After an indifferent performance against Liverpool in the first leg semi-final of the Capital One Cup, it’s time for some FA Cup action when Chelsea takes on League One side Bradford City in the fourth round of the competition.
Sitting fourth in the League One table, Phil Parkinson’s side is obviously miles below the standard and quality of this Chelsea side, but that doesn’t mean the Bantams don’t have a chance of causing an upset at Stamford Bridge; however unlikely it may be!
The Bantam’s manager is definitely aware of this situation before going into the battle with us and Parkinson looks quite upbeat and excited for his trip to the Bridge. Here’s what he has to say:
“We have the prospect of a terrific match against Chelsea and we will be ready for this exciting week for everyone connected with the club.
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.”
As for Mourinho, well, the Portuguese would look to rest his key players ahead of this clash with probably an eye on the Manchester City fixture at the end of this month. This will allow the fringe players to prove themselves and show what they are capable of against the Bantams which brings us to the key player battles.
Most of our fans are unaware of the League One side and to help them; here’s our key player battles that will most likely influence the outcome of this game:
JAMES HANSON vs KURT ZOUMA
The 6 ft 4 inch English Striker has been leading the goal tally for Bradford City with 7 goals and 3 assists in all competitions, so far this season. The 27-year-old No.9 is one of the most important player of Parkinson’s side and his presence in our penalty box can sure cause some problems for Zouma and co. when we line-up against them tomorrow.
Kurt Zouma, in his limited appearances for Chelsea, has looked the real deal for the Blues. The Frenchman has had a few start so far in this season and the monstrous defender hasn’t put a foot wrong so far under Mourinho. Coming up against Hanson and Co. tomorrow shouldn’t be the most difficult of jobs, Zouma has ever faced in his career, but a good performance against the minnows at the Bridge will surely be a confidence booster and could further help him cement his spot in the starting line-up, once the Captain retires (which I hope never happens!).
Coming up against a lanky forward also means Zouma has to be commanding in the air as the visitors will probably look to put in some crosses for the Englishman to latch on to. Please do look out for this battle as it promises to be an exciting one.
STEPHEN DARBY vs ANDRE SCHURRLE
A lot has been written and talked about the German in the past few days. A World Cup Champion in the summer, the winger has struggled to crack into our starting line-up and inevitably transfer rumors were going to light up in January. An indifferent form due to unfortunate injuries and mysterious illness hasn’t helped his case either and even though most of the transfer rumors surrounding him appears to be BS, the German needs to get back to his usual self as soon as possible before one of the rumor does turn out to be true!
Coming up against the minnows tomorrow might not be the most glamorous of jobs for the German, but it’s important for Schurrle to do well against Stephen Darby when he comes up against him tomorrow. The fullback has been a regular starter for the Bantams and has performed quite well so far this season. Though, it isn’t often that the Englishman had to come face to face against a player of the quality of Andre Schurrle! With Hazard probably rested, it would be interesting to see how Darby controls the pacy and direct runs of Andre Schurrle at the wings.
As a Blue fans though, we hope the German is at his best at the Bridge tomorrow which could make this a one-way traffic on the left wing. If not, we still have quite a fun battle on our hands come tomorrow!
RORY McARDLE vs LOIC REMY
Loic Remy has been another impressive player for the Blues who has been terrific whenever he has had the opportunity to start for us this season. Buried in the pecking order behind Diego Costa and sometimes Didier Drogba, the Frenchman probably deserves more chance in our starting line-up and what better way to provide him that, than in our match against Bradford City! Didier Drogba looks set to start in the No.9 spot, which means, the winger/forward will most probably start on the Right Wing tomorrow.
Rory McArdle has arguably been the most consistent player for Parkinson’s side this season which reflects on his No. of appearances for the Bantams. The defender/fullback has started 32 games for the visitors but coming up against the raw pace of Loic Remy is going to be one stern test for the Englishman, making this battle fun and exciting to watch out for!
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt