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Chelsea vs. Nottingham Forest, FA Cup: Preview; team news; how to watch

Chelsea begin this year’s FA Cup campaign with a classic Saturday 3pm tie

Chelsea v Nottingham Forest - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Chelsea begin the defense of the club’s eighth FA Cup title with a home match against Nottingham Forest. Chelsea have not lost in the third round of the FA Cup since 1997-98; incidentally, the Blues were defending the Cup then as well. (In fairness, Chelsea had to contend with mighty Manchester United instead of a promotion-chasing second divison side.)

That said, with Chelsea mired in a bit of an injury crisis and massive fixtures lurking on the horizon — Wednesday will be the first leg of the League Cup semifinal at Wembley against Spurs, followed by league games against Newcastle and Arsenal, then Spurs again in the second leg! — we could see a more changed and experimental side than normal for a traditional Saturday 3pm kick-off.

Still, the name of the game is winning, especially as the fun is severely lacking in our version of Sarri-ball at this moment.

Date / Time: Saturday, January 5, 2019, 15:00 GMT; 10am EST; 8:30pm IST

Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6

Referee: Andrew Madley — not to be confused with his brother Bobby Madley, this will be 35-year-old Andrew’s first ever Chelsea match.

Forecast: Not quite as freezing as recently

On TV: none (UK); none (USA); Sony TEN 2 (India); elsewhere

Streaming online: ESPN+ (USA); Sony LIV (India); Chelsea TV (audio commentary only — int’l)

Chelsea team news: Several youngsters and loan-returnees (Colkett, Scott, Maatsen, Feruz, maybe more) joined first-team training in the last couple days to make up numbers thanks to the minor injury crisis that’s happening, especially in the attacking positions. Olivier Giroud, Willian, and Pedro have all been ruled out, while Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mateo Kovačić face late fitness tests. Cesc Fàbregas is set for what is increasingly looking like his final Chelsea appearances before leaving for AS Monaco next week.

Chelsea have gone 180 minutes without scoring at the Bridge. Can’t win without goals!

Nottingham Forest team news: Forest are back up to the 7th in the Championship after massive win over Leeds United on Tuesday, which ended a run of five without a win (three losses). Considering that they’ve only lost five games in the league all season, they will no doubt be looking to build on that result and resume their propensity to draw and sometimes even win games — unsurprisingly, they are managed by former Mourinho protege Aitor Karanka.

Forest’s injury concerns are even greater than Chelsea’s, with the likes of Costel Pantilimon, Michael Hefele, Michael Dawson, Tobias Figueiredo and Lewis Grabban all set to miss out. Former Chelsea trainee Liam Bridcutt could feature for just the fifth time all season (in all competitions).

Previously: We played this exact same fixture in the third round of the League Cup last season, which Chelsea won easily, 5-1 thanks to a Batshuayi hat-trick.

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