Rafael Benitez goes into the fourth round replay against Brentford with a little more breathing space following his side’s 1-0 victory over Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday, though defeat on Sunday will see questions about the Spaniard’s ‘interim’ reign at the club quickly resurface. It took an 82nd minute goal from Oscar to break the deadlock in the Czech Republic, with the Brazilian scoring within 45 seconds of coming off the bench.
Chelsea, 16 points off Manchester United in the league, will look to target the FA Cup along with their European campaign as the last two remaining sources of silverware this season. Thursday’s game saw the Champions League holders enter their eighth different competition, in what is materialising as a disappointing season. However, a victory against underdogs Brentford - who held the Blues to a 2-2 draw last month – may get their season back on track.
The Bees will be looking to cause a major upset yet again, with the 2-2 draw far more than most Brentford fans would have expected pre-kick-off. Having already played a replay against Southend and Bradford, it is turning into quite a long-winded cup run for the League One side, who will be starting their sixth FA Cup game this term despite them entering the competition in the second round.
PAST THREE MEETINGS...
Brentford 2 (Trotta, Forrester) Chelsea 2 (Oscar, Torres), FA Cup, January 2013.
Brentford 0 Chelsea 1 (Bowie), FA Cup, January 1950.
Brentford 0 Chelsea 2 (Machin, Paton), Division 1 (Old), March 1947.
10 players have represented both sides during their careers: Ron Harris, Micky Droy, Keith Jones, Tommy Baldwin, Colin Lee, Steve Sidwell, Joe Allon, Graham Wilkins, Peter Borota and Stewart Houston.
Chelsea have won the FA Cup on seven occasions, while Brentford have reached the quarter-finals on four occasions, but never progressed.
Chelsea have contested six out of 13 finals since the turn of the century – more than any other club.
Ashley Cole has won the most FA Cup finals as a player with seven wins – three with former club Arsenal, and four with Chelsea.
Chelsea are the most recent club to have won the Premier League and FA Cup in the same year – in 2010.
Uwe Rosler’s record as Bees manager stands at 93 games played, 39 won, 24 lost and 30 drawn.
Chelsea to win: 1.16
Brentford to win: 19.5
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