Chelsea’s fixture pile-up continues as just under three days after completing their progress to the semi finals of the Europa League against Rubin Kazan in Moscow, Rafael Benitez’ side will turn out at Wembley searching for a second consecutive appearance in the final of the FA Cup.
Indeed, Chelsea’s pursuit of a fifth FA Cup win in the last seven seasons appears to be their interim manager’s highest priority, as shown by his weakened team selection in the league away at Southampton just 48 hours before their cup quarter final replay with Manchester United.
The goalscorer from that game, Demba Ba, may be fit after limping off in the league win over Sunderland a week ago with an ankle injury, before missing the midweek trip to Moscow due to ineligibility. If the Senegal international fails to prove his fitness, the onus will fall on an in-form Fernando Torres, who now has three goals in his two starts for the club, albeit both coming in Europe.
Ryan Bertrand is also struggling to take his place in the matchday squad due to an illness and with Ashley Cole likely to miss out with a hamstring injury, either Paulo Ferreira or young Nathan Ake could line up at left-back. Gary Cahill is still missing after undergoing knee surgery meaning that Benitez must choose between club captain John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic to partner David Luiz.
Manchester City meanwhile will be high on confidence after their impressive victory at rivals Manchester United in midweek. Regaining the title may still look an impossible task with the Red Devils still 12 points ahead of them at the top of the table but a second FA Cup success in three seasons looks a realistic target for Roberto Mancini’s men, particularly with either Wigan or Millwall lying in wait in the final.
David Silva will have to undergo a fitness test if he is to take his place in the starting XI at Wembley after the Spaniard suffered a hamstring injury late on at Old Trafford on Monday night. Elsewhere, Sergio Aguero’s brilliant winner looks likely to have guaranteed him a start alongside Carlos Tevez with either Samir Nasri or James Milner to miss out should Silva fail to prove his fitness.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Chelsea