Frank Lampard’s Ligue 2 will host Morecambe on Sunday afternoon in the third round of the FA Cup, in what will be the two teams’ very first meeting.
Morecambe enters the tie by flying exceptionally high in fourth, ending up in the play-off positions, although he hasn’t played since Boxing Day. The Shrimps have won their last four games.
Chelsea, on the other hand, are winless in three and have slipped to ninth in the Premier League table, but the Blues are still clear favorites to advance to round four and, despite all the magic the FA Cup holds, you can Can’t see much more than a routine home win in this one – surely?
Several academy players have trained with the first team this week for Lampard’s side and we could see a few debuts, but the Chelsea boss should go with a solid starting XI for this one. Here’s how they should line up.
Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK) – Edouard Mendy has firmly established himself as number one at Stamford Bridge since joining, but Kepa is set to start for the first time since December 8.
Cesar Azpilicueta (RB) – While Reece James remains injured, veteran Chelsea Azpilicueta will continue to replace the England international, having started the last two.
Fikayo Tomori (CB) – The center-back has only played 45 minutes of football so far this campaign and has been linked with a move. But it could start Sunday for the visit of Morecambe.
Antonio Rudiger (CB) – Another player linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge, Rudiger looks set for another chance after a disappointing performance against Aston Villa in his last outing.
Emerson (LB) – Ben Chilwell has started the last three games for the Blues, so Lampard should turn and give Emerson a chance.
Kai Havertz (CM) – The German has had a difficult start to his career at Chelsea. He hasn’t started a game since their loss to Wolves in December, but came off the bench to help Chelsea’s goal against Manchester City in their last game. You’d expect him to find joy against a Ligue 2 defense.
Jorginho (CM) – The Italian was not part of City’s game and is set to start as N’Golo Kante finds himself on Chelsea’s injury list with a hamstring issue.
Billy Gilmour (CM) – The young Scotsman has only started one game this campaign, in the Champions League against Krasnodar. He came off the bench against City last time around, and he’s likely to play again for the FA Cup draw.
Hakim Ziyech (RW) – The Moroccan impressed when he played for the Blues, racking up four goals in eight Premier League games, and will be looking to add to that tally this weekend.
Tammy Abraham (ST) – The forward has been left on the bench for the last two outings and will likely start the FA Cup draw. A real opportunity to build on eight goals scored so far this season.
Callum Hudson-Odoi (LW) – The winger has been a brilliant spark in recent weeks and scored against City last Sunday. He seems ready to start this one – good luck to the Shrimps defense.