FA Cup preview: Tottenham Hotspur v. Chelsea

Here we go again.

Just two days after demolishing Sheffield United, Chelsea travel the short distance to White Hart Lane for an FA Cup sixth round replay.

The first meeting at Stamford Bridge produced a classic (for the neutral) 3-3 draw which will be spoken of for many seasons to come. Trailing 1-3 at half time, Jose Mourinho engineered a brilliant comeback during which he had just two recognised defenders on the pitch.

I’d hazard a guess that most of us don’t want to witness a similar scenario in this game.

Chelsea’s unbeaten record at White Hart Lane stretched back to 1987 prior to last November’s shock defeat in the Premiership.

That day Martin Jol got his tactics spot on. Robbie Keane and Aaron Lennon terrorised Paulo Ferreira and Khalid Boulahrouz at right-back, and it was this that ultimately cost Chelsea the game.

It could be said that Mourinho didn’t learn his lesson.

In the first meeting at the Bridge, Ferreira lined up at right-back and was once again like a duck out of water, so much so that he was substituted after 34 minutes. Within five of those minutes on the pitch he had allowed Jermain Defoe to breeze past him setting in motion the move that led to Spurs’ opening goal.

Will Mourinho give Ferreira a third chance against Spurs’ flying wingers? I’m hoping not.

In team news, Michael Essien could return from the knee injury he suffered in the first game between the sides, while Jon Obi Mikel is available after suspension.

Dimitar Berbatov, Robbie Keane and Aaron Lennon are expected to return to Spurs’ starting line-up after being rested for the win over Watford at the weekend.

Spurs’ victory last Guy Fawkes’ Day was their first in 11 against Chelsea in all competitions. The North Londoners are currently enjoying a fine run of form and have scored 26 goals in their last eight games.

Chelsea are undefeated in 13 League and Cup games and have won their last three away from home.

It should be quite a night.