Chelsea take on Nottingham Forest at home in the FA Cup at home this Saturday at 3:00pm (UK time), looking to bounce back from their underwhelming draw at home to Southampton in the Premier League midweek.
This game is also centred around Cesc Fabregas as this is likely to be his last game for the club, as he prepares for his move away to Monaco in the January transfer window.
Sarri’s side will be very much rotated after the Blues are suffering an injury crisis at this moment.
Chelsea will be looking to win this tie, to build up some positive momentum going into a big week next week where they face Tottenham at Wembley in their first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final next Tuesday. Then the Blues take on Newcastle at home on Saturday in the late kick-off in the Premier League.
Nottingham Forest are coming into this FA Cup tie with high confidence after their thumping 4-2 win at home to inform Leeds United side in the Championship last weekend.
Nottingham Forest have upset big teams before in the FA Cup. Especially last season when they beat Arsenal 4-2 at the City ground. So can they repeat that trick by upsetting Chelsea on the weekend?
Sarri is expected to hand a starting role to Fabregas as the Spaniard reportedly bids farewell to Chelsea after four-and-a-half years at the club.
The Italian is also likely to change his entire back four, with Davide Zappacosta, Andreas Christensen, Ethan Ampadu and Emerson Palmieri potentially making up the backline.
Fringe Players like Victor Moses and Danny Drinkwater could be given a chance in this match.
Gary Cahill could be left out in order for the centre-back to avoid becoming cup-tied, but Eden Hazard may keep his spot in the team due to the injuries sustained by Willian, Pedro and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Callum Hudson Odoi could be used in this game as a sub, so may get a few minutes as the youngster returned to training very recently.
Olivier Giroud will play no part in the game, but Mateo Kovacic could return from illness with Jorginho and N’Golo Kante being left out.
Michael Hefele is absent for Forest after suffering an Achilles injury against Leeds, while Tobias Figueiredo will only feature if he has recovered from a dead leg.
Michael Dawson remains out so Claudio Yacob could be used in the centre of defence having dropped back into that position against Leeds.
Lewis Grabban is a huge doubt through injury, but Ben Osborn could be given a start after coming off the bench to score on New Year’s Day.
Chelsea’s Predicted Starting eleven- Caballero, Zappacosta, Christensen, Ampadu, Palmieri, Kovacic, Fabregas, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Morata, Moses/ or Hudson Odoi if fully fit.
Nottingham Forest Predicted Starting eleven– Steele, Janko, Yacob, Fox, Robinson, Guedioura, Colback, Lolley, Osborn, Dias, Grabban.
Chelsea Assistant Manager: Gianfranco Zola (Quotes Credit- Chelsea’s official Twitter)
Gianfranco Zola says he always rated the FA Cup as one of the best competitions because it feeds the dreams of many people and the crowd love it.
On Nottingham Forest, Zola says they are a team we have to respect because they have players who can cause us problems.
Zola says Hudson-Odoi is highly valued by the club and he hopes the youngster will remain at Stamford Bridge. He believes the attacker can have a big future at Chelsea.
On Alvaro Morata, Zola says it’s important for him to score, but goals are only a consequence of the work he does for the team. The Italian believes the goals will come for the striker.
Zola believes that Eden Hazard may get a rest tomorrow but we will have to wait and see due to the number of injuries we have.
The Italian says there is a good chance both Pedro and Giroud will be back for the Tottenham game next week.
Zola says if Cesc Fabregas plays tomorrow he’s sure he will deliver a good performance.
Zola says Ethan Ampadu is going to become an important player for the club due to his intelligence and attitude. He says the youngster is highly valued by the staff and when there is a chance he will play.
Head to Head
Chelsea have met Nottingham Forest 91 times over the years, with The Blues having a better head to head record against the East Midlands club.
The Blues have beaten Forest on 38 occasions. There have been 28 draws between these two sides over the years. Nottingham Forest have beaten Chelsea on 25 occasions.
The last meeting between these two sides came in the EFL Cup on September the 20th 2017, where the Blues hammered Forest by 5 goals to 1, with Charly Musonda scoring his first goal for Chelsea. Batshuayi also scored his first hat-trick for Chelsea on that day.
Betting Odds/My Prediction
William Hill have made Chelsea favourites to qualify from this tie to round 4 of the FA Cup, with a Blues win being priced at 2/9. A draw between these two sides is being priced at 5/1. And a shock Nottingham Forest win is being priced at 12/1.
My Prediction for this game is a very tight 2-1 win to Chelsea. I don’t think it will be easy for Chelsea with all their injuries so I think that they will scrape through this tie and avoid an upset early on in the FA Cup.
I think Chelsea will go behind in this game through a Lewis Grabban goal, and I think that goals from Hudson-Odoi and Fabregas in the second half will just see Chelsea through.
By Danyal Khan
Categories: Premier League