Sandwiched between the two legs of the Capital One Cup semi-final against Liverpool, Chelsea play host to League One side Bradford City in the FA Cup fourth round tie on Saturday.
TEAM NEWS, INJURY UPDATES AND SUSPENSIONS
All Chelsea players are fit and available for the match. However, given the opposition and the fact that the match is at home, Jose Mourinho will be looking to rest some of the bigger names; with an eye on the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final against Liverpool on Tuesday followed by the mouth-watering clash against Manchester City just 4 days later. Big names like Costa, Fabregas and Hazard are expected to be benched. Remy will hope to lead the line while the likes of Ramires, Drogba, Schurrle and Oscar will all expect to feature in the starting line-up. Kurt Zouma is expected to start, meaning a rest for either Cahill or Terry. Cesar Azpilicueta is fit again, and will start either at right back or left back depending on who Mourinho wants to rest among Ivanovic and Luis.
Bradford City striker Billy Clarke will undergo a late fitness test for an injured knee, while Andrew Davies is doubtful after having suffered an injury against Yeovil Town in the weekend. Mathew Dolan will return to the team after recovering from a hamstring injury. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is cup-tied, thus paving the way for Ben Williams to play in between the sticks.
Chelsea looked to be subdued for most of the 90 minutes at Anfield on Tuesday. With only one shot on target from a penalty, Chelsea will hope to be more attacking on Saturday, given the abundance and quality of attacking options they possess. Chelsea have now won 3 matches and drawn one, after the 5-3 beating they took at White Hart Lane. Both Jose Mourinho and his players suggested that they had turned the tide and the slump was over. Mourinho seems to be taking every competition very seriously, and the FA Cup will be no different. With a comfortable lead in the Premier League table, Mourinho will warn his players against any laxness and will keep reminding them that they need to win trophies if they are to be counted among the greats.
With 7 wins from their last 9 matches in League One, Bradford City seem to be in good form, although they lost their last match away to Yeovil Town. Bradford knocked out Millwall in their last FA Cup match, beating 10 man Millwall 4-0 in the replay, after the first match had finished 3-3. Manager Phil Parkinson urged his players to make the most of the opportunity they have been presented with, as they travel to Stamford Bridge. He told the club’s website:
“The lads have fully earned the right to get this far in the competition and to make the most of a game like this, we will enjoy the preparations and the extra attention that comes with it. We now have this fantastic tie to savour against a top team and a top manager. We will be giving it everything we have this week to make sure we play to the very best we can come Saturday”
Chelsea have won the FA Cup seven times, their last victory coming in 2012 under Roberto Di Matteo. Bradford City have made it to the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2000.
LAST 5 MEETINGS
Chelsea 3-0 Bradford City 23/12/2000 (BPL)
Bradford City 2-0 Chelsea 22/08/2000 (BPL)
Bradford City 1-1 Chelsea 08/01/2000 (BPL)
Chelsea 1-0 Bradford City 28/11/1999 (BPL)
Chelsea 3-1 Bradford City 06/05/1989 (Second Division)
PREDICTED STARTING LINE UP
Chelsea: Cech (GK), Azpilicueta, Zouma, Cahill, Luis, Mikel, Ramires, Schurrle, Oscar, Salah, Drogba (C).
Bradford City: Williams (GK), Darby, McArdle, Davies (C), Meredith, Morais, Dolan, Halliday, Knott, Hanson, Stead.
Chelsea 4-0 Bradford City
TIME: 1500 GMT / 2030 IST
VENUE: Stamford Bridge
REFEREE: Andre Marriner
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Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni