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FA Cup 3rd round: Chelsea drawn away against Championship opposition

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Norwich City v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Ensuring that Chelsea’s match calendar does not get any sparser in the new year, here comes the third round of the FA Cup, set to be played the weekend of January 6, just a few days after Chelsea visit the Emirates to play Arsenal and a few days before a potential midweek semi-final first leg tie in the League Cup — Chelsea have to first beat Bournemouth in a couple weeks in the quarterfinal.

Fortunately, Chelsea have been drawn against lower league opposition in Norwich City. Though not the easiest possible draw by any means, the Championship promotion hopefuls will likely rotate their squad as well. Then again, as long as they play Steven “Scottish Messi” Naismith, he of 6 goals against Chelsea in 7 career games (all with Everton), Chelsea might be doomed to an early exit anyway — if Naismith is fit to play, that is, since he’s been out with an injury for most of the season.

Teams against whom Steven “Scottish Messi” Naismith has scored 5 or more goals
source: Transfermarkt

In all seriousness, Chelsea will undoubtedly treat this early round game as a chance to give backups and youngsters a few minutes, as usual. Hopefully it will be picked for TV coverage, so we can actually watch them — though there are some juicier picks to choose from for national coverage, including a Merseyside Derby and a cross-London match-up between Spurs and Wimbledon.

The third round draw in full:

Ipswich Town vs. Sheffield United
Watford vs. Bristol City
Birmingham City vs Burton Albion
Liverpool vs. Everton
Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Crystal Palace
Aston Villa vs. Woking OR Peterborough United
Bournemouth vs. AFC Fylde Or Wigan
Coventry City vs. Stoke City
Newport County vs. Leeds United
Bolton Wanderers vs. Huddersfield Town
Port Vale vs. Bradford City
Nottingham Forest vs. Arsenal
Brentford vs. Notts County
Queens Park Rangers vs. MK Dons
Manchester United vs. Derby County
Forest Green Rovers OR Exeter City vs. West Bromwich Albion
Doncaster Rovers vs. Rochdale
Tottenham Hotspur vs. AFC Wimbledon
Middlesbrough vs. Sunderland
Fleetwood OR Hereford vs. Leicester City
Blackburn Rovers OR Crewe Alexandra vs. Hull City
Cardiff City vs. Mansfield Town
Manchester City vs. Burnley
Shrewsbury Town vs. West Ham United
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Swansea City
Stevenage vs. Reading
Newcastle United vs. Luton Town
Millwall vs. Barnsley
Fulham vs. Southampton
Wycombe Wanderers vs. Preston North End
Norwich City vs. CHELSEA
Gillingham OR Carlisle United vs. Sheffield Wednesday