Chelsea will play host to League One side Bradford City on Saturday in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Chelsea go into the game having played a draw away to Liverpool earlier this week in the Capital One Cup.
As we build up to this game and hope to come one step closer towards winning the prestigious silverware, let us have a look at our opponents in our Opposition Scouting Report:
THE TEAM AND THE RECENT FORM
Bradford City AFC is based in the city of Bradford, West Yorkshire. Founded in 1903, its first promotion to the English top flight came in 1908 and the club won the FA Cup way back in 1911, its only major trophy to this date. After being relegated again from the top flight in 1922, they spent 77 years out of any First Division action until 1999, when they were again promoted to the Premier League. However, the following season saw them get relegated to the second tier again. Bradford have not had any taste of top division football ever since. In the 2012-13 season, they were promoted to League One with a 3-0 win over Northampton Town in the playoff final.
Bradford have had an impressive recent run of results, with 7 wins in their last 9 games. However, they lost their last game away to Yeovil Town in League One. In their last FA Cup game, the Bantams thrashed Millwall 4-0 in a third round replay after the first match had ended in a 3-3 draw.
FORMATION AND STYLE OF PLAY
A change to the 4-4-2 or diamond formation at the beginning of this season saw the role of the holding midfielder increase significantly in the game. Tackling the ball, winning the possession by the holding midfielder and energetic runs down the flanks by their wide midfielders are a crucial part of their game.
Mentality-wise, they are not much of a pressing side. But in the urge of winning possession back and tackling deep in midfield, their game becomes much more aggressive. Once they have the possession, they look to move the ball into the final third quickly through long balls and crosses.
Hanson and Stead partnership: Jonathan Stead and James Hanson is the pair that will be the focal point of Phil Parkison’s side when it will come to scoring goals. The two may not have a good statistical record individually but together; both have 13 goals and 7 assists for Bradford this season. Hanson is the top goalscorer for the Bantams this season with 7 goals while Stead’s strength lies in creating through balls, which he does efficiently for his strike partner.
Bradford City have not seen any Premier League action since 1999. Playing in the lower divisions, they haven’t really known what a creative and pacy attack is. Their 4-man defence will be put to the test of their lives when they come up against Chelsea. The lack of playing experience against creative sides will surely come to haunt them when they’ll square up against the Premier League leaders.
HEAD TO HEAD
Chelsea and Bradford City have not met since December 2000. Throughout their history, there have 34 matches being played between the two sides. The Blues have won on 17 occasions while the Bantams on 9, 8 games ending in a draw.
Chelsea at home for a 3rd division side will not be an easy task and in fact, an impossible one. Needless to say, we’ll go on to win it and march on to the next round. We predict at least 3 goals from Chelsea! KTBFFH!
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt