Venue: St Mary’s Stadium
Date: Saturday, 5 January
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Not sure which way to go about this preview really. Last time out I strayed from my customary pessimism, with some bizarre idea we should find QPR fairly straightforward – and it bit me on the backside.
Still, we love the FA Cup at Chelsea don’t we?
Unbeaten in 23 FA Cup games, in the final 11 times, winning it on 7 occasions and we’re the current holders. Mind you, that didn’t seem to count for much in the Champions League last year. I guess us caring about the FA Cup isn’t what matters really because it’ll be all about how much it means to the players and how much respect Rafa pays it.
Going into today’s game, Southampton manager Nigel Adkins says “The Capital One Cup was a great opportunity to play some of the younger players, who have now gone on to play for us in the Premier League. I want to go and win the game against Chelsea, but I also have to be mindful that we have had a run of fixtures that are very close together. I have to make sure we arrive on the pitch on Saturday full of energy and not risking anyone picking up a serious injury.”
For Southampton, Adam Lallana (knee) is out although Nathaniel Clyne (knee) and Gaston Ramirez (leg) are expected to come into contention and Emmanuel Mayuka is available for his last game before leaving for the Africa Cup of Nations.
For Chelsea, Petr Cech (groin), John Terry and Oriol Romeu (both knee) all miss out, new signing Demba Ba could make his debut and even Yossi Benayoun could come back into contention following his return.
John Mikel Obi Mikel and Victor Moses are available before travelling to the Africa Cup of Nations after the game.
SOUTHAMPTON (Possible line-up): Artur Boruc; Jack Cork, Maya Yoshida, Jose Fonte, Luke Shaw; Morgan Schneiderlin, Steven Davis; Jason Puncheon, Gaston Ramirez, Guilherme Do Prado; Rickie Lambert.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Ross Turnbull; Cesar Azpilicueta, Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, Ryan Bertrand; David Luiz, Frank Lampard; Victor Moses, Yossi Benayoun, Marko Marin; Demba Ba.
Southampton 1-3 Chelsea (2nd April 2005)
Ok, so as far as the Premier League is concerned we’re unbeaten in six against Southampton but that’s where the positives end because when it comes to the FA Cup, Southampton have a 100% record against us. Three out of four of those have gone to a replay – and they’ve won every time.
Would anyone really be surprised if they forced another replay?