat tails, with just two points separating second and third place.

Same Again For Pep

The match against West Ham sees Manchester City emerge as favourites, with the Blues having already beaten the Hammers this season.

Given the slight pressure on Guardiola, it is not a game he will want to lose but it doesn't take much priority in City's congested season.

Pep will be looking for City to continue their overall record against West Ham, with 45 wins, 16 draws and 33 defeats in 94 games.

Man City are 7/10 with Sergio Aguero at 100/30 to open the scoring.

 

The second match sees Manchester United take on Reading at Old Trafford, with former defender Jaap Stam returning for the first time as a manager.

Manchester United vs Reading – Saturday 7th January 2017 – 12:30 - BT Sport 2

manchester-united-reading

Manchester United welcome Reading to the Theatre of Dreams in the third round of the FA Cup, with the big boys now entering proceedings.

They come into this match on the back of a 2-0 win away against West Ham, with United having to dig deep for that result.

The game was marred by the sending off Sofiane Feghouli, with Mike Dean adjudging serious foul play in a challenge with Phil Jones.

It was a poor decision which was more worthy of a yellow, with both players committed to playing the ball.

United capitalised through goals from Juan Mata (63) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (78), with the Hammers finally succumbing.

United Of Old

Recent results will have delighted both United and Mourinho, with United finally showing the cutting edge required to close out matches.

Manchester United come into this match on the back of six successive wins, for the first time since their excellent run at the start of the season.

Ibrahimovic has scored 13 goals in the Premier League already this season, with Mkhitaryan also scoring in his last three successive matches.

Jose Mourinho's side will be looking for another response, albeit in a competition where he can hopefully play some fringe players.

United Favourites

Manchester United come into this tie as heavy favourites, with their pedigree and form this season informing those odds.

They will be looking to capitalise on their dominance, they will also want to beat Championship side Reading.

Jose Mourinho's side will be looking to continue their unbeaten record against the Royals, with 6 wins and 3 draws in 9 meetings.

Manchester United are 2/9 with Zlatan Ibrahimovic at 11/4 to score first.

Manchester United

Stam Returns

Jaap Stam returns to Old Trafford for the first time as a manager, with his Reading side also in great form following a 3-2 win against Bristol City.

Tammy Abraham got the hosts off to a dream start, with a goal either side of half-time (27 and 47) with the second goal from the penalty spot.

Reading struck back in magnificent style, with three goals coming in the last 20 minutes, with the winner coming late into injury time.

Kelly (72) halved the deficit for the visitors, with Yann Kermorgant scoring a double inside seven minutes (86 & 90+3).

It was the perfect result for Reading, heading into this huge game but Reading will also be focused on their Championship commitments.

League Key

Reading come into the match in excellent form, they have won their last three successive matches in the Championship.

Wins against Bristol City, Norwich and Blackburn have seen them storm up the table to third position, with only Newcastle and Brighton ahead of them.

The main headline will be the return to Old Trafford for manager Stam, his departure still leaves a bitter taste in the mouth for both parties.

An Upset?

Reading unsurprisingly come into this match as underdogs, with United a league above Reading and in excellent form.

There is no pressure on Reading to win this match, they can just come and play but it remains to be seen how much of a priority they are giving this match.

Stam will be looking to make history against his former employers, they have never won a fixture against United.

Reading are 12/1 with Yann Kermorgant and Garath McCleary at 12/1 to open the scoring.

 

The third and final match sees Everton take on Leicester at Goodison Park. These two sides will be sick of the sight of each other having competed on Boxing Day.

Everton vs Leicester – Saturday 7th January 2017 – 15:00

leicester-evertonEverton host Leicester at Goodison Park in the third round of the FA Cup, with Leicester looking to avenge the Boxing Day defeat.

Ronald Koeman's side come into this match in mixed form, despite beating Koeman's former side Southampton 3-0.

It was a poor spectacle until Enner Valencia's introduction in the second half, with the former Hammer providing the clinical spark.

Valencia opened the scoring late in the second half for the Toffees (73), with Leighton Baines scoring the second from the spot (81).

Romelu Lukaku (89) completed an emphatic scoreline for the hosts, with Koeman comfortably beating his former employers.

Toffees In Need Of Run

That result is more evidence of the fact that Everton have been inconsistent, although they are unbeaten in their last three matches.

They are now in 7th place in the Premier League, with this recent run of form ending what was a very poor period for the Toffees.

They are still well above Leicester in the table, seven places and nine points above the Foxes and Koeman will be confident of completing another win.

This will be a completely different affair for Everton though, with the FA Cup providing a welcome distraction for the Foxes.

Toffees Favourites

Their good run of form means Everton come into this match as the favourites, with home advantage counting.

This will be a tough fixture for Ronald Koeman's side, with Leicester looking to avenge the 2-0 defeat on Boxing Day.

The Toffees will be looking to continue their overall record against Leicester, having won 35, drawn 30 and lost 32 in 96 meetings.

Everton are 17/20 with Romelu Lukaku at 7/2 to score first.

Everton

Leicester Inconsistent

Claudio Ranieri's side come into this match on the back of a hard-earned point away from home, with a 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough.

It was just their third away point of the season, with the Foxes really struggling away from the King Power Stadum.

Only themselves and Burnley are yet to win an away fixture, with the Foxes amassing 3 points from a possible 30.

Neither side looked like scoring in truth, with both teams cancelling each other out.

Consistency Needed

Given Leicester's away form this season that was a good response, they will be looking to change that in the FA Cup though.

The away draw has seen Leicester overtake Stoke to move into 14th, a fall from grace for the Premier League Champions.

The Foxes have five wins this season, they will be looking to make that a first away win in English competition this season.

Leicester Underdogs

Leicester come into this match as the underdogs, with their poor away record informing those odds.

They will be looking to register their first win in the competition this season, it is a tough fixture for the Foxes.

Ranieri's side will be looking to continue their excellent recent record against Everton, with the Foxes losing just one of their seven meetings.

Leicester are 3/1 with Jamie Vardy at 13/2 to open the scoring.

 

Betting Tips

Tip 1 – Jesus to score first @ 9/2 and West Ham to win 2-1 @ 14/1

Tip 2 – Rashford to score first @ 100/30 and United to win 3-1 @ 9/1

Tip 3 – Lukaku to score first @ 7/2 and Everton to win 2-1 @ 15/2

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