This tie features two sides with managers under slight pressure, with both teams’ not in the best of form at the moment. Chelsea made hard work of their replay against League One side Southend, only to then rely on two last minute strikes to overcome struggling Stoke. Ipswich on the other hand have not enjoyed the season that so many of their fans hoped for and Jim Magilton has come in for a lot of criticism through the campaign.Moritz Volz and Ivan Campo are both out.
After being dumped out of the cup by Barnsley last season, many thought that lightning couldn’t strike twice with Chelsea and they would stroll past Southend. However, the League One side gave a fantastic account of themselves and after managing a draw at Stanford Bridge, they took the Premier League heavyweights to a replay at their own place. Things couldn’t have started any better either when the Shrimpers found themselves ahead after an early goal, although things weren’t to last and they eventually lost the game 4-1. Chelsea have just played the one game since then and that was against top flight strugglers Stoke. Despite being at home, this was another game that the Blues found tough and it took two late, late goals to rescue the points. The last six weeks or so have been disappointing for Phil Scolari and he’ll know that things must improve if he is to satisfy the trigger-happy Chelsea board.
Opponents Ipswich have started to improve in recent weeks, yet supporters still aren’t too happy with their position of 11th. However, wins against Derby, Chesterfield and Crystal Palace in their last four games has at least brought some optimism to Portman Road. With their league campaign hardly being successful at the moment, Jim Magilton will hope that the Tractor Boys can become another club that take a scalp off Chelsea. In the last twelve months both Barnsley and Southend have shown that the big spenders are not unbeatable and if they can grind out a result, it will take plenty of pressure off his shoulders.
As for team news, the home side will have to be without John Terry and John Obi Mikel who are injured and suspended respectively. However, Michael Ballack has regained fitness and should play, while Didier Drogba is hopeful of a starting place after being dropped for the last few games. Ipswich on the other hand have been boosted by the return of David Wright who could come straight back into the side following injury. Ben Thatcher is another who has been declared available, although
While Chelsea have struggled against lower opposition in recent times, we think they’ll have enough about them to see off Ipswich. Certain Blues players have a point to prove and with that, we can only go for the home win – 3-1 Chelsea.