It looks certain to be an entertaining encounter at Goodison Park on Saturday as Chelsea aim to find salvation in the FA Cup by reaching the semi-finals at the expense of Everton.
This is a repeat of the 2009 final, in which current Chelsea interim boss Guus Hiddink ended his initial reign with a victory. This time around it is again his only chance of leaving the club having won some silverware, after he oversaw their elimination from the Champions League in midweek. They were clearly inferior to Paris St. Germain, but domestically the Blues are proving impossible to beat and will be confident of extending Everton’s home woes.
One of the few wins the Merseyside club have achieved in their own patch was against Chelsea back in September, but since then their supporters have been overcome by frustration, which came to a head last weekend as they surrendered a two-goal lead with just 12 minutes remaining to lose to West Ham United. Manager Roberto Martinez has come in for his fair share of criticism, so victory here is crucial for him as success in this competition will at least in part make up for a poor Premier League campaign.
Young striker Bertrand Traore has impressed of late for Chelsea, scoring in the previous two rounds, while the consistency of Romelu Lukaku has been the most impressive aspect for Everton this term, so the strikers should have a big say in deciding the outcome of this tie. The visitors’ FA Cup record in recent years is tremendous, so they have to be the marginal favourites.
Kevin Mirallas is suspended for Everton after being sent off against West Ham, but Gareth Barry and Tom Cleverley should be available after illness. Aaron Lennon, who has a hamstring problem will be assessed.
Chelsea hope to have Diego Costa fit along with captain John Terry, who returns to the squad after missing nearly a month of action.