Chelsea vs Luton | Sunday 24th January 2021, 12:00 | BBC
Championship side Luton Town make the short trip from Bedfordshire down to the capital as they face off against a Chelsea side who’ve come in for some heavy criticism of late due to their lacklustre performances.
Boss Frank Lampard is under immense pressure after heavy investment during the summer window raised expectations which, unfortunately for them, they are falling well short of.
The Blues have won just three of their last 10 league games and these results have left them hovering around mid-table. The FA Cup can provide some solace given their record. They breezed past Morecambe in the last round and will hope a victory here can fill them with some confidence when they return to Premier League action.
The Hatters meanwhile will be appearing in the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time in eight years after beating Reading 1-0 in the previous round.
Nathan Jones' side last overcame top flight opposition in this competition back in 2012/13 when they overcame Norwich at Carrow road. They will no doubt be huge underdogs when they travel to West London but they’ll feel they’re in with a chance given the uncertainty surrounding the blues at the moment.
● Commit on average 12.6 fouls per game when playing at home this season.
● Receive on average 8.3 fouls per game when playing at home this season.
● Have won six of their last seven FA Cup matches.
● Have been winning at both half-time/full-time in five of their last seven FA Cup games.
● Have been over 2.5 goals in their last three FA Cup matches.
● Frank Lampard is expected to ring the changes after Tuesday night's poor 2-0 defeat to Leicester.
● N'Golo Kante is unlikely to be risked, with Thiago Silva also due a rest. Olivier Giroud is a slight doubt with an ankle injury.
● Look for fit-again Andreas Christensen to partner up with Kurt Zouma at centre-back, with Kepa coming into the side in goal. Emerson and Cesar Azpilicueta could complete an entirely new back five from midweek.
● Jorginho, Billy Gilmour, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech will also push for starts on Sunday.
● Kai Havertz and Callum Hudson-Odoi both disappointed against Leicester but will hope for another chance to impress this weekend.
● Commit on average 13.7 fouls per game when playing away this season.
● Receive on average 12.5 fouls per game when playing at home this season.
● Have been under 2.5 goals in five of Luton Town’s last six FA Cup games.
● Have not claimed victory away from home since the beginning of November last year.
● Tom Lockyer was shown a straight red card in midweek and is now suspended. Glen Rea may drop into defence again.
● Martin Cranie and Eunan O'Kane remain sidelined for the Championship outfit.
Referee: David Coote
● Averages 3.46 yellow cards per game this season, after awarding 45 yellow cards in 13 appearances.
● In his last 20 games officiated, the home side has seen at least a card in 18 of them –
Both of these picks are Bet Builders from Bet365.
My first pick is for there to be over 23.5 free kicks awarded in the match and for there to be under 4 cards awarded for both teams combined.
Both of these sides commit a high number of fouls on average per game this season in their respect home and away matches. Looking at the motivation for this one, Chelsea need to get a win under their belts and will see this as the perfect opportunity to do so. They will be right up for this one and so I expect a high intensity and expansive brand of football from Lampard’s men in this one.
Luton are the underdogs and have a free hit on the Premier League side. They’re currently sitting in mid-table in the Championship and are somewhat over performing in comparison to the expectations on them prior to the new season starting.
Bet365 include offsides in their free kick tallies and Luton Town’s backline, on average have caused their opponents to be caught offside roughly 2.2 times per game.
In Chelsea’s last five home FA Cup matches against sides from lower divisions, the card count has been under four on all five occasions.
Whilst I see this being an exciting game, I don't see referee David Coote writing many names into his book.
With this in mind, i think just over evens is a great price.
My second bet is for Chelsea to keep a clean sheet and for the blues to be winning at half-time and full-time.
Remarkably, Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in nine of their last ten home FA Cup fixtures, including games against Liverpool and Manchester United. They have faced the Red Devils twice at Stamford Bridge in this competition in recent years and the reds are the only side to have scored against Chelsea in that time.
Meanwhile, Luton edged past Reading in the last round by a goal to nil but had failed to score in their previous three in this competition.
Lampard's side have been winning at both half-time and full-time in seven of their last 10 FA Cup ties played at Stamford Bridge with many of those being against top flight opposition.
With pressure building on Lampard at the moment, he will see this as the perfect opportunity to get a victory under their belts. As such, I'm expecting a strong lineup and an equally strong performance against a Luton Town side who may find themselves out of their depth.