Let's do a better job of defending this Cup than the one with the big ears... - Shaun Botterill
It's January and it's a new year. That means the FA Cup is back! I mean the Chelsea Cup. The Chelsea Cup is back! The oldest football competition in the world! Yey, England!
I've been playing a good bit of Civilization V over the holidays. For those of you who have not heard of video games in the last two decades, Civilization is a turn-based, empire-building strategy game. It is a classic and a benchmark series. And I'm old enough to have played the first one quite extensively.
Crisis in the Empire of DPeezy! The helicopter gunship just got shot down by a crossbowman!
Smashing. The dastardly crossbowman must have been juicing some adamantium bolts! I knew I should've read Tim Palmer's opposition scouting report!
Laughable things like that - veteran warriors defeating armored tanks, fortified phalanxes shrugging off modern battleships - used to happen all the time in the first one. Now I say laughable, but then again QPR have just defeated Chelsea. At Stamford Bridge. So yeah.
You do move on and forget about it quickly enough though as you just bring in your seven other helicopter gunships and you blast their asses back to the stone age. And then you nuke them for good measure. And then you're sending spaceships up to Alpha Centauri in the 1800s and you start to wonder just why you keep playing on easy difficulty mode. It does get quite so boring and repetitive after a while... Fortunately for us then, Chelsea do not like easy mode.
So keep that in mind as Ross Turnbull & Co. prepare to defend the FA Cup trophy for the seventh time in club history. That's fourth all-time - behind Manchester United (11), Arsenal (10), and Tottenham Hotspur (8) - not that we have any history or anything. What matters more of course is that four of the last six FA Cups have ended up with Chelsea. That's modern history, not ancient, and we might as well start calling it the Chelsea Cup.
So let's win it again!
Southampton: For the first time in nine years, Chelsea have been drawn away in the Third Round although they won't have to travel too far. And apparently Southampton is an alright place or at least is better than Portsmouth.
The Saints's injury list is as short as their list of wins: Gaston Ramirez (probable), Nathan Clyne (doubtful), Adam Lallana (out). Both lists are memorable as they contain glimpses of Southampton's best. Actually, they've drawn three on the trot including away to Stoke City and at home to Arsenal, both of which they probably "should" have won. But that's football for ya.
Chelsea: Judging by how things went last time away to a "Ham" - etymology issues aside - we should not be overly confident. And judging by how things went last time out, period - or last two times, in fact - we should also not be overly confident. So should we be overly confident? Yes. Yes we should.
So'ton are still fairly abject and are likely to rest some if not all their non-injured actually decent players in a bid to concentrate on Premier League survival. And since Chelsea "rotated" for the midweek match, some of their non-injured actually decent players should get the start tomorrow. I'm looking at you Juan Mata and/or Eden Hazard and/or Demba Ba.
What was that last one? DrogBA? Close enough.
Date/Time: Saturday, January 5, 2013, 15:00 GMT; 10 A.M. EST; 8:30 P.M. IST
Venue: St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton
TV Information: none (UK); Fox Soccer (USA); ESPN (India)