Mark Lawrenson has been looking ahead to Sunday afternoon’s FA Cup match between Chelsea and Newcastle.
Whilst the home side hammered Brighton 4-0 in their last Premier League match, it was a different story at Arsenal in the League Cup on Wednesday night, losing 2-1 on the night and on aggregate, meaning they miss out on making yet another Wembley final.
A couple of fortunate goals came the way of the Gunners and Newcastle fans would love to see similar cup luck at last come in their direction, having never seen the fifth round of the FA Cup under Mike Ashley’s rule.
When it comes to stats, Chelsea have an incredible record of scoring in every one of the 43 FA Cup matches they have played at home since January 2000, that of course being the year when Newcastle last reached Wembley, going down 2-1 in the semi-final to…Chelsea.
However, there are reasons for hope, as in five of their last six matches (all competitions), the blues have failed to score in three of them and only scored once in each of the other two.
It took penalties to take them through eventually against Norwich and that was after over three and a half hours of football when Chelsea only managed one goal against the Canaries.
With Premier League action against Burnley on Wednesday, Rafa Benitez will be expected to look after certain players ahead of that game.
However, Antonio Conte has issues of his own with the likes of Morata, Fabregas, Courtois and Willian potentially missing.
Against Norwich last week at Stamford Bridge, Conte made nine changes to the team who had played in the Premier League the previous weekend. After semi-final defeat to Arsenal and up against Premier League opposition this time, it will be interesting to see if the Chelsea boss takes quite as many risks.
Let’s hope so.
Mark Lawrenson, along with seemingly all of the other ‘experts’, predicts Chelsea to win ‘pretty comfortably’ and has gone for a 2-0 home win. If Newcastle can find a goal then Chelsea could well find things less than comfortable, judged on the way they have struggled to create chances and score goals recently.
Ironically, Chelsea’s man of the match from that win over Norwich will definitely be missing, Kenedy having now joined Newcastle on loan.
Mark Lawrenson talking to BBC Sport:
“Chelsea are another team who should be looking at the FA Cup and thinking they have to take it seriously.
“They are out of the Carabao Cup and although they are still in the Champions League, this competition looks their most likely route to a trophy.
“The Blues beat Newcastle pretty comfortably at Stamford Bridge in the league in December and I would expect something similar to happen this time too.
“Prediction is Chelsea 2 Newcastle 0.”
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