Chelsea take on Norwich City in their third round FA Cup replay match at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. The match represents the fifth game of a packed January schedule for Antonio Conte’s men – but is it a game too far? We’ve put together this FA Cup preview complete with team news, football tips and statistical analysis to help improve your betting.
FA Cup Preview: Chelsea Team News
It’s fair to say Chelsea have found the going tough so far in 2018. While Antonio Conte’s men remain unbeaten in all competitions since their 1-0 loss to West Ham back at the start of December, they have drawn the last four games and are finding themselves slowly slipping out of the top four. It’s safe to say a win is needed to get the team back on track.
The big question as always with the FA Cup is rotation. Chelsea are scheduled to play eight games this month and the toll is starting to show on the squad, with their last three games ending goalless. They cannot afford another draw tonight as that would ensure extra time and penalties, further draining players.
Conte has confirmed that new signing Ross Barkley should be on the bench and it would not be a surprise to see fringe players such as Pedro, Willian and Michy Batshuayi given starts. The bookies are again backing Chelsea to struggle in front of goal despite the disparity between the two sides, currently offering only 1.61 on under 2.5 Chelsea goals in the game.
FA Cup Preview: Norwich City Team News
Norwich will be forced into at least two changes from the squad that faced Chelsea at Carrow Road on January 6, with Alex Pritchard and Yannic Wildschut having both departed the team. Pritchard left for Premier League Huddersfield in a £15million deal while Wildschut made a loan switch to Cardiff for the second half of the season.
Pritchard is a big loss. He’d not long returned to the team after a knee injury suffered at the start of the season and Canaries boss Daniel Farke will now be looking to players like Nelson Oliveira to make the step up in his place. Norwich have brought in attacking midfield starlet Marcus Edwards from Tottenham Hotspur but he will be ineligible for the fixture.
Norwich are unbeaten since turning Birmingham City over 2-0 on Boxing Day and have conceded just one goal in five games. However, the Canaries have only two wins in eight fixtures away from home in all competitions and the trip to Stamford Bridge will be a stern test for them – which is echoed by the bookmakers setting the Asian Handicap line at between -1.5 and -1.75 against Chelsea.
FA Cup Preview: Early Tips from ProTipster
The early favourites with tipsters are very much Chelsea, with 35 tipsters picking them already to beat Norwich at odds of around 1.28. However, the lack of goals for the Stamford Bridge outfit has evidently scared off tipsters from backing Chelsea in the handicap market with very few taking that bet on.
The paucity of early tips for this game suggests that tipsters are waiting for more team news before committing their thoughts on this game and it might be that is the best course of action for anyone wanting to place a bet.