FA Cup: Chelsea vs Hull City preview


Defending Premier League champions Chelsea have, at least in theory, an easy task on Friday evening as they host Championship side Hull City at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup. Last season, when Hull City got relegated from the Premier League, Chelsea defeated them 2-0 both home and away. In fact, the Blues have won all the last six matches against the Tigers and kept a clean sheet through five of those games. Hull City have not won a match against Chelsea since 1988.

Chelsea are in a great position to advance to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, they are by far the better team on paper against a struggling Hull City. However, the Blues have had their own troubles recently, leading to rumours that manager Antonio Conte will be replaced at the end of the season. They eased some of that pressure with a 3-0 Premier League victory over West Brom on Monday, but they can't afford any mishaps against Hull City on Friday. Marcos Alonso and Ross Barkley are injury doubts, while manager Antonio Conte should make quite a few changes to his starting eleven.

Hull City might not enjoy the FA Cup as much as they should this season because they are justly worried about their position in the Championship. Last week they managed to pull off a 2-0 victory at Nottingham, but they are still just one point above the relegation zone. The trip to Stamford Bridge could be regarded as a distraction for the Tigers, but if they do well that might give them a much-needed confidence boost. Ola Aina, Fikayo Tomori and Michael Hector are all on loan from Chelsea and won't be able to play against their parent club, while Moses Odubajo and Abel Hernandez are injured.

Probable line-ups:

Chelsea: Caballero - Ampadu, Luiz, Cahill - Zappacosta, Drinkwater, Bakayoko, Emerson - Willian, Pedro - Giroud

Hull: Marshall - Lenihan, MacDonald, Dawson, Mazuch, Kingsley - Bowen, Stewart, Larsson, Clark - Dicko

My prediction: Chelsea to win 2-0.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Chelsea win - 1.19
Draw - 7.50
Hull win - 17.00

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