The 5th round draw was a real interesting one this year, putting all the top four clubs to face another, as well as repeating the two games having been played in the Premier League last weekend. Players will surely feel they have a point to prove if they lost their individual battle with their opposite number last time out – or to prove further they are a top quality player who can influence matches during the big games (Matic vs Yaya). Last time out in the cup Chelsea put in fairly comfortable performance against Stoke, who did not show any real threat throughout the game. But Chelsea also becoming too laid back, which will not be allowed to happen this Saturday against City. So Chelsea will be making their way to the Etihad stadium on Saturday with the confidence knowing that we can beat City individually over the pitch and come out winners.
With the F.A Cup it is always difficult to have any real idea of what team Mourinho is going to put out; will it be full strength side due to the fixture, or will it be a half strength team like we played against Arsenal earlier on in the season in the League Cup? Either way, I really hope we have our strongest spine out playing as this where games can really be won. Mourinho will probably go for three central midfielders to be as competitive, compact and physical as possible against a side who can score for fun. Playing the likes of Ramires, Matic & Lampard/Mikel can really lay the foundations on how we mean to contain City, whilst still having some quality to unlock them on a split moment. A real positive in the middle of the park is the absence of Brazilian engine Fernandinho. This will once again force City to play a much weaker player (Milner/Garcia) and adapt their playing style. Instead of having two box-to-box players, they will have one holding, allowing Yaya to roam forward at will. The two Chelsea wingers could expose this gap for the second time in under two weeks and cause major problems for an also weakened City defence.
Nastasic is likely to be replaced by Demichelis who had a near nightmare performance against us last time out, slowing down City’s ball movement, being caught in possession and unable to keep pace with Ramires, Hazard and Willian. Having this weak link in the defensive line will surely be Fernando Torres’ dream, to run at him with the ball, draw him out of position and put pressure on him when on in possession.
Although this is the F.A Cup, I have a feeling this game can have a real knock on effect on what happens in the title race and any future mind games Mourinho will undoubtedly play. A win will send a massive message to all in the title race, proving we can beat a top side twice in a matter of days. But a win will also equal more big games in the future and players becoming fatigued easier during squeaky bum time; I’m of the opinion though, if you play a lot of games you’re clearly a top side fighting on all fronts. Secondly, Mourinho always sets out his teams to go and win a trophy, although many might think it’s just the F.A Cup and we have bigger Cups to fight for, but Mourinho will want to go and win the Cup to give the fans a celebrations, the club silverware and boost his own accomplishments.
The outcome of this contest will really depend on what players both managers decide to play on Saturday. But I am going to go for a 2-1 win, with Torres playing a key role throughout even if he doesn’t get on the score sheet.