Chelsea host Sheffield Wednesday in the 4th round of the FA Cup looking to move a step closer to defending the trophy that they won against Mourinho’s Manchester United in May of last season.
The Blues come into this game on the back of their vital penalty shootout win midweek in the Carabao Cup Semi-Final against Tottenham at the Bridge.
Meanwhile, their opponents Sheffield Wednesday make the trip to Stamford Bridge sitting in 16th place in the Championship table, but the Owls have prevailed in their last two fixtures in all competitions.
So the Sheffield side will be coming into this game in good confidence that they can perhaps cause an upset at the bridge, by either beating the West-London Club, or taking the tie to a replay at Hillsborough.
Recent form in all competitions
Sheffield Wednesday- DDDLWW
Is this game televised in the UK?
Yes. The coverage of the match starts at 5:45pm on BBC One, with kick off being at 6:00pm.
Chelsea assistant coach- Gianfranco Zola has suggested that Higuain will make his debut at the weekend, and the loanee could potentially replace Olivier Giroud in attack.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has returned to training after a back problem, but the England international is only likely to be named among the substitutes.
Sarri will make several alterations with Willy Caballero, Andreas Christensen, Ethan Ampadu, Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi all in contention to feature in the first eleven.
Wednesday will be without defender Michael Hector – who is unable to feature against his parent club – while Joshua Onomah remains absent and will return to training next week.
The rest of the starting lineup could remain the same, with Steven Fletcher staying in the team ahead of Atdhe Nuhiu. However the Kosavan International scored the vital goal to send Wednesday through the the 4th round after their 0-1 win in their 3rd round replay away to Chelsea. So he still start this game.
Predicted starting Line-Ups
Chelsea predicted starting eleven- Caballero, Zappacosta, Rudiger, Christensen, Alonso, Kante, Ampadu, Kovacic, Willian, Higuain, Hudson-Odoi.
Sheffield Wednesday predicted starting eleven- Westwood, Palmer, Lees, Thorniley, Fox, Hutchinson, Reach, Matias, Bannan, Boyd, Fletcher.
Chelsea assistant manager: Gianfranco Zola (Quotes Credit- @NizaarKinsella on Twitter)
Zola on work rate sparked by Sarri criticism last night: “I don’t know, it might be, the players wanted to go to the final. They showed a lot of personality and a good attitude.” Adds he doesn’t know where the mentality change came from.
Zola on Sarri criticism of his players: “I appreciate that the players took it intelligently and reacted in the right way.”
Zola on Higuain making his debut on Sunday: “It is an opportunity. There are players who need to be rested but to be honest we haven’t discussed it.”
Zola on Morata: “There is an interest and I believe they are working on it. I don’t know [if he is in Madrid or here].” Adds Moses is speaking to Fenerbahce, says it is a pity he couldn’t break in under Sarri as he’s a top professional.
Zola on ‘Cesc Fabregas replacement’: “I don’t know it is something we are talking about with the club. It is certainly an area where we could do, there could be a problem if we have an injury. There’s a good understanding between Maurizio and Marina.”
Zola on Hazard: “I think I have an idea of Eden. What he showed me yesterday, the reaction yesterday is of a great player and I hope to see it until the rest of the season. It is important to react that way. I was really impressed and pleased”
Sheffield Wednesday temporary manager: Steve Agnew (Quotes Credit- @swfc official Twitter)
SA: Everyone is looking fit and ready, Fernando has had a good week and will travel with the squad. Josh Onomah will return next week, Matt Penney has had a shoulder operation and will be out until mid April.
SA: Obviously Chelsea have gone on to be unbelievably successful over the years, it’s a fantastic fixture to be involved in and we’re all looking forward to the tie.
SA: We have 6,000 supporters going to the game also looking forward and there has been a buzz about the place this week.
SA: We had to show a lot of spirit to overcome a good Luton side away from home in the last round and I feel the players are ready to meet this next challenge head on.
SA: Our povelayers are fresh, fit and ready. We have tried to give them some new forward thinking positive ideas but we have to be realistic, they have top, top players. We will have to show full concentration.
SA: It’s a loss for us because Michael Hector has been fantastic in recent weeks. But it’s football and that means someone else will get a chance and like I say, the training has been fantastic this week and we have options
Head to Head record
These two sides have met 123 times over the years, and Surpisingly Sheffield Wednesday have a slightly better head to head record than the Blues over the years.
Chelsea have beaten the Sheffield club on 37 occasions in all competitions. There have been 45 draws between these two sides over the years. Sheffield Wednesday have beaten the Blues on 41 occasions over the years in all competitions.
In terms of FA Cup head to head record, Chelsea do hold the advantage over the owls in that category. Chelsea have won on 8 occasions against the Sheffield club in the FA Cup. There have been 6 draws between these two sides in the FA Cup. The Owls have only beaten Chelsea 2 times in the FA Cup.
In terms of the most recent meetings. The last time these two sides met was in the 1999/2000 Premiership, when Sheffield Wednesday beat Chelsea 1-0 at Hillsborough.
The last meeting in the FA Cup between these two sides 1998/1999 season, when Chelsea beat Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 at Hillsborough.
Betting Odds/My Prediction
Betfair have made Chelsea clear favourites for this FA Cup tie, with a Blues win being priced at 6/5. A draw between these sides which would take this tie to a replay at Hillsborough is being priced at 6/1. A shock Sheffield Wednesday upset is being priced at 4/7.
First goalscorer odds (Betfair)
- Eden Hazard: 16/5
- Gonzalo Higuain: 16/5
- Steven Fletcher: 10/1
- Lucas Joao: 12/1
My Prediction for this game is a 3-1 Chelsea win, with Higuain scoring one goal on his debut. The other Chelsea goals will come for Hudson-Odoi who I reckon will score two goals. Sheffield Wednesday will score a consolation goal through Atdhe Nuhiu.
Leave me down your scored predictions in the comments.
By Danyal Khan