Seven-time FA Cup winners Chelsea get their latest campaign underway with a home tie against Watford, who hope that this will be a Premier League fixture next season.
The home side will be looking for a response after seeing their lead at the top of the Premier League wiped out on New Year’s Day, with victory for rivals Manchester City adding to the misery of being swept aside by a rousing Tottenham performance.
It was quite stunning to see this seemingly unflappable Chelsea side concede five goals and gift Spurs acres of space in their final third. However, they have not become a bad team overnight and manager Jose Mourinho will be demanding a return to the exceptionally high standards they have set for most of this season.
Last time Watford visited Stamford Bridge was at this stage of the FA Cup in 2010, and they lost 5-0, and they are used to facing the Premier League’s leading lights, having pushed Man City hard this time last year.
Former Blues player Slavisa Jokanovic is the fourth man to have led the Hornets this season, and they have an array of talented players capable of playing some breathtaking football. Troy Deeney will look to cause the home defence problems after proving a key factor in helping his side to fifth place in the Championship.
Chelsea are set to rest some of their key players for this one, with starts expected for Petr Cech, Andre Schurrle and Loic Remy among others. Meanwhile, the visitors are without defensive trio Gabriel Tamas, Sebastien Bassong and Joel Ekstrand.
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