Chelsea have been drawn against Brentford in the FA Cup fourth round this evening.
The magic of the FA Cup continues during the weekend of January 27th-30th and the two West London sides will do battle for a place in the fifth round.
Chelsea have played Brentford in the FA Cup three times before, most recently in January 2013, when misfit striker Fernando Torres saved the Blues’ blushes by scoring a late equalizer at Griffin Park before they in turn routed the Bees 4-0 in the replay the following February at Stamford Bridge.
The cup-tie is the same, but both Brentford and Chelsea’s circumstances couldn't be more different coming into the FA Cup fourth round than they were just four years ago.
The last time these two teams met Brentford were EFL League One high-flyers vying for promotion to the EFL Championship and while Chelsea were on their way to a UEFA Europa League victory, the club was in turmoil after club legend and UEFA Champions League winning manager Roberto Di Matteo was fired after just a few months of the season. Di Matteo was replaced by the extremely unpopular Rafa Benitez.
These days Chelsea are sitting atop the Premier League currently, after winning 13 of their last 14 games. The Blues have a five-point lead at the top and despite making nine changes to his usual starting lineup Antonio Conte guided Chelsea past League One Peterborough 4-1 despite losing John Terry to a red card mid-way through the second half.
Brentford, meanwhile, have enjoyed some recent success in the Championship — just narrowly missing out on promotion to the Premier League via the playoffs in the 2014/15 season. They currently sit 14th in the EFL Championship after a run of games that has seen them win just three of their last eleven league games.
Brentford easily dispatched non-league club Eastleigh in the 3rd round proper of the FA Cup by five goals to one. The Bees sailed through to the fourth round without the help of highly sought after striker Scott Hogan who missed the tie through injury.
Chelsea will look to continue to give games to players such as Nathaniel Chalobah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek against the Bees after impressive performances versus Peterborough, and returning loanee Nathan Aké following his impressive run of form this term at Bournemouth.