With another frantic festive period now over soccer lovers turn their attention to England’s favourite knockout competition. The Third Round of the FA Cup sees the country’s biggest names join the fray, making for some tantalising fixtures.
No less than 22 games take place on Saturday afternoon and drama is guaranteed with a number of EPL clubs visiting lower level opposition out to make a name for themselves.
One man who will be hoping to hit the ground running in his maiden FA Cup campaign is Italian Maurizio Sarri who leads his Chelsea side out at Stamford Bridge for a 3.00pm start against Championship battlers Nottingham Forest.
More of the Same Expected
These sides meet for the first time since September 2017 when The Blues dished out a 5-1 drubbing at this venue in the EFL Cup. In what was an utterly convincing performance from start to finish, Kenedy broke the deadlock inside 13 minutes before Batshuayi added a hat-trick and Musonda helped himself to a rare top team goal bonus.
It was far from Chelsea’s strongest 11 but the fringe men chosen to play that day proved far too good for the Tricky Trees and most expect something similar to a repeat performance here.
This will be Chelsea’s second home match of the week following Wednesday’s EPL meeting with Southampton, but their recent league form has been far from convincing. They finished 2018 dropping points against Wolves and Leicester, The Foxes snatching a shock 1-0 in London on 22 December thanks to a winning goal from Vardy.
An EPL top-four finish is Sarri’s main aim this season, but he’ll be well briefed on the fans’ love affair with this tournament and that should ensure the gaffer gives Forest the respect they deserve.
Stats Show Forest to Struggle
Nottingham Forest have won only 25 of 91 previous meetings with Chelsea, the head-to-head stats standing at Chelsea 38-25 Nottingham Forest with 28 draws. That won’t do an awful lot to inspire confidence in the travelling support. Neither will the fact their side has lost by at least two clear goals in their last three visits, scoring one and conceding 10.
Forest last recorded a win over Chelsea in competitive action way back in 1997 and that was at the City Ground with Stuart Pearce and Chris Bart-Williams the scorers.
It is, therefore, little surprise to see odds-makers have set-up dead against the away win and lovers of the romance of this competition can get their hands on a stunning 14/1 when betting at Coral or William Hill. If you do plan on taking a chance on the underdogs be careful where you bet as some firms are as tight as 11/1 on the same bet.
Nott’m Forest have drawn two of their last five Championship starts – 0-0 at Derby and 3-3 vs Norwich – but they do travel on the back of a confidence-boosting 4-2 win over league leaders Leeds United, achieved on New Year’s Day. The level finish trades 11/2 (William Hill).
Best Bet is Win to Nil
Spirits are high in the away dressing room and the underdogs will be well aware of the fact this is a tournament littered with famous upsets, but we don’t expect to see another at the conclusion of this one. Chelsea will win and can be added to your accumulators at 2/9 (Coral).
Punters after a better price – and that should be most of us – can take heart from the stats and back The Blues -1 goal on the handicap at 8/13, market best price when playing at Coral. That’s sure to prove popular in weekend accumulators. A third win to nil in four for Chelsea over Forest rates as a lively alternative at 21/20 – best with BetVictor.