After a 3-1 win in the third round against a gutsy Luton side at St James’ Park, today’s trip to Stamford Bridge poses a totally different proposition.
With just one win (in 90 minutes) so far in 2018 and recently being dumped out of the Carabo Cup after a defeat at Arsenal on Wednesday, Chelsea aren’t in the best of form.
They squeezed past Norwich on penalties in the third round and struggled throughout in that one, however you’d imagine they may play a stronger side today and be a little more up for this one after that scare. After all, the FA Cup could be their only shot at silverware this season so they’ll e
For us, a cup run could give us the momentum we may need in the relegation battle, but with a huge game at home to Burnley next week it wouldn’t surprise me if Rafa rotated a little. If you could only win one game, would you prefer to beat Chelsea or Burnley? As much as we’d love a cup run, I’d imagine quite a few see Burnley as the big one to win..
Either way, I hope we have a go and give them much more to think about than we did when capitulating in the 3-1 defeat to them back in December. One thing’s for sure, we’ll have to control Eden Hazard much more than we did last month if we plan to stop them.
POSSIBLE NUFC XI..
Here’s the team I’d like to see Rafa start and why:
(4-2-3-1) – Elliot – Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett – Merino, Diame – Ritchie, Murphy, Atsu – Perez
We’ll have to make the most of our chances on the break and carry more of a threat than we did in the league fixture at Stamford Bridge. With this in mind, I’d be tempted to play the front 4 that started away at Stoke a few weeks ago.
Ritchie was rested at City but his energy may be useful in tracking Alonso and Hazard down Chelsea’s left. The likes of Perez, Murphy and Atsu can cause them problems however, with their performances against City (Murphy), West Ham (Atsu) and Stoke (Perez) proving their worth in away games.
In midfield it’d be good to see Merino return after a spell out the side recently, with Mo Diame also deserving his place in the side having arguably been our best midfielder over the past month. Shelvey’s quality can always come in handy, but his style isn’t really suited to a game where we’ll see little of the ball.
At the back you’d expect the solid trio of Dummett, Lascelles and Clark to continue, but Yedlin must come in for Manquillo at right-back. The Spaniard really struggled at Man City last weekend, so you’d think he wouldn’t be tasked with the job of marking Eden Hazard.
In goal, Rob Elliot may be given a run out after returning to full fitness?