Newcastle United were drawn against Cardiff City at home in the third round of the FA Cup Sunday. Cardiff, of course, are enjoying their promotion season in the Premier League, having spent the last several years near the top of the Championship before winning the trophy last season.
Newcastle and Cardiff have already played once this season, with the Magpies prevailing in Wales by a 2-1 score in October. They'll next play in the Premier League in the penultimate game in May. First, though, they'll each be fighting to advance to the fourth round on or around 4 January. Each team lost in the third round last season; Newcastle to Brighton & Hove Albion and Cardiff to Macclesfield Town.
For the Toon, the match will be sandwiched between a trip to West Bromwich Albion and a home tie with Manchester City. Alan Pardew has previously said this season that he'd like to make the domestic cups a priority, but with City looming on the horizon he may be tempted to save some players in reserve.
A home draw is clearly preferable to the alternative, and the opponent might just be an ideal one. They won't have to worry about a "giant-killer" narrative like they would have if they were drawn with, say, Stevenage, and the team chosen happens to be close to the bottom of the table. That hasn't dissuaded teams from going for it in the past, but perhaps Wigan's Pyrrhic victory from last season will be a cautionary tale for clubs fighting off relegation.