?Chelsea will host Newcastle United on Sunday in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
After making a difficult time of it against Norwich City, where they were forced to a replay and extra-time and penalties, the Blues will be hoping to keep this round of the cup to 90 minutes against a struggling Newcastle side.
Newcastle had a much easier time during their route to the fourth round where they dispatched of League Two side Luton Town.
Neither side are in blistering form heading into this one. Chelsea will be recovering from their Carabao Cup semi-final defeat to Arsenal. Meanwhile, Newcastle are without a win in their last two.
With plenty to play for, here’s everything you need to know heading into this FA Cup clash.
If Chelsea and Newcastle’s last cup encounter is anything to go by, Sunday’s match is sure to be a cracker. The last time these sides met in a cup competition was in September 2010 in a League Cup third round tie in a thrilling 4-3 victory for the Magpies.
Chelsea took the lead early on through Patrick van Aanholt. Newcastle responded with two quick goals, one from Nile Ranger and the other a free kick from Ryan Taylor. Shola Ameobi then fired Newcastle 3-1 up early in the second half.
Chelsea were reduced to ten men after 62 minutes when Yossi Benayoun picked up an injury after the Blues had used all three of their substitutions. Despite this, Nicolas Anelka bagged two goals late-on, including a 87th minute penalty, to draw Chelsea level.
Paulo Ferreira struck the post for Chelsea with minutes to go. Newcastle went up the other end with a corner in injury time and Shola Ameobi rose to head the ball in the back of the net and take Newcastle to the next round of the cup.
Michy Batshuayi vs Jamaal Lascelles & Ciaran Clark
A man with a point to prove on Sunday will be Blues striker Michy Batshuayi. Seemingly the unwanted man at Chelsea, the Belgian striker could be handed a rare start on Sunday after Willian picked up an injury.
With rumours that the Blues are close to signing Roma’s Edin Dzeko, Batshuayi’s future at Stamford Bridge looks uncertain as he could be forced to move on loan to make way for Dzeko.
But with that deal far from certain, there is still a chance that Chelsea may need to rely on Batshuayi as a capable deputy to Alvaro Morata.
He has the ideal opportunity to prove himself on Sunday against a struggling Newcastle team. In his way will be defensive duo Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark, who have kept just five clean sheets in the league all season.
Willian picked up a thigh injury during the League Cup defeat to Arsenal on Wednesday. Cesc Fabregas is also recovering from a hamstring strain and is unlikely to feature. Alvaro Mortata and Thibaut Courtois also remain doubts for Chelsea and are unlikely to start on Sunday.
Danny Drinkwater and Gary Cahill were both deemed fit enough for the bench on Wednesday and will be available for selection for the Blues. Ross Barkley will be expected to make his full debut for the club.
For Newcastle, new loan signing Kenedy will be unavailable due to being cup-tied and unable to face his parent club. Aleksandar Mitrovic is still recovering from a back injury. Florian Lejeune and Chancel Mbemba are also unavailable for selection.
Potential Chelsea Starting Lineup: Caballero; Luiz, Cahill, Christensen; Zappacosta, Drinkwater, Bakayoko, Alonso; Barkley, Batshuayi, Hazard
Potential Newcastle Starting Lineup: Elliot; Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Shelvey, Saivet; Ritchie, Ayoze, Atsu; Joselu
Chelsea have won their last five home fixtures against Newcastle, and have scored at least two goals in each of those matches.
With the form Newcastle are in, and their lack of firepower up front, it is difficult to see anything other than a win for Chelsea on Sunday. Manager Rafa Benitez will expect to make some new signings before the end of January.
However, Newcastle will not make it easy for Chelsea and they proved they a capable of fighting back into games during their match against Manchester City.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle United