Date:Tuesday February 26 2013
This didn't start as a match preview Merlin, but it's sort of turned into it! Again, sorry for not using the template, but I just started typing and it sort of morphed into an FA Cup preview :)
February 27, 2013 7:45 PM GMT
Riverside Stadium — Middlesbrough
Juan Mata says Chelsea must use recent disappointments as a source of motivation as we bid to set up an FA Cup quarter-final tie with Manchester United.
Our defeat to City (who bought the title, how wrong), leaves Champions League qualification as our only realistic objective in the league this season, but we of course remain in contention for honours in both the FA Cup and the Europa League.
Writing on his official blog, blogs.grada360.com/juanmata, the Spain midfielder said: 'We're sorry for our fans.
'The way to overcome the disappointment is winning again, and this coming Wednesday we have an opportunity to move one step forward in the FA Cup.
'We can still win two titles. That, plus getting a ticket to play the next Champions League, is our motivation with a view to the rest of the season and we will fight for those goals until the end, like this club has always done.'
Interim Chelsea coach Benitez has complained that his club are 'playing too many games' at the moment and he seems likely to shuffle his pack for the trip to the Riverside Stadium.
Fernando Torres and John Terry will both hope to start, having been named on the substitutes' bench for the defeat at City.
Middlesbrough, FA Cup quarter-finalists five times since the turn of the century, are also seeking distraction from poor league form.
'I'm looking forward to it. It is a one-off that will lift the tensions of the Championship season,' said manager Tony Mowbray.
'I hope the supporters turn up, but it's their hard-earned money and you can't tell them that they have to come.
'However, we will need a great atmosphere and hope the players find a performance to make the fans proud.'
For Boro, Lukas Jutkiewicz (ankle) is a doubt for the game, and so Curtis Main is on standby to support Scott McDonald. Tony Mowbray will be without defenders Justin Hoyte and Stuart Parnaby, meaning Andre Bikey should start at right-back with Stephen McManus alongside Rhys Williams at centre-back
Benitez will probably continue with Petr Cech in goal ahead of Ross Turnbull, despite his tendency to rotate goalkeepers in the cup.
Ryan Bertrand may also replace Ashley Cole at left-back, though, with JT set to partner Branislav Ivanovic at centre-back and Cesar Azpilicueta to start at right-back.
Despite Mata's comments, he is likely to be rested for the trip. Rightly so!
Couple of little facts:
* Josh McEachran, currently on-loan from Chelsea, is ineligible to play against his parent club
* We have only lost one of our last 52 FA Cup games against lower ranked sides; losing 0-1 to Barnsley in March 2008.
* The Teesiders have only lost three of their last 22 FA Cup games at home.
* Middlesbrough have not scored in their past five meetings with Chelsea and the last time the Blues visited the Riverside Stadium, they thumped Boro 5-0 in the Premier League.
Probably teams, if I have any clue!
Steele, Bikey, Williams, McManus, Friend, Carayol, Leadbitter, Dyer, Hailliday , McDonald, Main
Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Terry, Bertrand, Ramires, Mikel, Marin, Oscar, Torres, Moses
Stuff it. I reckon we're due. Let's say 2-1 to Chelsea to cheer us up a bit and set up a tie with United!
Date:Tuesday February 26 2013
The (Mourinho?) Central Midfield (Wednesday May 22 2013)
Luiz - A Mourinho Type? (Wednesday May 22 2013)
Shaw Interest Revived (Wednesday May 22 2013)
Cheeky Beggars! (Wednesday May 22 2013)
Benitez Linked to Stoke (Wednesday May 22 2013)
Out Through the Exit Door (Tuesday May 21 2013)
How will Mourinho use Mata in the CL? (Tuesday May 21 2013)
Best 23-man Squad for EPL 2012/2013 (Tuesday May 21 2013)
Lukaku on His Season Long Loan (Tuesday May 21 2013)
Cech on 3rd Place (Tuesday May 21 2013)
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|2. Man City||38||23||9||6||+32||78|
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