Chelsea vs Brentford Preview
Chelsea welcome Brentford to Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday afternoon, in a game that should see the host come out on top. The Blues have been in fantastic form ahead of the meeting, while opponents Brentford are struggling for consistency. Chelsea have a big Premier League clash to come just days after this weekend’s FA Cup fixture and may well name a second-string XI against their Championship opponents as a result. However, home advantage should still see Chelsea into the fifth round with Brentford having suffered a number of defeats on the road. Antonio Conte’s men bowed out at the quarter-final stage last season and would love a cup run this campaign. Chelsea are enjoying fantastic form under the new Italian head coach in 2016/17. The Blues have suffered just one defeat since October, and have enjoyed three wins on the bounce ahead of Saturday’s clash. They are expected to make changes to the first-team to protect key players for their Premier League game to come but there’s still a gulf in class that should be telling. With such a resilient defensive record and many quality players on the fringes who will come in on Saturday, Chelsea shouldn’t be given too much trouble by a Brentford side who have been little other than a mediocre Championship outfit this season. Liverpool are the only side who have beaten Chelsea at the Bridge, while defeats have been commonplace for Brentford. Away side Brentford have been in mid-table obscurity this campaign and are unlikely to pull off a big upset at Stamford Bridge. They come into their FA Cup encounter having lost four of their last six away games in all competitions. Overall, the visitors have lost two games on the bounce, and have managed just four wins in all competitions in the last three months. They have struggled to keep clean sheets this season, shutting out only two sides since October, and a Chelsea side with a play like Michy Batshuayi is likely to punish them. A second-string Chelsea side will include the likes of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, defenders Branislav Ivanovic and Kurt Zouma, midfielder Cesc Fabregas and forwards Willian and Batshuayi. Chelsea are formidable on home soil while Brentford have been inconsistent on the road, and Marathon Bet are giving odds of 21/100 for Chelsea to win against the Championship club. The Blues have scored two or more goals in five of their last six games in all competitions, while Brentford have conceded two or more goals in their previous two outings. As a result, Boyle Sports are giving odds of 8/11 for Total Chelsea Goals Over 2.5. Brentford’s woes to shut sides out is expected to play into the hands of Chelsea’s fringe players, and the likes of Batshuayi will be desperate to make an impact if he’s given the nod. 188 Bet are giving odds of 4/5 for Batshuayi to score anytime against the Bees. Chelsea should have too much for Brentford, even with a number of squad changes, so it’s unlikely the visitors will pull off an upset.