Upsets, tiny stadiums and 500-mile trips: What to watch in the FA Cup on ESPN+

The FA Cup's third round kicks off on Friday and all 32 ties will be shown on ESPN+ in the United States, with the Premier League's biggest clubs -- as well as many smaller ones from lower tiers, too (Woking, anyone?) -- in action. But which ties can you not afford to miss? Here's a primer to get your viewing plans started.

What is the tie of the round?

The best game of this FA Cup round will be over before the weekend has started. Friday's fixture between Tranmere and Tottenham (Friday, 2.45 p.m. ET) is full of intrigue; Tranmere were once a big name and made the quarterfinals in 2000, 2001 and 2004 but now reside in League Two and face one of the Premier League's elite teams. The game has the potential for a surprise as Spurs will likely rest their big names, but they should have learned from near defeats to Newport and Rochdale in last season's competition.

Which game is likeliest to see an upset?

Teams struggling at the wrong end of the Premier League are always in danger of an upset, so Bristol City might fancy their chances against Huddersfield (Saturday, 12.30 p.m. ET), and Oldham could pull off something unlikely at Fulham (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET).

But if Nottingham Forest could pull off a win against Chelsea (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET), it would be massive. Forest beat holders Arsenal at this stage last year and current holders Chelsea have injury problems that mean they will play a weakened side, though one still packed with internationals.

What about a David vs. Goliath clash?

The largest gap between opponents this weekend comes in the Watford vs. Woking tie (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET): 110 places separate the hosts, who sit second in the National League South, from their visitors, ninth in the Premier League. Should Woking, the lowest-ranked team left in the competition, pull off an unlikely result, it will equal their best-ever performance in the FA Cup, when they reached the fourth round in 1991, before being narrowly beaten by Everton.

Any games that lack "the romance of the cup"?

It's the FA Cup third round, so you want teams who wouldn't normally be playing each other, otherwise it's just like any other weekend. There are only two all-Premier League ties -- Brighton vs. Bournemouth (Saturday, 7.30 a.m. ET) and Wolves vs. Liverpool (Monday, 2.45 p.m. ET) -- but the least interesting looks like Millwall vs. Hull (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET). No. 19 in the Championship vs. 13th? We're OK, thanks.

Who has the smallest stadium?

The advanced ambition of even the smallest teams means that rickety old grounds of years past are few and far between. The smallest venue for 2019's third round will be the ‎5,450-seat home of Accrington Stanley, who will take on Ipswich (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET) at the Wham Stadium. It was formerly known as the Crown Ground but was renamed, not as a tribute to the iconic musical duo of the 1980s, but as part of a sponsorship deal with a home plastics and storage box company.

Any long trips for away supporters?

Any Ipswich fans making the trip to Accrington deserve a round of applause. Their team is bottom of the Championship, having won just two games all season, so nobody would judge them negatively if they didn't bother with the 500-mile round-trip that will either involve a 10-hour drive, or necessitate taking a train ride that begins at 7.09 a.m. and requires four connections. They will not get home until nearly 1 a.m. and yet, at the time of writing, more than 1,000 away tickets had been sold to hardy followers of the Tractor Boys.

Which part-timer has the most interesting day job?

Players of semi-professional clubs need another job to pay the bills and, ahead of a big FA Cup clash, often get thrown into the limelight due to the fact they are a butcher, accountant, policeman or similar. For example, When Christian Jolley is not playing in midfield for Woking, he is a care worker, who helps adults with learning difficulties.

Who are the no hopers?

The FA Cup is where dreams are made -- unless you're one of these teams. Ipswich haven't won an FA Cup tie in nine years, while QPR have managed only two in 18, and most recently went through without a replay in 1997. They take on Leeds (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET). Grimsby, meanwhile, visit Crystal Palace (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET) having not progressed beyond the third round since 2000. All we're saying is, don't get your hopes up.

What else should we watch for?

Blackburn might fancy their chances of an upset against Newcastle (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET) and could eliminate the only manager in the competition to have previously won it: Rafa Benitez is the sole cup winner left (after Jose Mourinho was sacked by Manchester United), having lifted the trophy with Liverpool in 2006.

The highest-scoring team in the history of the FA Cup is -- you guessed it -- Kettering Town. But sadly they were knocked out in the fourth qualifying round by Aldershot, so second-place Tottenham have a chance to close the gap,

There are two clubs playing this weekend that have never progressed beyond the third round. If you view AFC Wimbledon as a "new" team, rather than one haunted by the ghosts of a previous incarnation that won the cup in 1988, then this is their first time at this stage. By coincidence, they'll play the other team to have made it no further: Fleetwood Town, managed by a certain Joey Barton (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET).