Welsh outfit Cardiff travel to the Bridge to try and prevent us reaching our fifth consecutive F.A Cup quarter final. The match has been moved to a 12 noon kick off, this is due to the police wanting to avoid any of the violence associated with both sides back in the day.
Last round saw us beat Darren Ferguson’s Preston side 2-0 at Deepdale, with goals from Anelka and Sturridge. The third round saw us play another Championship side, Watford, who we trashed five nil at home, Sturridge grabbed two that day, as well as Malouda, Lampard and an Own Goal. Making Sturridge our only player this season to have scored in both rounds so far.
Our team has two well documented absentee’s in it, JT is off patching things up with his wife, whilst Ashley Cole has unfortunately been ruled out for around three months due to a fractured ankle. Cole, who has won the F.A Cup the joint highest amount of time, is likely to miss the rest of the season, and has only featured in the third round win over Watford, where he started and came off in the 74th minute for Kakuta. Belletti is reportedly fit again, but isn’t on the bench, Essien, Deco and Bosingwa are still out injured too.
Ancelotti has named the team already. As with the two previous F.A Cup encounters, Hilario is in goal, Zhirkov has played both games in midfield, but is replacing Ashley Cole at left back tomorrow. Alex, Carvalho and Ferreira will complete the back four. Mikel will hold the midfield again, with Lampard and Ballack in the middle of the diamond, Joey Cole will play at the top of it with Sturridge keeping his F.A Cup starting place, and Drogba leading the line alongside him. The subs are Turnbull, Bruma, Ivanovic, Malouda, Matic, Borini and Kalou.
The Bluebirds, currently fourth in the Championship, have their own injury problems, with up to eight players out and Chopra and Gyepes rumoured to be asked to play through injury. In incomparably more serious news to other absentees, Stephen McPhail made his Cardiff comeback last week, after being diagnosed with stage one MALT lymphoma last October, but has since picked up a rib injury and is out tomorrow.
Peter Whittingham (15) and Michael Chopra (14) are the two top goalscorers in The Championship. Cardiff are in a good form in the push for the play offs, and in all competitions have won five of the last six, beating bottom placed Peterborough on Tuesday but losing 5-1 to Newcastle last week.
The last time we met was in the League Cup back in 1986, where Cardiff won 2-1 at Ninian Park, we’ve never beaten Cardiff in the F.A or League cups.
Cardiff lost to Portsmouth in the 2008 F.A Cup final, and in the only season they’ve won the F.A Cup, 1927, they knocked us out in a quarter final replay. They are still the only non-English team to win the competition.
Off the pitch they’ve had their problems recently, in another story far more serious then some other those that have received high coverage as of late, Cardiff have been battling their second winding up order by HMRC, for part of an unpaid tax bill. They’ve been given 28 days to pay it, so a victory tomorrow would really be welcomed for them in aiding their battle.
The ref will be Andre Marriner, he was the man in charge for both our league fixtures with Fulham this season, as well as Bolton in the League Cup and Arsenal away back in November.
If the match goes to a replay, it’ll take place on Saturday March 6th, at Cardiff City’s new Stadium, creatively titled Cardiff City Stadium.
Predicted Score: 2-0 Chelsea. Sturridge and Drogba.