Chelsea host Manchester City on Sunday in the pick of the FA Cup fifth round ties, with Guus Hiddink looking to ensure that the Blues remain alive in arguably the only competition they have a realistic chance of winning.
Much has been made of the scheduling of this FA Cup fifth round tie, with Manchester City reportedly losing their battle to push it forward to a Friday kick-off. Manuel Pellegrini’s men have several crucial fixtures coming up in the Champions League and Premier League, and the Chilean is expected to play a weakened side at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea certainly have a lot more riding on this game than their opponents, given that they have a realistic chance of redeeming themselves to an extent by winning England’s premier domestic cup competition. As such, Guus Hiddink will field his strongest lineup on Sunday.
Possible starting XI (4-3-3): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanović (C), Baba Rahman; Matić, Mikel, Fàbregas; Pedro, Willian, Diego Costa
Possible starting XI (4-2-3-1): Caballero; Zabaleta (C), Demichelis, Otamendi, Kolarov; Fernando, Fernandinho; Sterling, García, Celina; Iheanacho
- Chelsea have reached this stage of the competition for the 16th time in the past 18 seasons.
- Manchester City have won their last two FA Cup meetings against the Blues — 2012-13 semi-final and 2013-14 fifth round.
- The Blues have yet to lose a domestic game since Guus Hiddink took charge of the club, a run that now stands at 11 games.
- City have not lost away in the FA Cup for six years, last losing to Stoke City at the Britannia in 2010.
- Chelsea have just 2 wins in their last 11 games against Manchester City in all competitions.
Chelsea 2 – 1 Manchester City
Chelsea will be fully focussed on Sunday’s game and determined to keep their FA Cup hopes alive. Manchester City’s weakened team will no doubt want to impress manager Manuel Pellegrini, but the Blues should have enough quality to go through in front of their home fans. A narrow home win is on the cards in this one.
Chelsea win: 1.80
Manchester City win: 4.75