Chelsea v Huddersfield Town

If anybody’s wondering why it’s been a tad quiet around here of late, it’s because earlier this week I made the mistake of buying and installing the 2006 version of Football Manager. As anyone who’s familiar with this particular computer game (or its previous incarnation as Championship Manager) will tell you, it’s unbelievably addictive and once you succumb all semblance of ‘normal’ life slips by the wayside. Suffice it to say, I’m doing quite well managing the mighty Blues and have made some cracking signings, but that’s a story for another day because there’s a slightly more important matter to think about, namely a real FA Cup Third Round tie against League One side Huddersfield Town, a team 48 League places below us.

Jose Mourinho will definitely rest John Terry and Frank Lampard for this match, while new loan signing Maniche isn’t yet fully match fit. Four squad players have been promised the chance to prove themselves: Glen Johnson, Robert Huth, Wayne Bridge and Carlton Cole will all start and have been warned that if they cannot beat a side of Huddersfield’s calibre then they can forget about being first-team regulars.

“If they cannot cope with these responsibilities of playing Cup matches against Huddersfield, they are here for nothing,”? Mourinho said. “So if they have the ambition to play regularly for Chelsea, they have to play very serious against Huddersfield and win the game. With all the respect they [Huddersfield] deserve, we have to win the game.

“I have to give them big responsibility to play this game. It’s a game with a lot of responsibility because if you lose, you are out of the competition. In Glen, Robert, Wayne and Carlton we have a lot of good players and I must give them the responsibility to play against Huddersfield. But I am not waiting for an easy game.”?

Prediction: The last time we played Huddersfield was in 1999 when they defeated us 1-0 in the third round of the League Cup. Things have moved on a bit since then but there’s still the potential for one of those infamous giant-killings that the FA Cup invariably produces, especially considering the number of changes to the starting eleven that Mourinho’s promised. At this stage last season League Two side Scunthorpe took the lead and gave us a scare at the Bridge before succumbing to goals from Mateja Kezman and Eidur Gudjohnsen and gifting us an own goal. The Terriers are sure to be equally as dogged (sorry!), and have nothing to lose, but it’s impossible to envisage anything but a win for the Blues. 3-0.

Related links:

Chelsea 2 – 1 Huddersfield Town · Update

Match reports: BBC Sport; Sky Sports; ESPNSoccernet; Sporting Life; Official Chelsea FC Website; Sunday Times; Independent on Sunday; The Observer; Sunday Telegraph; The Guardian; The Independent; The Times; Daily Telegraph.

Related links: