Scenes from a picnic - Shaun Botterill
There's absolutely no possible way that the sequel could top the original. Is there? (Please don't let there be a way.)
So, Sunday happened.
Let's put that behind us, shall we? Dirt off our shoulders.
While we won't be able to make a clean break thanks to the whole Mark Clattenburg inappropriate language fiasco that is just starting, it would be silly to let this unfortunate loss affect any more of the season than it already has. This, too, shall pass. Three points were dropped but Chelsea are still top of the league. The schedule does not get any easier in either the Premier League or the Champions League, so the focus, fitness, and concentration levels need to remain high - lest we risk yet another winter of discontent.
I sincerely hope that nobody is entertaining any serious notions of "revenge" on Manchester United or Sir Alex Ferguson. I sincerely hope that any people attending the match in person do not do anything as stupid as throwing missiles again. I sincerely hope that in the comments section we do not get any idiotic statements of wishing injury or worse on anybody wearing red tomorrow. Stay classy.
While a victory would be nice, this competition remains very low on the ladder of priorities - if in fact it's even on the ladder at all and not just lost somewhere down in the mud & mire of penis jokes.
Just as Chelsea versus Wolverhampton in the previous round, Ferguson played a team full of youngsters and second-choice players in United's victory over Newcastle a month ago in round three. I'd expect much of the same from both sides.
Manchester United: The traveling squad is the same as versus Newcastle and with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones (and Nemanja Vidic) still injured, the defenders might look mostly unfamiliar once again (at least that's what I'm assuming whatever a Marnick Vermijl and a Scott Wootton may be).
Wayne Rooney did start in the last round but he was just coming back from injury. On the other hand, baby-faced Chelsea-killer Javier Hernandez and the lately not so impressive Danny Welbeck are likely to feature. Darren Fletcher and Anderson are two further known quantities who may play a significant role.
Chelsea: Also known as 'Suspensions FC.' Fernando Torres, Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry have all been banned, while Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole are currently old and injured. Fortunately Di Matteo rotated the squad heavily for Wolves so many of these players would've missed out anyway.
In fact, it's almost exciting that we'll get to see some of the lesser lights (or less-used lights) in the squad. I'd like to say that Cesar Azpilicueta, Ryan Bertrand, Oriol Romeu, Victor Moses, Daniel Sturridge, Lucas Piazon, and Marko Marin are all guaranteed to start, but let's just go with that most of them should feature in some capacity. Even 17-year-old Ruud Gullit-lookalike Nathan Ake and USA Tour participant George Saville have been called up to help bolster the squad.
Date/Time: Wednesday, Oct. 31; 19:45 GMT (3:45 PM EDT; Nov. 1, 1:15 AM IST)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
TV: Sky Sports 1 (UK), BeIN Sport 1 (USA), TEN Action (India).
Preferred Chelsea lineup (the once and future formation 4-2-3-1): Ross Turnbull; Ryan Bertrand, David Luiz, Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta; Oriol Romeu, Ramires; Marko Marin, Lucas Piazon, Victor Moses; Daniel Sturridge
Least likely outcome: players come out in Halloween costumes and masks.