Its been exactly 20 years to the month since Chelsea last exited the FA Cup at the Third Round stage.
They were the cup holders going into the 1997/1998 cup campaign, but that did not prevent Ruud Gullit’s side from being condemned to a 5-3 defeat at home by Manchester United.
Two decades later, The Blues will go into Saturday’s cup tie against Norwich City as last season’s runners-up, hoping not to commemorate the 20-year anniversary with a defeat against Sky Bet Championship opposition.
Historically, Chelsea have a very good record against The Canaries. The Blues have won 11 of their last 15 meetings with Norwich City; their last loss in all competitions against them was in December 1994. These two founder members of the English Premier League last faced each other in the world’s oldest association football competition in February 2007, when Chelsea cruised to a 4-0 victory in the Fifth Round.
Antonio Conte’s side go into the match third in the league table, whilst Norwich City are currently situated 13th in the Sky Bet Championship standings.
It will be a welcome return to Carrow Road for Brazilian winger Willian, who scored his first ever goal for Chelsea at the home of The Canaries in October 2013; a strike which is still a contender for his best ever goal for the South West Londoners.
The Blues are likely to make several changes to their side to face Norwich City, with Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Arsenal at the back of their minds. Despite Chelsea being set to play a second string side against Daniel Farke’s men, The Blues should be comfortable in avoiding a cup upset on Saturday.
Score Prediction: Norwich City 1-3 Chelsea
By Jonty Colman