Frank Lampard’s Chelsea host League Two side Morecambe on Sunday afternoon in the FA Cup third round, in what will be the two sides’ first ever meeting.
Morecambe come into the tie flying unusually high in the fourth tier, finding themselves in the play-off positions, despite not playing since Boxing Day. The Shrimps have won their last four games.
Chelsea, on the other hand, are winless in three and have slipped to ninth in the Premier League table, but the Blues are still clear favourites to progress to the fourth round and, despite all the magic that the FA Cup holds, you can’t see much more then a routine home win in this one – surely?
There have been several academy players training with the first team in the week for Lampard’s side and we may see a couple of debuts, but the Chelsea boss is expected to go with a strong starting XI for this one. Here’s how they should lineup.
Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK) – Edouard Mendy has firmly established himself as number one at Stamford Bridge since his arrival, but Kepa looks likely to start for the first time since December 8.
Cesar Azpilicueta (RB) – As Reece James remains out with injury, Chelsea veteran Azpilicueta will continue to fill in for the England international, having started the last two.
Fikayo Tomori (CB) – The central defender has played just 45 minutes of football so far this campaign, and has been linked with a move away. But he could get a start on Sunday for the visit of Morecambe.
Antonio Rudiger (CB) – Another player linked with a transfer away from Stamford Bridge, Rudiger looks set for another chance after a disappointing performance against Aston Villa in his last outing.
Emerson (LB) – Ben Chilwell has started the last three games for the Blues, so Lampard is expected to rotate and give Emerson an opportunity.
Kai Havertz (CM) – The German has had a rocky start to his Chelsea career. He hasn’t started a game since their loss at Wolves in December, but came off the bench to assist Chelsea’s goal against Manchester City in their last match. You’d expect him to find some joy against a League Two defence.
Jorginho (CM) – The Italian didn’t feature in the City game and is expected to start as N’Golo Kante finds himself on Chelsea’s injury list with a hamstring problem.
Billy Gilmour (CM) – The young Scotsman has started just one game this campaign, coming in the Champions League against Krasnodar. He came off the bench against City last time out, and is likely to feature again for the FA Cup tie.
Hakim Ziyech (RW) – The Moroccan has impressed when he’s played for the Blues, racking up four goal contributions in eight Premier League games, and will look to add to that tally this weekend.
Tammy Abraham (ST) – The striker has been left on the bench for the last two outings and will likely start the FA Cup tie. A real opportunity to build on eight goals scored so far this season.
Callum Hudson-Odoi (LW) – The winger has been a bright spark in recent weeks and scored against City last Sunday. He looks set to start this one – good luck to the Shrimps defence.