Next Sunday, January 5, 2014 (6:15 AM Pacific), Chelsea will travel to Pride Park (that has been recently renamed to iPro Stadium due to a millionaire sponsorship contract), home of Derby County to play Round 3 of the FA Cup.
Derby County has been enjoying a good campaign in the Championship so far. The Rams sit comfortably at the 4th place of the table with just three points less than Burnley (2nd), that currently occupies the last automatic promotion spot of the table.
The home side’s boss, the experienced English head coach Steve McClaren, is leading a team that has been particularly impressive when it comes to goal scoring this season. The Rams have scored 48 goals in 24 Championship matches so far, with Chris Martin and Craig Bryson in particular good form. Derby County, on the other hand, has not been so impressive on their defensive department. The team allowed 30 goals in 24 matches, which clearly indicates that something is wrong back there.
For next Sunday’s match, Steve McClaren will not be able to count on the team’s striker, Johnny Russell, who is still recovering from a fractured cheekbone. McClaren will also have doubts about the team’s key midfielder, Craig Bryson, who picked up a minor injury against Wigan during New Year’s day match.
As for Chelsea, the festive period has been quite positive. During their last Premier League match, the London team grabbed an important win at St. Mary’s Stadium against Southampton and maintained the two points difference to the league leaders Arsenal.
José Mourinho’s team has clearly been improving over the recent matches and they are somehow smashing the criticism that had been creeping up against the team and the manager.
For next Sunday’s match, José Mourinho will not be able to rely on the presences of Frank Lampard and Branislav Ivanovic, due to short time injuries, and Marco van Ginkel that is on his rehabilitation process after a complicated knee injury.
Derby County vs Chelsea Prediction
Derby County’s firepower might scare the UEFA Europa League holders, but that will probably not be enough to defeat a Chelsea side that is surely enjoying their best moment of the season so far. This being said, the most likely outcome is 3-1 to Chelsea.
Derby County vs Chelsea Television
The match will be televised on Fox Sports USA 1 and Fox Deportes at 6:15 AM Pacific.
Derby County 0-2 Chelsea Highlights