Chelsea will entertain Sky Bet Championship outfit Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday as the Blues look to complete their route into the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Maurizio Sarri’s men will be hoping to bounce back from Saturday’s defeat to London rivals Arsenal with a win against the Owls at Stamford Bridge.
Wednesday sit 16th in the Championship table, 11 points behind the top six and 12 points clear of the relegation zone.
It’s been a season of frustration at Hillsborough – Wednesday were sat in sixth position before a run of one win in ten saw them plummet down the table and manager Jos Luhukay head for the exit door.
Steve Bruce has been appointed as the Dutchman’s successor, but he won’t take charge of the club until after this match, on February 1. His assistant Steve Agnew has been in interim charge for the last four games and will be in the dugout in the capital on Sunday.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Owls…
What form are Sheffield Wednesday in?
Wednesday come into this match in good form, with one defeat in eight games in all competitions. In that time, they have kept five clean sheets, despite only keeping two all season, prior to Luhukay being sacked.
Despite being in good nick at the back, Agnew’s side have not scored more than one goal in a game in eight matches, which could be a worry heading to Stamford Bridge.
When were they last in the Premier League?
Wednesday haven’t featured in the top-flight of English football since their relegation in the 1999/2000 campaign. They finished sixth in the Championship in 2016 and reached the play-off final, but were beaten 1-0 by Hull City, who at the time were managed by Bruce. That Wembley defeat is the closest they’ve come to returning to the Premier League since their relegation 19 years ago.
When did Sheffield Wednesday last play Chelsea?
The last meeting between the pair was in 2000 when Wednesday were relegated. The Owls actually came out on top that day, winning 1-0 at Hillsborough thanks to a Wim Jonk penalty. You have to go back to 1993 for the last time the Owls won at Stamford Bridge, however.
Who are Sheffield Wednesday’s key players?
Fernando Forestieri is the Owls’ headline playmaker. The Italian forward is expected to return to the squad after missing the last ten games with a hamstring injury. Barry Bannan has Premier League pedigree having featured for Aston Villa and Crystal Palace in the top-flight and is capable of pulling the strings in midfield.
Keep an eye out for Adam Reach too, who has already claimed two Championship Goal of the Month awards with long-range strikes from the centre of the park this term. Reach has seven goals this season, one behind their top scorer, Lucas Joao.
Will Sheffield Wednesday be missing players due to injury, suspension or ineligibility?
They will be without Chelsea loanee Michael Hector, which will be a big blow. The central defender has impressed at the back this season but is ineligible to face his parent club due to FA rules.
Gary Hooper and Kieran Lee will also miss the game, but are long-term absentees having not played for the Owls since 2017.
Are Sheffield Wednesday likely to cause a FA Cup upset?
The realistic answer is no. On paper, Chelsea should have far too much quality for their Championship opposition.
Wednesday came close to causing a major upset recently against Manchester City in 2015, but two James Milner goals sealed a 2-1 win for the Citizens, despite the Owls taking the lead.
Whilst anything is possible in the FA Cup, this is more likely to be a routine win, than a Bradford City-esque shock from 2015.
By Elliott Jackson