Chelsea's match calendar gets a bit busier over the next month, as the holiday period begins in the Premier League and the FA Cup begins for teams in the upper divisions.
The Blues' first match in the competition will be the week of January 6. In the draw conducted earlier tonight, Chelsea were drawn against the winner of the replay between Notts County (League Two) and Peterborough (League One). The match will be at Stamford Bridge, which should make this a fantastic opportunity for some squad rotation.
We will play Peterborough United or Notts County at home in the third round of the FA Cup. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 5, 2016
The 134th edition of the world's oldest knockout competition, as they often like to remind everybody, began way back in the summer, as 368 teams from Levels 9 and 10 entered the "Extra Preliminary Round".
We're now technically into the ninth round of competition, the one that's commonly called the Third Round (Proper). This is when the 44 clubs from the Premier League (20) and the Championship (24) enter the competition, joining the 20 remaining clubs from the all the previous rounds. The lowest remaining clubs confirmed still alive at this point are non-league outfits Barrow and Sutton United, though several others have a chance to advance still through replays. There's even a team from the 7th tier, Stourbridge! They face Northampton Town of League One in a rescheduled match next week (they were supposed to play this weekend, but the game was called off due to a frozen pitch).
The third round draw in full:
Ipswich Town vs. Lincoln City OR Oldham Athletic
Barrow vs. Rochdale
Manchester United vs. Reading
Hull City vs. Swansea City
Sunderland vs. Burnley
QPR vs. Blackburn Rovers
Millwall vs. AFC Bournemouth
West Ham United vs. Manchester City
Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Charlton Athletic OR MK Dons
Blackpool vs. Barnsley
Wigan Athletic vs. Nottingham Forest
Birmingham City vs. Newcastle United
CHELSEA vs. Notts County OR Peterborough United
Middlesbrough vs. Sheffield Wednesday
West Bromwich Albion vs. Derby County
Everton vs. Leicester City
Liverpool vs. Newport County OR Plymouth Argyle
Wycombe Wanderers vs. Stourbridge OR Northampton Town
Watford vs. Burton Albion
Preston North End vs. Arsenal
Cardiff City vs. Fulham
Stoke City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
Cambridge United vs. Leeds United
Bristol City vs.
Shrewsbury Strawberry Town OR Fleetwood Town
Huddersfield Town vs. Port Vale
Tottenham Hostpur vs. Aston Villa
Brentford vs. Halifax Town OR Eastleigh
Bolton Wanderers vs. Crystal Palace
Norwich City vs. Southampton
Sutton United vs. AFC Wimbledon
Accrington Stanley vs. Luton Town
Rotherham vs. Oxford United OR Macclesfield Town
A couple intriguing clashes in there, including West Ham vs. Manchester City and the Tim Sherwood Memorial Trophy between Spurs and Villa. We'll find out the televised matches soon enough.
Incidentally, Chelsea Ladies beat Notts County Ladies for the 2015 Women's FA Cup title. And should Notts County beat Peterborough next week in the replay, they will set up a rematch of the 2003
FA League Cup Third Round, which Chelsea won 4-2. Joe Cole scored his first Chelsea goal in the game. Meanwhile, should Peterborough advance, they'd set up a rematch of the 2001 FA Cup Third Round, which Chelsea won handily 5-0.