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Preston vs CHELSEA: Preview

FA Cup fourth round

Venue: Deepdale

Date: Saturday, 23 January

Kick-off: 1245 GMT


While United try and take advantage of being out of this year’s FA Cup by getting enough points to put them top (for now), today will see us take on Preston North End at Deepdale – because we’re still in the competition.

Obviously the pressure’s all on us, not just as the FA Cup holders but also off the back of 12 goals in our last two games, so with Carlo Ancelotti having named the side a lot earlier than usual, let’s hope there’s no surprises.



Ex-Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson might not have started his Preston career the way he’d hoped, with a 4-2 defeat away to Bristol City last week, but he’s still optimistic he can find our Achilles heel, stating “It’s a great one, Chelsea are the form team in the Premiership, one of the best teams in Europe. We are looking forward to it, I thinks it’s a great game for the club and the fans.  They have got weaknesses, every team has got weaknesses, they are not invincible.  How do we prepare for a team like Chelsea? Well we just show their strengths and where their attacks come from and then show the areas to the players where we think we can exploit their weaknesses.  We are going to have to play very, very well to get a result.  It’s The FA Cup, it captures everyone’s imagination. It’s the team at the top of the Premiership, so it’s a game everyone should be looking forward to. We are not there to have a day-out, we have got to give as good a performance as we can.”

Carlo Ancelotti meanwhile, seems as laid back as usual ahead of this tie, stating “I don’t know Darren.  It’s a good reason to meet him tomorrow. I think it’s possible he’ll ask his father about us. Like a father, Alex can give him some advice or opinion about our play. That’s normal. I don’t know Preston very well, but I’m sure they will try to do hard work on the pitch and try to do the best.  Because the FA Cup is the oldest competition in the world, I think that every team, also the small teams, want to do their best in this competition.  The FA Cup is a very important competition here. There were strange results in the last round and we don’t want to have a strange result in this round. It’s an important aim for this season and we have to try to win.”



Preston will be without Paul Parry (knee) and Barry Nicholson (broken leg) although Youl Mawene (knee) could be in contention. Whilst for Chelsea, Jose Bosingwa remains out long-term and for at least six weeks, is now joined by Michael Essien (knee). In the shorter term, Ashley Cole is added to our injury list with an ankle problem, so Yuri Zhirkov comes in for him. Petr Cech gets a rest in favour of Hilario and Juliano Belletti comes into the midfield, with John Obi Mikel away on ACON duty. Sturridge partners Nicolas Anelka in Drogba’s absence.



Hilario, Ferreira, Alex, Terry, Zhirkov, Belletti, Ballack, Lampard, Deco, Anelka, Sturridge.



Chelsea 3-1 Preston (February 2002).



I suppose what with Preston going out against a Premiership side for the last five seasons, you’d have to say we’re pretty much expected to get a win at Deepdale today. We’ve also beaten Preston on two previous meetings in this competition, so we’ll be expecting third time lucky as well. More recent form has seen Preston win just two of the last twelve in all competitions, losing three from their last four games. As for us, our last three have been won with an aggregate of 14-3 and we’re unbeaten in eight. Again, all our pressure today then, and whilst we’ve had our fair share of goals lately, let’s not forget Preston qualified for this stage with a seven goal margin. So, let’s hope our players don’t think this game is a mere training session.



Mike Dean (Wirral)



Blue is the colour is an honest insight to the World of Chelsea FC. Not always pretty, sometimes rather cynical, but always realistic.


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