Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers have played over 100 times throughout the years, but this will be only the 11th meeting in the last 35 years and the first since Roberto Di Matteo roamed the touchlines at Stamford Bridge.
Wolves were in free fall at the time. Back-to-back relegations from the Premier League and the Championship were arrested by winning League One and bouncing straight back to the second tier, where they’ve remained mid-table or lower ever since. Currently, they sit 18th, six points clear of the relegation zone.
As is often the case in these situations, Wolves have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Also, their match programme cover, in case you missed it, is flipping awesome (you can buy it here, if you’re so inclined).
Date / Time: Saturday, February 18, 2017, 17:30 GMT; 12:30pm EST; 11pm IST
Venue: Molineux, Wolverhampton, England
Referee: Jonathan Moss — Mr. Moss is back for the fourth time already this season, having refereed wins over Watford, Middlesbrough, and Crystal Palace earlier.
On TV: BT Sport 2 (UK); Fox Sports 2, Fox Deportes (USA); Sony Six (India); elsewhere
Wolves team news: Former Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has already survived a nine-match winless streak in the fall, so the current three-match losing is hardly a drop in the ocean. But, just three weeks ago they beat Liverpool and Anfield; prior form tends to not matter too much in such lopsided (at least on paper) single-elimination matchups.
The big star for the black and gold is 23-year-old winger Hélder Costa, whose loan move from Benfica was made permanent for a club-record €15m fee in January. Former Chelsea prospect George Saville is perhaps the most familiar name in the squad.
Chelsea team news: Chelsea have drawn two away games on the bounce, against Liverpool and Burnley in the league. A draw here would result in a replay, so let’s try to avoid that.
Conte has confirmed that neither David Luiz nor Marcos Alonso (nor Charly Musonda) will play today, but a few more changes than that are expected from the normal starting lineups in the league. Chelsea have been using the cup competitions to give starts to backups like Begović, Batshuayi, Fàbregas, and Terry, and youngsters such as Chalobah, Loftus-Cheek, Aké, and Zouma, and we should expect that trend to continue.
Previously: Chelsea won 6-0 back in 2012. This one’s unlikely to be as easy.