Chelsea will be aiming to advance further in the FA Cup when they face off against Championship outfit Hull City in the fourth round of the competition.
Having failed to win their last two matches in the Premier League, Chelsea will be hoping to bounce back to winning ways when they lock horns with EFL Championship side Hull City at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday, in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Chelsea faced Nottingham Forest in the previous round of the competition and beat them comfortably 2-0. However, they have won just one of their three subsequent fixtures (L1 D1), with their most recent game ending in a 2-2 draw against a ten-man Arsenal side earlier this week. And manager Frank Lampard will be hoping that his side are able to produce a strong reaction on Saturday.
Hull City completed a fine comeback win over Rotherham in the third round of the FA Cup, beating them 3-2 courtesy a Tom Eaves hat-trick. However, the Tigers lost both their following matches against Fulham and Derby County 1-0 in the Championship and will be up against it when Chelsea come visiting this weekend.
Chelsea and Hull City last faced each other in the fifth round of the FA Cup back in 2018, with the Blues emerging 4-0 winners, on their way to lifting the trophy. And ahead of the latest meeting between the two teams at KCOM Stadium, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Hull City manager Grant McCann has been hit with fresh injury setbacks as Callum Elder, who returned to action against Derby County last time out, is ruled out again for two weeks with a calf strain, while Jordy de Wijs will also miss out. Matthew Pennington will also be unavailable, having picked up a groin injury in training ahead of the cup tie.
Stephen Kingsley has trained with the side, but the manager hinted that the full-back is unlikely to be risked against Chelsea, with an important match against Huddersfield Town coming up. Jon Toral and Kevin Stewart remain sidelined. McCann, despite insisting that the clash against Huddersfield is more important for his team, will field a strong side against Chelsea on Saturday.
Matt Ingram is likely to replace George Long in goal, but the centre-back partnership of Reece Burke and Ryan Tafazolli is likely to remain intact. 23-year-old Sean McLoughlin, who was recalled from his loan spell at St. Mirren, is likely to step in as a makeshift left-back against Chelsea, with captain Eric Lichaj holding on to his place on the right side.
On-loan Liverpool midfielder Herbie Kane is in line to start in the middle of the park with Daniel Batty partnering him on Saturday, allowing Leonardo da Silva Lopes a rest. George Honeyman, could get a run out as the No.10, with McCann likely to protect Jackson Irvine for the Huddersfield clash.
Jarrod Bowen has been in scintillating form for Hull, with 17 goals to his name this term. However, he too is likely to be held back by the manager, with Josh Bowler in line to start on the right wing. Teenager Keane Lewis-Potter should slot in on the left while Tom Eaves replaces Josh Magennis as the centre-forward.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ingram; Lichaj, Burke, Tafazolli; McLoughlin; Kane, Batty; Bowler, Honeyman, Lewis-Potter; Eaves
Chelsea will be sweating over the fitness of star striker Tammy Abraham, who limped off injured against Arsenal in the last game. Reece James is will miss out again due to the injury he picked up against Newcastle United, but Marcos Alonso is available for selection. Christian Pulisic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Marco van Ginkel remain out on the sidelines.
Lampard will look to ring in the changes for the cup tie, affording opportunities to some of the non-regulars in his squad on Saturday. In goal, Willy Caballero, who started the last cup game, ought to replace the under-fire Kepa Arrizabalaga, while Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori are likely to start as the two centre-halves, having not featured in the last three matches.
Captain Cesar Azpilicueta should continue at right-back for Chelsea, although Lampard has the option of using youngster Tariq Lamptey. Alonso should come into the side on the opposite side to replace Emerson Palmieri who had a troubled game against Arsenal earlier this week.
Ross Barkley is in line to start in the middle of the park, coming in at the expense of N’Golo Kante, while Mason Mount could also get a look-in after being dropped for the Arsenal clash. Vice-captain Jorginho, though, is expected to be retained at the base of the three-man midfield for Chelsea.
With Abraham injured and Olivier Giroud unlikely to be involved as he seeks a resolution over his future, Michy Batshuayi should come into the side as the lone striker. The Belgian is likely to be flanked by Callum Hudson-Odoi, who impressed in the last game, on one side while Pedro is in line to replace Willian on the opposite wing.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Caballero; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Tomori, Alonso; Barkley, Jorginho, Mount; Pedro, Batshuayi, Hudson-Odoi
- Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 15 meetings against Hull City across all competitions (W13 D2). Their last defeat to the Tigers came way back in October 1988 (3-0).
- Hull City have never defeated Chelsea in an FA Cup contest, losing seven of their ten meetings against the Blues in the competition (D3).
- Chelsea have progressed in 49 of their previous 51 FA Cup matches when facing a team from the lower divisions.
- When not playing in the Premier League, Hull City have been eliminated in their last 13 FA Cup ties by top-flight opponents. Their last win in such a contest came way back in 1973, when they defeated West Ham United.
- Chelsea have managed to keep a clean sheet in six of their last seven matches against Hull City across all competitions.
Player to Watch
The England international was off to a brilliant start in his maiden campaign with the Chelsea senior team. However, his form has been on a decline in recent weeks. Mount has scored five goals and set up three more in 33 games across all competitions this term. However, the 21-year-old has failed to find the back of the net in his last 11 appearances.
Mount, though, continues to enjoy the backing of manager Frank Lampard. Having scored against Hull City during his time on loan with Derby County last season, the 21-year-old will be hoping to get on the scoresheet once again on Saturday and get his season back on track with the Euros coming up in the summer.
Hull City 1-2 Chelsea
Chelsea come into the game on the back of disappointing results and will be eager to bounce back to winning ways. Hull City also head into the cup tie with back-to-back defeats and will want to produce a strong reaction.
However, considering the fact that manager Grant McCann is prioritising the upcoming league game against Huddersfield Town, we should see some rotation in the starting XI. Frank Lampard, too, will rotate his troops for Saturday’s game, but the gulf in quality between the two sides should shine through.
Expect Hull to breach a not-so-airtight Chelsea defence, but the Blues should prevail at the end to seal progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup.