Chelsea vs. Morecambe
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick off: 2:30PM
Chelsea will be desperate to pick up a confidence-boosting victory this afternoon when they welcome League Two side Morecambe to Stamford Bridge in the third round of the FA Cup.
The Blues fell to a 3-1 home defeat to Manchester City in their most recent outing, whereas Morecambe won their fourth game on the bounce with a Boxing Day triumph over Grimsby Town by the same scoreline.
With only a solitary win to boast from their last seven games in all competitions, it is no wonder that Frank Lampard’s Chelsea future is being called into question.
The Blues lost even more ground in the Premier League title race as Man City put them to the sword in the capital last Sunday, with Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and former Chelsea man Kevin De Bruyne all netting in the first half before Callum Hudson-Odoi bagged a consolation in the dying embers.
Lampard has now witnessed his team lose four of their last six Premier League matches, but the visit of Morecambe provides Chelsea with a prime opportunity to claim a dominant win and give their supporters something to cheer about, with the hosts looking to go one step further in the FA Cup this season.
The Blues marched into the final of the tournament last year – where they lost 2-1 to Arsenal – and Chelsea have not failed to reach the fourth round since losing to Manchester United at this stage in the 1997-98 edition.
However, the Stamford Bridge faithful will not have fond memories of their 2014-15 clash with a lower-league team in Bradford, who struck four times on Chelsea’s turf to dump them out of the competition, which was the last time that Chelsea lost to a non-Premier League club in the tournament.
In contrast, Morecambe go into this clash in excellent form having won four on the bounce in the league, but the visitors have had their preparations hampered by a coronavirus outbreak within the squad, although the tie is set to go ahead as planned.
Derek Adams’s men scraped past eighth-tier side Maldon & Tiptree in the first round courtesy of an Adam Phillips penalty and needed extra time to overcome Solihull Moors, but the League Two outfit eventually got the job done through Cole Stockton. John O’Sullivan and an own goal from Mitch Hancox.
By advancing to the third round of this season’s FA Cup, Morecambe have already equalled their best ever run in the competition, with Ipswich Town the last team to knock them out at this stage of the tournament in the 2002-03 season.
The Shrimps had been sent packing at the first hurdle in six of their previous seven attempts before the 2020-21 campaign, and while the FA Cup has become renowned for its giant killings, they would have to produce a shock of monumental proportions to advance to the fourth round for the first time ever.
Chelsea possible XI: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Tomori, Emerson, Jorginho, Mount, Gilmour, Havertz, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi.
Morecambe possible XI: Halstead, Mellor, Davis, Lavelle, Hendrie, Songo’o, Slew, Phillips, Wildig, Gomes, Stockton.