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Making new acquaintances

While Chelsea have played against new opponents on three occasions in this season’s Champions League, our FA Cup tie against Morecambe this weekend represents our first maiden game against an English club since 2016.

The League Two outfit will be the 107th English team the Blues have faced in a competitive match but it has not been a regular occurrence in recent times with only five matches against new English opposition over the past 30 years.

Barnet – FA Cup, Jan 1994

Formed in 1888 and promoted to the Football League in 1991, Barnet were in the third tier when they were handed a third-round FA Cup tie against the Blues in 1993/94.

The Bees opted to relocate the game from Underhill to Stamford Bridge in order to bring in more fans and they surprised Glenn Hoddle’s side by forcing a 0-0 draw in the initial meeting.

However, the Blues dominated the replay at the Bridge with Craig Burley and Gavin Peacock giving us a two-goal lead at half-time. Mark Stein and Neil Shipperley also struck after the interval to seal a 4-0 win as we embarked on a run which took us all the way to the final for the first time in 24 years.

Colchester United – FA Cup, Feb 2006

While Colchester United have spent most of the past 70 years in the Football League, their first match against Chelsea was an FA Cup fifth-round visit to the Bridge in 2005/06.

The Essex side were flying high in League One at the time and they took a surprise lead against the reigning Premier League champions when Ricardo Carvalho deflected a cross into his own net after 28 minutes.

A rare goal by Paulo Ferreira (one of only two in 217 games for the club) levelled things up and Joe Cole netted twice in the second half, snapping up a rebound after the Colchester goalkeeper had parried Hernan Crespo’s shot before firing in a long-range stunner to seal a 3-1 win.

Macclesfield Town – FA Cup, Jan 2007

It was a special day for Frank Lampard when the Blues met League Two side Macclesfield for the first time in 2007 in an FA Cup third-round tie at the Bridge.

The Silkmen threatened a surprise when John Murphy cancelled out Lampard’s opening goal in the 40th minute but our stand-in captain quickly restored our lead a minute later with a crisp low drive before he completed his first Chelsea hat-trick from the penalty spot early in the second half.

Goalkeeper Tommy Lee had been sent off for a foul on Andriy Shevchenko which led to the penalty and the home side showed little mercy as Shaun Wright-Phillips, Carvalho and John Mikel Obi, with his first goal for the Blues, also found the net in an emphatic 6-1 victory which set us off on our run to a fourth FA Cup triumph.

Wycombe Wanderers – League Cup, Jan 2007

Just days after the match against Macclesfield, we again faced League Two opponents when we met surprise package Wycombe Wanderers in the League Cup semi-finals.

The Chairboys, who were promoted to the Football League for the first time in 1993, had produced shock wins at Premier League sides Fulham and Charlton Athletic on their run to the last four and they appeared to be on the verge of a bigger surprise after a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Adams Park.

However, their hopes of advancing further were dashed in the second leg in west London as doubles by Andriy Shevchenko and Lampard secured a 4-0 victory with sent us through to a meeting in the final with Arsenal.

MK Dons – FA Cup, Jan 2016

Oscar produced his only Chelsea hat-trick when the Blues ran riot in our first-ever match against MK Dons in the fourth round of the FA Cup in 2015/16.

The Brazilian tapped in Diego Costa’s cross for the opener in the 15th minute and after the hosts had levelled with a fortuitous deflected shot, he put us back in charge with a pair of clinical finishes which put us 3-1 up by half-time.

Eden Hazard added a fourth from the penalty spot before substitute Bertrand Traore also found the net minutes after coming on to seal an emphatic 5-1 win at Stadium MK.

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