Chelsea welcome Sheffield Wednesday to Stamford Bridge this weekend in the FA Cup. This represents a good chance of silverware for Maurizio Sarri and he will be keen to progress to the next round without incident. The visitors remain managerless until Steve Bruce takes over next month and it looks a difficult task for them to produce a shock result on Sunday.
Gonzalo Higuain could be set for his Chelsea debut after joining the club on loan from Juventus this week. He could finally provide the solution to the club’s attacking woes. It has been obvious that the club have been reliant on Eden Hazard for goals, but this signing should go a long way to addressing that. Sarri criticised the attitude of a lot of the players last weekend, therefore it will be interesting to see if his words have had an effect this weekend.
Sheffield Wednesday have little to play for in the Championship. They can target this game with positivity, but it remains difficult to beat a top-six Premier League due to the difference in quality. That said, this Chelsea team is vulnerable in the mind and Wednesday could make the match uncomfortable for them on Sunday. They have to be physical and play with high intensity to unsettle the home side. If they do that, they may be able to cause problems.
Chelsea haven’t managed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last four matches across all competitions.
Sheffield Wednesday have only lost one of their last eight matches in all competitions.
The Argentine will be looking to make an immediate impact with a debut this weekend. He understands Maurizio Sarri’s style of play well, after thriving under the Italian during his Napoli days. It could be that he is thrown straight into the first-team to help him adapt to English football as quickly as possible. This season hasn’t gone great for the striker so far, as he scored only six times for AC Milan. It is a decent record, but a lot more was expected from a player with his goal-scoring ability. Chelsea will be looking for the striker to add a focal point to their attack, as they have been one dimensional throughout this season. That was most evident last weekend against Arsenal, as they didn’t manage to get a shot on target until the closing stages of the match. It was too easy for the Gunners and the lack of a physical presence up front was a major reason for that. Higuain has a big role to play over the rest of this season as Chelsea challenge on multiple fronts.
It is going to be an uphill battle for Sheffield Wednesday to be successful this weekend and they may be relying on individual brilliance to get something out of the cup tie. If that is the case, then Adam Reach could play a starring role for the visitors. The midfielder has been great to watch this season and has the potential to produce match-winning moments from nothing. He has a couple of goals that could be regarded goal of the season in the Championship and at the age of 25, he will be looking to prove his quality at Stamford Bridge. It is unlikely that the team are going to be promoted, but the Englishman could have a short-term future in the top-flight. During the 2018/19 campaign, he has contributed six goals and three assists, which is a good return for a midfield player. He could be the danger man for Chelsea to look out for on Sunday.
There will be rotation for Chelsea after their victory over Tottenham in the Carabao Cup semi-final. Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ethan Ampadu and Willian are all likely to come into the starting eleven. Higuain is expected to make his debut for the home side.
Sheffield Wednesday will likely go full-strength for their trip to Stamford Bridge. George Boyd, Barry Bannan and Steven Fletcher all have Premier League experience. Michael Hector will be ineligible to face his parent club.
The home side should have more than enough to win comfortably. Sheffield Wednesday have regressed to a team that competes in the lower half of the Championship and they don’t have the quality to win a cup tie of this magnitude. Chelsea have an opportunity to give a chance to the fringe players with a view to a more permanent role in the side. That should be motivation to win the game with comfort.
Chelsea 3-0 Sheffield Wednesday