Chelsea host Bradford City in the fourth round of the FA Cup and despite Bradford’s giant killing exploits in the last few years, the Blues are strong favourites.
Chelsea were second best in their last game against Liverpool but still came away with a point. They will rest a few players for the game against Bradford as they have a couple of key games coming up at the end of this month. They face Liverpool in the return leg of the Capital One Cup and play against title rivals Manchester City in the Premier League.
Tactics and Probable Lineups
Kurt Zouma is expected to start alongside Gary Cahill in defence after Jose Mourinho confirmed in yesterday’s press conference that the captain will be rested for today’s game. Thibaut Courtois, who had a brilliant game against Liverpool, will make way for Petr Cech who has been Chelsea’s Cup keeper. Nemanja Matic will be replaced by Brazilian midfielder Ramires in front of the defence. It’s likely that he’ll be partnered by Obi Mikel in midfield to form the double pivot in front of the defence.
Mohamed Salah and Andre Schurrle have seen limited game time this season, but the duo could start against Bradford. The game could be Salah’s last one in Chelsea colors as a loan deal to Roma has been agreed with the view of a permanent transfer. Playmaker Oscar will start ahead of Fabregas and will play behind striker Loic Remy. Chelsea’s defense has rarely been threatened in the Cups this season, so Bradford have a huge task in hand. The 4-2-3-1 formation provides a lot of balance to the team as there is equal impetus on defending and attacking. The game could be a rout if Chelsea start well.
Probable Lineup: Cech, Luis, Zouma, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Mikel, Ramires, Oscar, Schurrle, Salah, Remy
Bradford reached the fourth round in style after beating Millwall by our goals, but they lost their last league game to Yeovil. Phil Parkinson’s side find themselves in a playoff spot but haven’t scored too many goals this season. As a result, it’s even harder to make a case for them when they face Chelsea today.
Striker James Hanson is their leading goalscorer and he’ll have to be at his best if Bradford are to breach Chelsea’s defence. He’ll partner experienced center forward John Stead who has scored three goals this season. Bradford haven’t had a good 2015 so far as they have won just one game in four and part of the reason why is their leaky defence (29 goals conceded).
Manager Phil Parkinson went with a 4-4-2 formation in their last game but could be more cautious today and overload the midfield to make his side more compact while defending.
Probable Lineup: Williams, Darby, McArdle, Davies, Meredith, Morais, Dolan, Halliday, Knott, Hanson, Stead
- Chelsea have won 14 out of 17 games against Bradford at home and have lost just twice which came in 1910 and 1913.
- The only previous FA Cup meeting between these sides was in the second round in 1912 that Bradford won 2-0 at Valley Parade.
- Chelsea are yet to lose a game in Cup competitions this season.
Chelsea’s team looks too strong for Bradford and it’s likely that the game will end as a rout. Mourinho’s side will want to get back to winning ways and the presence of players who want to prove themselves will make them more hungrier.
Score: Chelsea 3-0 Bradford