LONDON (Reuters) – Holders and Premier League leaders Arsenal will be at home to Championship (second tier) Burnley in the fourth round of the FA Cup after most of the big guns avoided top flight opponents in Monday’s draw.
Arsene Wenger’s side, hoping to become the first club to win the trophy three times in a row since Blackburn Rovers in the 19th century, should have little to worry about even in a competition renowned for upsets.
Crystal Palace’s home tie against Stoke City was the only definite all-Premier League tie, although Liverpool will play West Ham United at Anfield if the Reds beat fourth tier Exeter City in a replay after Friday’s 2-2 draw.
The ties are due to be held between Jan 29 and Feb 1.
Wealthy Manchester City will travel to last season’s runners-up Aston Villa, currently rooted to the bottom of the Premier League, or fourth tier Wycombe Wanderers depending on the outcome of a replay.
Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United will have to travel to Championship side Derby County.
Premier League champions Chelsea, four-times Cup winners since 2007, are also waiting on a replay before knowing whether they face a trip to fourth tier Northampton Town or Championship side Milton Keynes Dons.
The winners of the third round replay between high-flying Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City, who drew 2-2 on Sunday, will travel to League Two (third tier) Colchester United.
Giant killers Oxford United, who beat Premier League Swansea City 3-2 on Sunday, have a less glamorous home tie to fourth tier rivals Newport County or second tier Blackburn Rovers — manager Michael Appleton’s previous employers.
Minor league Eastleigh, the lowest-ranked club remaining in the draw who performed heroics in a 1-1 draw against four times winners Bolton Wanderers, were handed the appetising prospect of a visit from Leeds United if they make it through the replay.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)