Chelsea vs Watford: FA Cup match preview
The FA Cup kicks off for Chelsea on Sunday as Championship side Watford visits Stamford Bridge. After a disappointing festive period, Chelsea will look to bounce back in the FA Cup third round, though several of the first-choice players will be rested.
Chelsea have won the FA Cup four times since the new Wembley opened in 2007 but are without winning the tournament since 2012.
Chelsea team news
Thibaut Courtois suffers from a sore finger and will be replaced by Petr Cech, while Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas all are likely to be rested.
Also Oscar, Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill are reported to be in with a chance of a breather for the third round tie at the Bridge. That means a likelihood of game time for players such as Kurt Zouma, Filipe Luis, Ramires and Nathan Ake, as well as a choice between Loic Remy and Didier Drogba up front.
Despite the changes, Jose Mourinho does not take Watford lightly. “It’s a difficult game. It’s a good team, one of the best teams in the Championship. They have a good team. They are fresh. They didn’t play the New Year fixture,” Mourinho said.
Watford team news
Watford are currently fifth in the Championship and will look for a real upset in the cup on Sunday. Gabriel Tamas and Joel Ekstrand are still out with injury and Sebastien Bassong will have to sit out due to the terms of his loan agreement.
As quoted by Mourinho above, Watford are fresh as they did not play on Thursday and can bring all their best players with fresh legs to the occasion. The Hornets are massive outsiders for this leg and everyone expects Chelsea to ease through this game.
Not since 1998 have Chelsea lost a third round match in the FA Cup. That was obviously long before Mourinho’s time at the club, so he has a 100% record of qualifying for the fourth round of the FA Cup.
The last time Chelsea were knocked out by a team outside of the top division was in 2008, when Barnsley knocked us out in the quarter-final.
Watford have been Chelsea’s opposition in the FA Cup on five occasions, where the Blues have won four times.
We believe the second-choice outfit Mourinho will pick will be strong enough to see off Watford in a 3-0 win.