Chelsea will open their 2014 FA Cup campaign on Sunday against Derby County, an opponent with whom we don't have a lot of recent history. While the two clubs have met 104 time in the past, they've only met twice in the past decade, with the Blues winning both Premier League contests during the 2007/08 season.
Derby County actually have a very good record against Chelsea throughout their history, having won 38, drawn 29, and lost just 37 of the previous meetings. They've been even better than that at their home ground, with a 27-12-14 record against the Blues.
Derby have been having an excellent season thus far, currently sitting fourth in the Sky Bet Championship table. They've had the most prolific attack in the division, having scored 49 goals in their 24 fixtures. They've been shaky at the back though, sitting on the bottom half of the division in terms of goals allowed.
The Rams tend to control possession in most of their games, and often attack from width. They're dangerous on set pieces, both attacking balls launched into the box and going for goal directly. We hinted at their struggles earlier, but the defense tends to be a bit of a mess. They're slow to react after turnovers, sloppy in defending set pieces, and tend to be sucked out of position in defense by unspectacular ball movement.
While Chelsea will be heavy favorites tomorrow, Derby are certainly an opponent that could spring an upset if the Blues struggle to finish the chances that they'll inevitably have. Here's everything you need to know ahead of the contest:
Opponent: Derby County FC
Date/Time: Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 14:15 GMT (9:15 am EST, 6:15 am PST, 19:45 IST)
Venue/Location: iPro Stadium, Derby, England (33,597)
Forecast: Relatively mild temperatures with a 70% chance of rain are in the Derby forecast for tomorrow.
Chelsea FC Squad News: Chelsea will continue to be without Marco van Ginkel, who is likely several months away from a return to fitness. They'll also be missing both Frank Lampard and Branislav Ivanovic, who are each expected to be out of action for several more weeks.
Ryan Bertrand has returned from a knee injury that has been keeping him out of action, and Cesar Azpilicueta appears to be healthy even though he required treatment several times in the last match. David Luiz has returned from his one-match suspension, while Kenneth Omeruo is expected to be heading to Middlesbrough for the remainder of the season.
Derby County Squad News: Derby will be without forward Johnny Russell, who suffered a fractured cheekbone earlier in the week. Midfielder Craig Bryson is also a doubt, though it's possible he could be healthy enough to feature. Newly signed forward Patrick Bamford has not yet joined up with Derby, though he wouldn't have been eligible to play against his parent club anyway.
Television/Streaming: BT Sport 1 will televise the game in the UK, with FS1 and FoxSoccer2Go showing the game live in the United States. In India, the game will air on Star Sports 4. Chelsea TV will have pre and post-match coverage, as well as live audio during the contest. For listings anywhere else on the planet, please check here.
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