Can Chelsea bounce back from their 2-0 defeat at Tottenham with victory in the FA Cup on Sunday? The Blues take on Peterborough in this third round tie, and Antonio Conte will be looking for his side to kick off a cup run to go alongside an impressive league campaign so far. Carlo Ancelotti managed to land the league and cup double in his first season at Stamford Bridge; could Conte manage to emulate his compatriot this term? That would be some return for a side who finished 10th in the table last season.
Peterborough will no doubt be looking to repeat Bradford’s shock third round win at Chelsea from a few years ago. That 4-2 defeat was one of the biggest ever upsets in FA Cup history, so it’s going to take something special from the visitors, or something incredibly stupid from the Blues, for that to happen again. Conte’s men will be looking to make up for their 2-0 defeat at Everton in the quarter-finals last year. That dismal defeat basically ended their season and hopes of making Europe. Can they manage to produce a better performance in the cup in 2017?
Team News: Changes likely after winning run ended
Chelsea saw their 13 game winning run in the Premier League brought to an end on Wednesday night. However, they’re still five points clear at the half-way stage. With attention now shifting to the FA Cup, it’s likely that we can expect a few changes here. Conte has stuck with the same side for most of this run, but it’s easy to see him making a few adjustments ahead of a clash with lower-league opposition. The lack of European football means the players are playing a lot less than usual, but it also means the fringe players are lacking minutes. They need a run out, just so they’re ready if needed down the line.
John Terry is one who could make a return, while Kurt Zouma should get some time on the pitch. After Gary Cahill’s poor display at Spurs, Conte needs options in defence. We expect a rest for the likes of Eden Hazard and Diego Costa, who should be saved for the Leicester game next weekend. Hopefully some of the younger players can get a run out in the team, especially as they’ve had opportunities limited during the season.
Peterborough don’t have any injury worries ahead of this trip, so their full squad is in with a chance of getting a run out at Stamford Bridge. Grant McCann is likely to field a strong side for this game, despite the demanding Christmas fixture list taking a toll on his men. While a rest might help them, it’s hard to see him risking a rotated side at a Premier League team. It’s also unlikely that he’d deny any of his key starters an appearance in a game like this.
Peterborough come into this game sitting just outside the play-off spots in League One, as they look to return to the Championship after a four-year absence. Posh may not be in the top six right now, but they’re just two points off a place in the play-offs. They sit 12 points off automatic promotion, so they’re unlikely to push for either of the top two places. However, they are in good enough form to be serious contenders for sixth place or higher.
Posh have drawn their last three games, but they’ve suffered just one defeat in their last 13 outings. They saw off Notts County in a replay to make it this far, which gave them a huge third round tie to complement their push for promotion. The visitors are unbeaten in six matches away from home, but it’s hard to see that record continuing here. This is set to be a huge step up for the away side, and they look short on the talent needed to cause a huge shock here.
Chelsea v Peterborough Head to Head
This is the first ever meeting between Chelsea and Peterborough, so we currently don’t have a head to head record to look at. Can the Blues manage to come out on top when they host the League One side in their first ever meeting? Looking back over the Blues’ cup form, it’s hard to see a shock. Chelsea have just six losses in the last 10 years in this competition. That spans across 50 games, with the Blues winning this trophy four times in that period.
- Chelsea to win to nil – 10/11 with Ladbrokes
- Cesc Fabregas to score any time – 2/1 with BetVictor
Chelsea come into this game as heavy favourites, they’re 1/6 with Coral to book a place in the fourth round. Given the gulf between them, that’s hardly surprising. Meanwhile, Sky Bet are pricing the League One side at 14/1 to claim a shock victory. This one seems like a straightforward win for the hosts, but we think we’ve found some good value bets on this clash.
During their 13 game winning streak, Chelsea managed 10 clean sheets. The Blues have a lot of defensive cover ahead of this game, and we’re expecting to see the likes of Ola Aina, Kurt Zouma and John Terry. Even the Blues’ second string defenders should be able to shutout League One Peterborough, so we’re backing a win and clean sheet for the hosts, which is 10/11 with Ladbrokes.
With Chelsea expected to score a few goals, it’s worth looking at the anytime scorer market. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is one worth keeping an eye on, he’s 23/10 with Coral to get a goal, just as he did in last year’s third round. However, our pick is another midfielder. Cesc Fabregas should step in here after missing out in midweek, he’s likely to lend experience to this side. The former Arsenal and Barcelona man should be far too good for the League One opposition, so we’re backing him to grab a goal at 2/1 with BetVictor.