On paper, Chelsea’s trip to Hull this weekend should not be a troublesome task. While neither team are in particularly great form, stuttering their way through their respective league campaigns, surely Chelsea will have no problem navigating the treacherous waters of mid-table second division opposition.
But this is Chelsea, and this is the Magic of the FA Cup, and anything could happen.
That’s precisely what London-born Tigers defender Reece Burke is hoping for. The former West Ham Academy standout and England youth international is unlikely to be rested given Hull’s growing injury list in defense, and will undoubtedly relish trying to get one of Chelsea, regardless of whether he’ll be facing Michy Batshuayi, Olivier Giroud, or some other surprising choice from fellow former West Ham Academy man, Frank Lampard.
“The FA Cup is a competition that has always been renowned for its shocks. One of the things that the gaffer wanted from us this season was a cup run and we’re aiming to cause what would be considered to be a big upset on Saturday. We’re all up for that.
“Chelsea are a great team with top players so we’ll have to be at our best but, as we’ve seen so many times down the years, the FA Cup is a tournament that produces upsets and shocks and everyone in the camp is raring to go.”
Given Hull’s struggles and their recent problems with the owners, attendances have not been great, but Saturday’s match is already sold out. In fact, it’s expected to be the largest “cup crowd” at the KCOM Stadium since its opening in 2002, beating the previous record of 23,543, which, incidentally was also against Chelsea, in the 2007 League Cup (a well-rotated Chelsea won easily, 4-0, with Salomon Kalou scoring twice, and Scott Sinclair and Steve Sidwell adding one each in what was Avram Grant’s first win as Chelsea manager.)
“It was great to hear that the game is going to be a sell-out and that the KCOM Stadium will be the busiest that it has been for a few years. For the team, it will be fantastic to walk out in front of a full house. It’s always better to play in front of a big audience and we hope that as many as possible will return to support us for some important league games that are coming up.
“We’ve sensed the numbers creeping up over the last two or three months, especially with what the Club has done in terms of the ticket structure, but it’s up to us to put in a good performance against Chelsea to try and entice as many as possible back over the next few weeks and months.”
-Reece Burke; source: Hull City AFC
All the ingredients are there for a classic (C)upset. It’s up to us to avoid it.