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FA Cup Sunday 17th Feb – Chelsea will leave The Bees feeling rather blue

Chelsea FCKick Off: Sunday 17th February
Live On TV: 12.00pm ITV1

A number of Premiership giants have already been slain in the fourth round of the FA Cup, and Brentford will be hoping to maintain that trend by dumping Chelsea out of the tournament in their replay at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, having performed admirably to secure a 2-2 draw against their illustrious neighbours at Griffin Park at the end of last month.

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It was only a late Fernando Torres goal that denied The Bees a famous victory at their rustic stadium on January 27 and, though their form in League One has been patchy of late, Uwe Rosler’s charges will take to field this weekend feeling that they have nothing to lose. The visitors will also take heart from the fact that Chelsea’s fixture list is pretty congested at present due to the Blues’ participation in the Europa League.

However, that’s where the positives end, to be frank. Rafa Benitez’s men could really do without this match, but Chelsea have only been beaten twice in their last 18 FA Cup replays and have been dominant in this competition since it returned to its spiritual home of Wembley in 2007, lifting the silverware in 2009, 2010 and last year.

When on-song, the west London outfit are ruthlessly efficient and it would be a major upset if this match was to end in anything other than a cosy victory for Chelsea.

While it was Torres’ intervention in the 83rd minute which spared the Premier League club’s blushes at Griffin Park, it is Chelsea’s midfielders that invariably take centre stage in the FA Cup. In just nine appearances in this competition, Spaniard Juan Mata has scored four times and provided six assists, while there is still magic in the FA Cup for the Blues’ middle-of-the-mark fulcrum Frank Lampard. Indeed, the England international has scored 14 and assisted nine in his last 24 FA Cup games.

Benitez has quite a few players on the easy list at present, but his side’s 1-0 victory away to Sparta Prague on Thursday will alleviate some of the pressure ahead of the return leg of that tie on the 21st of this month, while Demba Ba will be relatively fresh as he is cup-tied from the Europa League and is likely to start up front, perhaps as a sole out-and-out striker with Torres expected to be on the bench.

Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if, once again, the midfielders are the main breadwinners on Sunday. With 198 goals to his name during his Chelsea career, Frank Lampard will be keen to reach the 200 milestone as quickly as possible, and I reckon it’s worth backing the 34-year-old in the last goalscorer market at 4/1 with 888sport, particularly as you will receive a free bet to the value of your stake (up to £50) if the bet loses owing to a goal scored by another player in the 88th minute or after.

Frank Lampard in the last goalscorer market – 4/1 with 888sport


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