There’s a toxic atmosphere surrounding Chelsea at the moments as the board, management staff and players have a lot to answer for this season but hopefully a good result in the cup will provide a brief distraction for the fans who have just about had enough of this season.
Whilst Middlesbrough will hope they can prey on the problems of their opponents and cause a cup upset. Considering Chelsea’s performances against League One opposition in the previous round, it wouldn’t come as a complete shock if Boro managed to pull it off.
The home side will be without ineligible trio Kieron Dyer (yes, he’s still alive), Sammy Ameobi and our very own Josh McEachran. Lukas Jutkiewicz, Jonathan Woodgate, while Stuart Parnaby, Justin Hoyte and Julio Arca are all suffering with respective injuries.
Rafael Benitez has confirmed that Cesar Azpilicueta has a leg injury which is a pity as Branislav Ivanovic has not enjoyed a good season either at fullback or central defence. The Serbian has never been any good at defending the space behind him but even his ability to defend man-to-man has escaped him recently.
England defender Gary Cahill has a virus which surely means John Terry will skipper the side tomorrow night after being rested against Manchester City at the weekend. Hopefully it won’t be much longer before he’s over his own string of injuries this season as it has proved difficult to integrate him back into the side and when he has played he’s has looked a little rusty. Was great to see him on the score sheet against Brentford though and I’m optimistic that things will improve for him.
Spanish midfielder Oriol Romeu is the only long-term absentee with a knee injury.
Chelsea Provisional Squad: Cech, Turnbull, Hilario, Ivanovic, Ferreira, Cole, Bertrand, Luiz, Terry, Ake, Oscar, Mata, Moses, Mikel, Lampard, Ramires, Hazard, Marin, Benayoun, Torres, Ba.