Jose Mourinho’s side travel to the sports drink named stadium on the back of a successful Christmas period which saw the Blues climb to third in the table, only two points behind leaders Arsenal.
After fulfilling a gruelling set of fixtures which included trips to Arsenal and Southampton, as well as the visit of Liverpool, Mourinho may be inclined to ring the changes given the squad depth at his disposal. However, he should not take the Championship outfit lightly, as despite defeat at home to Wigan on New Year’s Day, Derby had previously gone nine games unbeaten – winning eight (including seven on the bounce) and drawing once.
Despite the former England manager playing down talk of promotion, Steve McClaren’s men sit fourth in the table, four points behind Burnley in the final automatic promotion place and eight points ahead of the teams aiming for the playoffs.
The Rams have been particularly impressive in front of goal and are the league’s top scorers with 48; nonetheless, it is at the back where they need to improve ahead of this weekend’s tie having conceded 30 in 24 games – the most out of the top 14 in the division.
This will be the seventh meeting between the pair in the FA Cup with two draws and two wins a piece with the most recent meeting coming 16 years ago when Chelsea won 3-1 at Derby’s former home, the Baseball Ground.
KICK-OFF: Sunday, 2:15pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Chelsea 6 (Lampard 4, Kalou, J Cole) Derby 1 (Jones), Premier League, March 2008
Derby 0 Chelsea (Kalou, Wright-Phillips), Premier League, November 2007
Chelsea 2 (Terry, Petit) Derby 1 (Strupar), Premier League, March 2002
Both sides have only lost one of their last ten, with Derby picking up two more points than their opponents (25).
Derby have scored the most goals in the Championship this season (48), but have conceded 30 which is the worst in the top 14.
Fernando Torres became the first Chelsea striker to score away from home in the league since December 2012 when he scored against Southampton last time out.
Derby to win: 7.0
Chelsea to win: 1.4
TV: Live on BT Sport 1 at 2:15pm.Highlights on ITV at 10.45pm
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