The prawn sandwich brigade have not been allowed to be at Stamford Bridge since March, but with the Shrimpers coming to town this weekend, perhaps we’ll enjoy a lovely seafood feast anyway. We all — the team, the players, and the fans — could certainly use a morale-boosting lopsided victory, even if our opponents are from the fourth division.
Of course, as ever, no team should be underestimated. Morecambe are in the classic position of having nothing to lose and everything to gain, and not just Kai Havertz’s shirt or a memory to cherish.
So, provided we don’t get any last-second COVID concerns, our chance to make it back to the FA Cup final after last season’s ultimate disappointment against Arsenal begins here.
Date / Time: Sunday, January 10, 2021, 13.30 GMT; 8:30am EST; 7pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Darren England (on pitch); Jonathan Moss (VAR) — VAR will be used because the technology is already in place at the Bridge (unlike most lower league grounds)
Forecast: Cold, slight breeze and chance of rain
On TV: BBC Red Button (UK); none (USA); Sony TEN 1 (India); SuperSport Football (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BBC iPlayer (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).
Chelsea team news: Three players are out with minor-ish injuries, Reece James (hamstring), Andreas Christensen (knee), and N’Golo Kanté (hamstring), but chances are that none of the usual candidates will take part in this match, not should they. This is a rare chance for a little extended rest and recovery in the middle of the winter scheduling madness (now with extra COVID-considerations, too).
That’s not to say that Lampard will just chuck the kids into this one like Aston Villa were forced to against Liverpool yesterday (who in turn ruthlessly and hypocritically fielded a full-strength lineup), but in addition to the backups and fringe players, we should see action for five youngsters from the next group of highly promising talent in the Academy.
Jurgen Klopp complaining about fixture congestion and starting Mane and Salah against Aston Villa’s under 13s is great banter.— Paddy Power (@paddypower) January 8, 2021
It really is.
Tino Anjorin, Lewis Bate, Henry Lawrence, Tino Livramento, and Jude Soonsup-Bell all were mentioned by name in Lampard’s pre-match press conference, and should all be part of the matchday squad at least. Anjorin, who has three Chelsea appearances in total, including a start against Krasnodar last month, will surely get the nod from the start, even.
Chelsea have just one win in our last seven in all competitions. The pressure’s mounting. Even a win won’t deflate much of that, but it’s something we can build on going forward.
Morecambe FC team news: Morecambe, like their most famous fan, heavyweight Tyson Fury who’s never lost a fight, have apparently never been relegated in their history, though they’ve also never been higher than the fourth division yet. They came close a decade ago, and are now again making a push towards the playoff places. They currently sit seventh, a massive improvement over last year’s 22nd-place finish, just above the relegation zone, and with a couple games in hand thanks to their recent COVID outbreak, which has meant that they haven’t played since Boxing Day and only returned to training a few days ago.
One-time PFA Scotland Manager of the Year Derek Adams has been in charge since the first couple months of last season, and has got his team playing well at the moment, with just two defeats in their last 14 matches in all competitions.
That last game, a 3-1 win over Grimsby Town whom we beat 7-1 in the League Cup last season, featured a brace from leading goalscorer and former Atlético Madrid trainee, Carlos Mendes Gomes — who was also nominated for League Two’s Player of the Month for December.
Jake Turner, on loan from Newcastle United, had been the first-choice goalkeeper, but he’s recently lost his place to experienced Mark Halstead, formerly at Blackpool. Burnley loanees Adam Phillips, midfielder, and Ryan Cooney, defender, are also integral members of the squad. Another defender, Yann Songo’o has a very familiar last name: turns out, he’s the son of the famous Cameroon and Deportivo La Coruña goalkeeper, Jacques Songo’o!
Previously: Chelsea have never played Morecambe, so we get to add another entry into the record book. Meanwhile, here’s a bit of Anjorin hype.