Chelsea - Manchester City Preview: Blues looking to progress past Pellegrini's side in FA Cup

Chelsea FC will be looking to progress into the sixth round of the FA Cup when they take on Manchester City on Sunday

Chelsea - Manchester City Preview: Blues looking to progress past Pellegrini's side in FA Cup
(Image source: BBC Sport)

Chelsea FC will face a tough test as they look to keep their FA Cup ambitions alive on Sunday evening when they take on Manchester City.

Huge opportunity

Chelsea continue to turn their season around since the return of interim manager Guus Hiddink  after the departure of Jose Mourinho but as they continue to struggle in both in the league and Europe the FA Cup could be the Blues only realistic chance of a trophy this season.

Their title defence has been left in tatters as they currently sit in 12th and sit a massive 14 points off a top four position and an even bigger gap from the top with 20 points been the current situation.

Hiddink’s record has been great since his return to Stamford Bridge but his unbeaten record was broken in the week when they travelled to Paris to take on a great Paris Saint-Germain side.

Zlatan Ibrahimović put the Parisian’s ahead but a strike from John Obi-Mikel in first half extra-time brought them level. It was Laurent Blanc’s side who took the advantage into the second leg with Edinson Cavani grabbing the winner.

Despite their struggles elsewhere they have blossomed in this seasons competition and convincing wins over Scunthorpe and MK Dons has seen them emerged as one of the favourites to lift the trophy in May.

Struggling City

City on the other hand remain one of the favourites to snatch the title from the hands of the blues but the wheels have seemed to come off the title bus since the announcement of Pep Guardiola’s imminent arrival.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side have suffered consecutive league defeats have put a big dent in their title ambitions with the 3-1 defeat to Leicester City a fortnight ago and two goals from Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen gave Tottenham a massive 2-1 win at the Etihad.

Their gruelling fixture doesn’t get any easier as they will travel to Ukraine to take Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on Wednesday before the Capital One Cup final with Liverpool next weekend which could see major changes for their side ahead of the trip to London.

Team news

Eden Hazard is likely to retain his place in Hiddink’s starting XI despite his future in the capital been thrown into doubt in the last few weeks.

The Dutchman confirmed in his pre-match press conference that captain John Terry is still an absentee from the starting XI after his injury in the victory over Newcastle last weekend and joins Kurt Zouma and Radamel Falcao on the injury list.

This should see Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic retain their places in the centre of defence while Hiddink hinted at a start for youngster Bertrand Traore who has impressed off the bench in the last few weeks.

City’s trip to Stamford Bridge could see Pellegrini make a number of changes ahead of their clash with Dynamo Kiev next Wednesday.

Argentine veteran Willy Caballero is expected to come in for Joe Hart while youngsters Manuel Garcia, Aleix Garcia and Bersant Celina looking for inclusion and the Chilean looks to rest the likes of David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure.

Vincent Kompany is also expected to be missing as he continues his recovery from a muscular injury which may see Martin Demichelis who is expected to join Iheanacho who scored a hat-trick against Aston Villa in the previous round.

Chelsea FC will host Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, February 21 with kick-off at 4PM BST.