Cup competitions often bring up lesser spotted opposition and rarely seen venues, but that hasn’t really happened for Chelsea this season.
After a literal repeat of last year’s FA Cup third round match in this year’s FA Cup third round match, we get a near-literal repeat of the FA Cup fifth round form two years ago in this year’s FA Cup fourth round. We’re away rather than home, but still against opposition that used to be in the Premier League not that long ago.
Oh, come on! What is this, the Champions League?
But no, this isn’t the Champions League. This is the Magic of the Cup. Or something.
Date / Time: Saturday, January 25, 2020, 17.30 GMT; 12.30pm EST; 11pm
Venue: KCOM Stadium, Kingston upon Hull, England
Referee: Craig Pawson — Pawson again? Oh, come on!
Forecast: You might find yourself with the sun on your face
On TV: BT Sport 1 (UK); none (USA); Sony TEN 2 (India); SuperSport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK); ESPN+ (USA); Sony LIV (India); DStv Now (NGA) — We (WAGNH) have an affiliate link for ESPN+ if you’re in the US and would like to sign up for the best value in sports streaming (or, if you’re like me, sign up for the Disney-Hulu-ESPN+ bundle).
Hull City team news: The Tigers have spent much of the past decade yo-yo-ing between the Premier League and the Championship, but right now they find themselves in the second division for the third successive season, and possibly for a fair bit longer. While they’re doing a bit better than last season, promotion still seems far off at this point.
Manager Grant McCann arrived in the summer to replace Nigel Adkins, and has overseen a consistently inconsistent season so far: 11 wins, 11 losses for the season (40 scored, 36 conceded), 2 losses, 2 wins in their last four. Jarrod Bowen, 23, leads the team in goal-scoring for the third successive season. With most key players in their mid-20s, Hull could be setting up well for better times ahead.
That of course won’t be prevent them from trying to cause an upset this weekend. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain, and as always, that could make for a tricky away day.
Chelsea team news: Tammy Abraham has joined the list of injured, but hopefully like Christian Pulisic and Marcos Alonso, he will be back after the winter break, at the latest. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is also starting to see the end of the road in his recovery, as he participated in first-team training on Friday for the first time since May.
As in the previous round, Chelsea will be expected to rotate, with Lampard already confirming a start for rarely used Willy Caballero in goal. Perhaps tellingly, midfielder Billy Gilmour, right back Tariq Lamptey, left back Ian Maatsen, and defender Clinton Mola were not involved for the Development Squad’s 2-2 draw against Everton on Friday.
Previously: Chelsea beat Hull 4-0 in the fifth round of the 2017-18 FA Cup, on our way to winning it all. Olivier Giroud scored his first ever Chelsea goal; if he plays this weekend, he just might score his last (IF he plays).