Chelsea will welcome Man City in the fifth round of the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge today. The Blues are expected to play their strongest line up as the cup represents the most realistic chance for them to win some silverware this season.
On the other hand, Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini has already made it clear that he will prioritise the mid-week Champions League fixture against Dynamo Kiev and will field a weakened squad.
John Terry will miss out as this game will come too soon for him. ‘He will not be fit for this weekend,’ said Guus Hiddink. ‘I saw him this morning, he worked with the physios and yesterday he tried to do a bit on the pitch but he has too many issues to be fit for the weekend.
‘I hope next weekend he will be available. I cannot predict it, we have to be cautious with him as he likes to be there every day but we must be careful.
Kurt Zouma and Radamel Falcao will miss out due to long-term injuries.
January signing Matt Miazga might feature in some capacity to make his first-team debut for the Blues. ‘Miazga is close,’ said the manager. ‘We are doing some tests but he should be fit. What will the weekend bring? It’s too early to say.’
Thibaut Courtois is the man with the manager’s confidence and rightly so.
Hiddink doesn’t have many options to rotate his defence. The same back-four, which played against PSG, are expected to feature in this game. Baba Rahman and Cesar Azpilicueta will feature as full-backs while Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill will form the centre-back partnership.
Nemanja Matic and John Obi Mikel will form the partnership at the base of the midfield. The duo will share the responsibility to shield their back four. Cesc Fabregas will play further forward in the number ten role.
Brazilian duo of Willian and Oscar will play on the wings and Brazilian-born Diego Costa will lead the attacking lines for the West London club.
Predicted Lineup: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Rahman, Matic, Mikel, Fabregas, Willian, Costa, Oscar