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In for a Hiding? Chelsea FA Cup Replay Preview
After Saturday’s disappointing draw with Derby County, Birmingham City have to raise their game for the visit of a Chelsea side that is in turmoil and maybe ready to show the world that the sacking of Villas-Boas was the right move by Abramovich.
Since the original tie was drawn at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea has not been a happy place. Two away defeats to Napoli and West Bromwich Albion sandwiched a home win over Bolton and evidently Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich’s patience ran out with his young Portuguese manager. Chelsea will have former the WBA management team of Roberto Di Matteo and Eddie Newton in the dugout at St Andrews, and RDM has already said that he’s sure of his team for the tie.
Bosingwa definitely misses out through injury, as do John Terry and Ross Turnbull; Ashley Cole is a doubt after picking up a knock at the weekend. I’ll be interested to see if RDM goes with giving Torres the chance of a couple of easy goals against what could be a makeshift defence or sticks to the more dependable talisman Drogba.
It really is down to the bare bones for this one for Blues; Steven Caldwell, David Murphy, Stephen Carr and Keith Fahey will all definitely miss out with injury. Curtis Davies is rated at 50-50 and no less than five players are ineligible (Erik Huseklepp, Peter Ramage and Andros Townsend are cup-tied, Caleb Folan and Cian Hughton cannot play as they were not eligible for the original fixture). With this the case Blues have had to draft into the squad Enric Valles, Jake Jervis, Callum Reilly and American youth international Will Packwood; Jack Deaman is on standby.
Colin Doyle will more than likely be given the nod between the sticks as he has been in cup competitions this year; full back could be tricky with the possibility of either Spector keeping left back and someone being shuffled into the right back slot, or someone like N’Daw, Gomis or maybe even Valles being asked to play left back. Having gone through the squad, I suspect everyone named in the provisional squad will get a slot either in the team or on the bench and Deaman will come into the 18 should Davies not recover from his illness.
I forecast nothing but a Chelsea win; the only question is how brutal it’s going to be. I have a vivid memory of the 7-0 tanking we took from Liverpool a few years back in this competition and I hope it’s not that bad; similarly, Blues can’t afford too much in the way of injuries (especially defensively). Any other time I’d be right up for this one; at the moment, I’m cursing my addiction to Blues and spending £20 on a night that is probably going to be very miserable.
Tags: Andros Townsend, Caleb Folan, Callum Reilly, Chelsea, Cian Hughton, David Murphy, Enric Valles, Erik Huseklepp, FA Cup, Jack Deaman, Jake Jervis, Keith Fahey, Peter Ramage, Stephen Carr, Steven Caldwell, Will Packwood