Chelsea are in FA Cup fourth round action on Saturday as they welcome League One side Bradford to the Bridge. With a huge gap between the two sides in the football pyramid, it’s likely that there will be a bit of rotation. As the team look to continue fighting on all fronts, this game is one to be taken seriously, as we know that anything can happen when it comes to the cup.
This could have been Millwall coming to the Bridge, but Bradford won the replay between those two, much to the relief of the Stamford Bridge stewards. That means the Yorkshire side are coming down for their big fourth round tie, and they made the final of the 2013 League Cup, causing a few shocks on the way, so they are a side who can cause problems in the cups.
Cups are what Chelsea are fighting for this week, as before we get to the crunch game against Manchester City in the league, there is the Bradford game and the League Cup semi second leg against Liverpool. There’s a lot to play for in that Liverpool game, and with a strong team needed for both that and obviously the City game, we should see a few squad players given a run out this here.
The last cup game against Watford needed a few cameos off the bench to get the team through to the next round, and Jose Mourinho won’t want to have to go down that route again. Expect Petr Cech back in goal, while the likes of Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas are likely to miss out ahead of the big games next week.
One good part of this will be seeing a few young players getting a chance in the side, with the likes of Kurt Zouma ready to step in. He’s been in good form when he’s been given the chance in the side, and he could do with more first team chances if he’s to become a leading centre half for the club, in the mould of John Terry. Others like Mo Salah and Loic Remy should get a chance, given how appearances in the first team have been limited for them this season.
It would be great to see a few of the academy graduates also making an appearance, but Mourinho doesn’t seem to trust them that often, even in cup games. A late cameo would be good for a few of the players that could become the next home grown talent, but don’t expect it to happen, as they were left out completely against Watford.
This game will be a good test to see just how the squad players cope in a game where they are up against a side defending for their lives. You’d think that the gap in quality would shine through, but without the likes of Hazard and Fabregas the Blues are a little too functional. Hopefully that won’t be the case this time, and the big guns can be kept on the bench ahead of the big clashes next week.
LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 3-0