Date: Saturday 8th January 2022
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
After an easy Carabao Cup first-leg win over Sp*rs midweek, today’s late game sees us host non-league side Chesterfield in the FA Cup.
Chesterfield currently sit top of the National League and are unbeaten in 14 games. They come into today’s game with three wins on the bounce behind them and no goals conceded in those wins.
Chelsea, meanwhile, are unbeaten in nine games across all competitions before today and finally managed a win at home on Wednesday after a frustrating run of draws, and whilst Chelsea have lost out in the last 2 finals of the competition, to Arsenal and Leicester, Chesterfield have not made it past round three in the FA Cup since 2015.
This might not be the 6 or 7 goal walkover some might be expecting though. Given injuries and another bout of covid doing the rounds, I’d expect us to be fielding a very different side to get the balance between resting players and opportunities for youth and squad players. Whoever we field, Chesterfield are unlikely to come into this with any fear. Rowe seems to be coming at this game with exactly the right attitude for a big FA Cup fixture but that doesn’t mean his players won’t take an opportunity if we present it to them.
Going into today’s game, Thomas Tuchel, says“The last two games, we have shown a good spirit and good quality. It was very important not to lose faith and trust because we are still struggling from Covid and injuries. So we need these kinds of experiences to not lose our belief in what we do. So that was nice to see. Tomorrow [Saturday] is the moment to prove it again.
We can lose any game in football. That’s why the game is so popular. You will never hear me say we can’t lose before a game. This would be hugely arrogant. This is not the attitude with which we want to approach the game. Of course, we are favourites. The opposite to Germany where we would switch the home advantage to the lower team. We have the advantage of no travel and playing in front of our spectators in our home stadium. Yes, we are the huge favourites. We want to win and we demand it from ourselves. Still, we respect the game and the opponent. You can demand it from yourself but if you think it through, you need a performance to deliver. We need to be ready, have a strong squad, a squad that’s ready to enjoy these minutes because if you want to reach the next round. You need to win and this is as boring as it is but it is like this.”
Chesterfield manager, James Rowe, meanwhile, says “It is about enjoying the occasion. The result is the result. It is about enjoying the day, realising how far we have come as a collective club in the last year, it is incredible. I can’t wait to see the supporters who have been lucky enough to get tickets down there at Stamford Bridge singing their hearts out.
I have got a big smile on my face now because it is a bonus game for everybody. It’s a proud day for everyone at the club, I’m really excited personally as it’s a big day for me, I hope I get the chance to sit and have a conversation with Thomas [Tuchel] afterwards and learn some stuff.”
For Chelsea, Andreas Christensen (back), Thiago Silva (COVID-19), Trevoh Chalobah (hamstring), Ben Chilwell (knee), Reece James (hamstring) and N’Golo Kante (COVID-19) are all out, whilst Edouard Mendy is away with Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations.
For Chesterfield, Jack Clarke (hamstring) is injured, Jeff King (knee) is unlikely to return and there are concerns over Luke Croll, Laurence Maguire and Gavin Gunning.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Kepa; Mbuyamba, Sarr, McClelland; Simons, Hall, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi; Vale; Barkley, Werner
CHESTERFIELD (Possible line-up): Loach; Williams, Gunning, Whittle; King, Oyeleke, Mandeville, Weston, Miller; Tshimanga, Kahn
CURRENT FORM (ALL)
Chelsea 3-0 Chesterfield (15th February 1950)
- The two sides have not met in the FA Cup since the 1949/50 season
- Chelsea won the last meeting 3-0 in a fifth-round replay after a 1-1 draw.
- Chesterfield’s only win against Chelsea came in October 1905.
- Chelsea have been finalists in the FA Cup in four of the last five seasons.
- lost just one of their previous 34 FA Cup matches against teams from outside the Premier League (W28 D5), a 4-2 home defeat to League One side Bradford City in January 2015.
- Chesterfield have not faced a Premier League side in the FA Cup since the 1996/97 (Middlesbrough).
BBC Sport: Chelsea 3-0 Chesterfield
Sportsmole: Chelsea 5-0 Chesterfield