Chelsea and home games against lower league opposition in the FA Cup third round go together like Chelsea and Roman Abramovich. This will be the 14th FA Cup campaign in our history, 11 of which got started at home and against lower league opposition. The two exceptions were in 2012-13 and 2013-14, while in 2003-04, we need a replay at Stamford Bridge to get past Watford. So that sort of counts, too. (Thanks to @sidcelery for putting this list together.)
14 Jan 2004 — Chelsea v Watford W 4-0 (replay of 2-2 away)
08 Jan 2005 — Chelsea v Scunthorpe United W 3-1
07 Jan 2006 — Chelsea v Huddersfield Town W 2-1
06 Jan 2007 — Chelsea v Macclesfield Town W 6-1
05 Jan 2008 — Chelsea v Queens Park Rangers W 1-0
03 Jan 2009 — Chelsea v Southend United D 1-1 (replay W 4-1)
03 Jan 2010 — Chelsea v Watford W 5-0
09 Jan 2011 — Chelsea v Ipswich Town W 7-0
08 Jan 2012 — Chelsea v Portsmouth W 4-0
05 Jan 2013 — Southampton v Chelsea W 1-5
05 Jan 2014 — Derby County v Chelsea W 0-2
04 Jan 2015 — Chelsea v Watford W 3-0
10 Jan 2016 — Chelsea v Scunthorpe United W 2-0
08 Jan 2017 — Chelsea v Peterborough
Just a few years further back into Chelsea pre-history, we actually find this exact match, Chelsea vs. Peterborough United on January 6, 2001. The defending FA Cup champions, as we normally do in the FA Cup, took things rather seriously, with Zola (twice), Hasselbaink, Gudjohnsen, and Poyet all scoring in the 5-0 triumph.
Starting at center back in that game was none other than a 20-year-old John Terry, making his 23rd appearance for the club. On Sunday, the 36-year-old is set to make his 711th. Chelsea are likely to not use nearly as much of a first-choice lineup as in that game in 2001, but nothing less than a dominant win will be expected once again.
Date / Time: Sunday, January 8, 2017, 15:00 GMT; 10am EST; 8:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Kevin Friend — we last saw Mr. Friend almost exactly a year ago, in the 3-0 win away over Crystal Palace. Friend also officiated our FA Cup third round 3-0 win over Watford two years ago as well as the 5-0 win over Watford, again, in 2010.
Forecast: Low clouds (plus a bit of pollution for good measure)
On TV: none (UK); Fox Sports 2 (USA); Sony Six HD (India); SuperSport 5 (Africa, various); beIN Sports Arabia 5 (where available); elsewhere
Streaming online: Fox Soccer 2Go (USA); Chelsea TV (radio, int'l); BBC Radio 5 Live Extra (radio, UK)
Chelsea team news: Home matches in the FA Cup against lower league opposition are about as much of a formality as it gets for Chelsea. We've only ever lost just one such game in 35 tries, the 4-2 reverse to Bradford City two years ago. That game also closely followed a two-goal loss at White Hart Lane. Dun-dun-DUN. (Surely, that glitch in the Matrix won't repeat again...)
There are no injury or suspension concerns of note, with Conte already confirming starts for John Terry and Kurt Zouma, and hinting at one for Michy Batshuayi as well. Youngsters Kenedy and Charly Musonda will not feature however to keep them eligible for possible loan moves later this month. Speaking of loan moves, Nathan Aké should be heading back to Chelsea shortly, but not in time to feature in this one.
Peterborough team news: The Posh, as they're known, sit 9th in League One (i.e. third division) having lost just once in their last 13 games in all competitions. That includes a replay win over Notts County in the previous round of the cup, with Peterborough's young and exciting attackers showing plenty of potential for causing havoc in a slower, older backline.
Former Spurs youngster Shaq Coulthirst, in-form Gwion Edwards, and Chelsea fan Leo Da Silva Lopes are just a few of the names to watch out for from over 50 positions below Chelsea in the league pyramid. Similarly moulded new signing 21-year-old Junior Morias will miss out through ineligibility however — he was part of a Wycombe side that lost to a Chelsea reserves side 5-0 in a preseason match in 2014. He was released soon after and had spent the previous 2.5 years in non-league football before signing with Peterborough last week.
As the usual cliche goes, the visitors from the lower league have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Giant-killings are a rare sight at Stamford Bridge, but that doesn't mean they're impossible.
Previously: Time for some grainy footage of that 5-0 in 2001.