Chelsea’s FA Cup campaign gets underway on Saturday with a trip to Carrow Road to face Championship side Norwich City.
The last meeting between the sides was back in March 2016, when Chelsea won 1-2 away from home thanks to goals from Kenedy and the now departed Diego Costa.
In fact, Chelsea haven’t lost against Norwich since December 1994, when the Canaries won 3-0 against a Blues side managed by Glenn Hoddle.
Antonio Conte is bound to rest some of his star players in this game, and the likes of Ethan Ampadu, Michy Batshuayi and maybe even the returning David Luiz will almost certainly start.
On paper, this should be a comfortable victory, considering Chelsea have progressed from 20 of their last 21 FA Cup ties against non-Premier League sides. Norwich do have one danger man, however, who has caused Chelsea many headaches in the past.
Steven Naismith has scored six goals in his last six matches against the Blues, including a hat-trick last time he faced Chelsea, when he was with Everton.
With all eyes on the club’s recruitment in this transfer window, Chelsea must avoid an upset at all cost.
- Norwich have been eliminated in all four previous FA Cup ties against Chelsea, most recently in the fifth round in 2006-07.
- Chelsea have progressed from 20 of their last 21 FA Cup ties against non-Premier League sides, with the exception their 4-2 defeat to Bradford in January 2015.
- Steven Naismith has scored six goals in his last six matches against Chelsea in all competitions, including a hat-trick last time out in the Premier League in September 2015.
- Chelsea are unbeaten in 13 matches against Norwich in all competitions since a 3-0 defeat in December 1994 under Glenn Hoddle.
- In domestic cup competitions for Chelsea against non-Premier League opponents, Michy Batshuayi has had a hand in nine goals in four matches (seven goals, two assists), averaging a goal or assist every 40 minutes.
Predicted Line-up (3-4-3)
Caballero; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill; Zappacosta, Drinkwater, Kante, Kenedy; Willian, Batshuayi, Pedro
Chelsea have a good record against non-Premier League sides in the FA Cup, one they should build on this weekend. If Batshuayi starts, he must take his chances to put pressure on a struggling Alvaro Morata. 0-3