Date: Sunday 24th January 2021
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 12:00 GMT
It’s Luton in the FA Cup for us today and I’m really hoping the football proves a distraction from all the press and social media nonsense.
It’s ridiculous to suggest Frank ‘attacked’ anyone in his press conference, in fact, that’s exactly the sort of attention-seeking headline he has issues with, and I’m completely with him on it – not because he’s Frank Lampard but because its shameful. Whoever the ‘stars’ happen to be in England, whether film, TV, reality, football, etc, there’s a pack of wolves waiting to hound them, whatever the consequences.
As a player, he had press suggesting it was privilege over talent and he got his head down to disprove that rubbish. As a manager, he’s hearing exactly the same, and whilst I have no doubt he’ll get his head down to do the job in exactly the same way, he’ll want to protect his players. It’s toxic when things aren’t going well around Chelsea and new players coming in to experience that within such a short space of time will naturally question whether they’ve made the right move – and that can only make a manager’s job harder.
So, I’m not surprised Frank called it out and I totally agree with him. In fact, the only thing I’d question him on, is his choice of reading material.
Soap box away, on to the game.
Chelsea will be attempting to progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup this lunchtime against Luton at Stamford Bridge. Obviously, we’re not in the best place with just two wins from our last eight in the league but we’re not the only side with issues, it’s that sort of season. This afternoon’s game might prove a welcome relief, not because our opponents will be particularly easy but because we won’t be thinking about points and places down the table dropped.
We’re not strangers to losing to lower league opposition in the fourth round and whilst Luton aren’t exactly prolific in this competition, they’re not in a bad run of form despite losing to Brentford midweek. They defend deep and will set themselves up to frustrate us, still, if we don’t find a way through, the headlines could be spectacular.
Going into today’s game, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, says “Luton are going to be a tough competitor. They are going pretty well in the Championship, they are a good team, and this is the FA Cup and we know what comes with it. I’ll be picking a team to try and win the game and get us through to the next round.”
Luton manager, Nathan Jones, meanwhile says “We’ll mention that this is not a Chelsea side that has absolutely been hammering teams at the top of the league, but we also know how football can turn. We also know that in five weeks this could be the Chelsea team that clicks and is hammering teams, but we don’t want to be the team that they found their form against. It could be one of two things. It could either be the worst fixture they could have, or probably one of the better ones, so what we will do is prepare in a way that makes us the most potent we could be, while paying a fantastic football club and team the ultimate respect. But we won’t plan to give them too much respect. What we’ll do is plan like we do any other game.
We try to win every game we play and we identify strengths and weaknesses. With Chelsea, they have increased strengths and less weaknesses for a Championship side to exploit. For a team like Leicester, for example, they saw a real opportunity, went for it and took it. If we can put in that kind of performance then I will be extremely proud. We have to pay them respect, but realise that it’s a game of football and we have to be the best versions of ourselves. If we do that, then we have a chance, and a good chance.”
For Chelsea, N’Golo Kante (hamstring) remains out injured, but Olivier Giroud (foot) should be available.
For Luton, Martin Cranie and Eunan O’Kane are injured, whilet Tom Lockyer is suspended.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Christensen, Emerson; Kovacic, Gilmour, Havertz; Hudson-Odoi, Werner, Ziyech
LUTON (Possible line-up): Sluga; Pearson, Bradley, Rea; Bree, Tunnicliffe, Moncur, Dewsbury-Hall, Potts; Hylton, Collins
CURRENT FORM (ALL)
- The two sides met in the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 1994, Chelsea won 2-0
- Chelsea are vying to progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup for the 23rd time in their last 26 attempts
- Luton have reached the fifth round once since 1994
- Chelsea have won the FA Cup on eight occasions
- Luton are in the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time in eight years
- Chelsea have only won two of their last eight in the league
Sportsmole: Chelsea 2-0 Luton
Standard: Chelsea 3-0 Luton