This weekend’s FA Cup action brings together two teams from different divisions but there is familiarity with Forest. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton look at our third-round tie…
Chelsea and Nottingham Forest, your fate awaits you. It is Twelfth Night on Sunday, and the FA Cup is just the stage for a player to channel Shakespeare’s wise observation (via Malvolio) that ‘some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them’.
Stamford Bridge will usher in the Twenties with a repeat of last season’s opening round of the FA Cup, at home to the Reds, which finished 2-0 to Chelsea. As the two clubs also met in the 2017/18 League Cup, a 5-1 Blues win, this is our third knockout encounter in as many seasons.
Another victory for us would be the seventh in succession against Forest, who have failed to find the net in any of our past four meetings in this competition.
Most FA Cup wins
Arsenal 13Manchester United 12Chelsea 8Tottenham Hotspur 8Liverpool 7Aston Villa 7Manchester City 6Newcastle United 6Blackburn Rovers 6
Ringing the changes
Both clubs have endured a testing three league matches across seven days, and it will be interesting to see the relative strength of Sunday’s starting 11s.
Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea selection in the same match last season featured teenagers Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ethan Ampadu, and there may be openings for the likes of Marc Guehi, Billy Gilmour, Tariq Lamptey this weekend.
Under coach Sabri Lamouchi, Forest have been gritty this season. Lewis Grabban grabbed two goals in the 3-2 home beating of Blackburn Rovers on New Year’s Day, making it three straight wins for the resurgent Reds, and 14 this season for the much-loaned former Bournemouth poacher, who began his career at Palace.
As the 31-year-old is Forest’s only out and out marksman, the club’s priorities will become clear if he is not in their starting 4-2-3-1 on Sunday.
Elsewhere in their ranks, midfield general Samba Sow returned from injury over Christmas, while the unorthodox goalkeeper Brice Samba may have some older Chelsea fans thinking back to Petar Borota (who infamously picked the ball out of the net at the City Ground six times in March 1979).
Back on the Wembley trail
The west Londoners have a love affair with this competition. The Blues have reached two of the previous three finals and have set the pace over the past quarter-century with the most successes and appearances. Forest last played the Wembley showpiece in 1991, when the great Brian Clough was in charge.
Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis’s home has a place in Chelsea history. Although this is a repeat of last season’s fixture at the same stage, we face a club on more of an upward trajectory after two decades in the relative doldrums.
Forest were relegated in 1999 and dropped to the third tier in 2005. Going into the weekend, though, they are fourth in the Championship, nine points behind the top two, Leeds and West Brom, and their Greek owner has big plans for the sleeping giant.
Marinakis was only three years old on 21 May 1971 when Ossie and co. famously beat Real Madrid 2-1 at the Karaiskakis stadium in his home town of Piraeus, the port of Athens, to win the Cup Winners’ Cup. Forty years later the wealthy shipping magnate became owner and president of Olympiacos, who play their home games on that same pitch.
Marinakis added Nottingham Forest to his portfolio in May 2017 and a month after the Reds lost 2-0 at the Bridge in January 2019, he announced plans to regenerate the City Ground. A year on, Forest claim phase one of the redevelopment, the Peter Taylor Stand, will be ‘the biggest investment in the club in over 20 years.’
Lamouchi and King Didi
Aitor Karanka was in the dugout for Forest at the Bridge this time last year. Their current coach Lamouchi, who succeeded Martin O’Neill last June, was in charge of Ivory Coast during the 2014 World Cup, and infamously left Didier Drogba, the Elephants’ all-time leading goalscorer (65 in 105 appearances) on the bench for the first two group games, preferring Wilfried Bony.
‘Even if he’s not in the match, his importance is very great for us,’ the coach said of Drogba at the time, but the legendary Chelsea striker, who was to return to the Bridge from Galatasaray a few weeks later, later wrote ‘my presence was too much for him to handle. Maybe he felt threatened by me and as a result didn’t want me around.’
Lamouchi resigned his position after the west Africans failed to progress from the group and, soon after, Drogba retired from international football.
Those who survive round three of the FA Cup will discover their next opponents when the fourth round draw is made after Monday evening’s Wolves-Liverpool match live on BBC One.
A minute can mean a lot
Why the unusual FA Cup kick-off times, we hear you ask. The answer is that the FA has teamed up with mental health charities for the Take A Minute campaign to raise awareness of the need to look after our mental health.
It is often at this time of year we are reminded that our minds as well as our bodies need looking after. Stress or depression can be every bit as life-affecting as a broken bone or heart condition, and we all need a little extra help every now and then.
It is hoped a moment’s delay on Sunday can lead some supporters to a lifetime’s wellbeing, starting conversations that begin to remove the stigma still attached to mental ill-health.
Before kick-off a film will be shown inside stadiums, pointing spectators towards the broader Every Mind Matters campaign, and its strategies for self-help and healing.
FA Cup regulations 2019/20
Although Video Assistant Referees will not be used across all matches in the FA Cup until the quarter-finals, all those played at Premier League grounds in this and ensuing rounds will use VAR including (unlike last season) Chelsea versus Forest.
Yellow and red cards shown to players are again specific to the competition in which the offence takes place. Two cautions in the FA Cup will mean a one-game ban.
Further down the line, and in order to accommodate a staggered break for top-flight clubs in February, round five of the FA Cup will become a midweek affair, with no replays and all matches settled on the night.
FA Cup prize money 2019/20
Round three winners (32) £135,000Round four winners (16) £180,000Round five winners (8) £360,000Quarter-final winners (4) £720,000Semi-final winners (2) £1.8mSemi-final losers (2) £900,000Final runners-up (1) £1.8mFinal winners (1) £3.6m
If the scores are level after 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge there will be a replay at the City Ground on Wednesday 15 January, subject to selection for TV broadcast.
The retro ’69/70 shirt – know your numbers
Nike’s homage to the 1969/70 FA Cup-winning strip will be worn on Sunday but those fans wanting to pay homage to a past hero might want to read this first to avoid coming a cropper.
For authenticity, the royal blue and gold was not used at Wembley, only the replay, and while Peter Osgood remained 9, Hutchinson 10 etc, the numbers of one or two favourites were less predictable.
Match-winner Dave Webb, for instance, had worn 5 most of the season and 2 in the final, but donned 6 in the replay. Ron Harris was the opposite: 6 for the first match, 2 for the second.
Charlie Cooke, generally 7, had 11 on his back at Wembley but 8 when he set up Ossie’s equaliser at Old Trafford; Peter Houseman was the opposite way round.
1969/70 replay shirt numbers
1 Peter Bonetti2 Ron Harris3 Eddie McCreadie4 John Hollins5 John Dempsey6 David Webb7 Tommy Baldwin8 Charlie Cooke9 Peter Osgood10 Ian Hutchinson11 Peter Houseman12 Marvin Hinton
The 1970 FA Cup final is available to stream now on The 5th Stand
FA Cup third round fixtures (featuring Premier League clubs)
SaturdayRochdale v Newcastle 12.31pm (BT Sport)Brighton v Sheffield Wednesday 12.31pmBurnley v Peterborough 12.31pmFulham v Aston Villa 3.01pmPreston v Norwich 3.01pmSouthampton v Huddersfield 3.01pmWatford v Tranmere 3.01pmBournemouth v Luton 5.31pmLeicester v Wigan 5.31pmManchester City v Port Vale 5.31pmWolves v Manchester United 5.31pm (BT Sport)
SundayChelsea v Nottingham Forest 2.01pmCrystal Palace v Derby 2.01pmMiddlesbrough v Tottenham 2.01pm (BT Sport)Sheffield United v AFC Fylde 2.01pmLiverpool v Everton 4.01pm (BBC One)Gillingham v West Ham 6.16pm (BT Sport)
MondayArsenal v Leeds 7.56pm (BBC One)