Chelsea and Hull City last met about a year ago, but so much has happened since, both good and bad, and at both clubs, really, that those 13 months practically feel like a lifetime — wins, losses, titles, relegations, transfer drama, personal drama, hirings, firings, you name it. That said, after finishing at near-opposite ends of the table last season and now being separated by almost two divisions’ worth of teams, unless some serious Magic of the Cup™ shenanigans were to occur under the Friday Night Lights, this game will not be adding to all that drama.
Chelsea, as ever, will still have to pay great attention, especially with much attention diverted to Tuesday night’s game against Barcelona already, and this prime opportunity to advance to the FA Cup quarterfinals should not be passed up.
Date / Time: Friday, February 16, 2018, 20:00 GMT; 3pm EST; 1:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Andre Marriner — Eagle Eyes is back for the third time this season (3-1 win over Huddersfield; 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace) for what will be his 40th Chelsea match all-time.
On TV: BT Sport 2 (UK); Fox Sports 2, Fox Deportes (USA); Sony ESPN (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: BT Sport Live (UK); Fox Soccer Match Pass (USA); Sony LIV (India)
Chelsea team news: Three confirmed absentees for the Blues, with David Luiz and Tiemoué Bakayoko both battling various unspecified, presumably physical ailments and Ross Barkley still feeling his latest hamstring injury. Marcos Alonso and Olivier Giroud meanwhile are doubts with ankle and calf knocks, respectively.
Everyone else is back and available, with Álvaro Morata and Emerson Palmieri set to start to help them complete their recoveries from their own recent injuries. Others, like Andreas Christensen, might be held back to ensure that they are fully fit for Tuesday’s massive clash against Barcelona.
Monday’s 3-0 win was a step in the right direction, but it was still only Chelsea’s third win since the start of the calendar year. There is plenty of room for improvement, both on the pitch and in terms of confidence ahead of the upcoming set of very scary matches.
Hull City: The Tigers fired Abramovich-pal Leonid Slutsky a couple months ago, with former Southampton boss Nigel Adkins taking over. Adkins won his first match in charge, but has added just 3 more wins in the dozen games since. Hull did move out of the relegation zone on Saturday by beating Nottingham Forest and will look to build on that on Tuesday when they travel to Middlesbrough.
In the meantime, they are facing a full lineup’s worth of injuries and unavailabilities, with the Chelsea loanee trio of Michael Hector, Ola Aina, and Fikayo Tomori ineligible, and 7-8 other players, including Seb Larsson injured. Like Chelsea, they are expected to rotate significantly.
Hull have never won at Stamford Bridge; let’s not change that now.
Previously: Chelsea were back in the wins on Monday, so the Tunnel Cam was back as well!