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Claims that the FA Cup is fast becoming dead in the water may be exaggerated, however the fact remains that the competition has become something of a hindrance to some clubs at this stage of the season. This is an unfortunate state of affairs for what is the world’s most famous knock-out football competition but the fact remains that the sport is now ‘big-money’ and for Premier League clubs, far more importance is being attached to avoiding relegation or grabbing a Champions League berth.
The FA Cup is still a massive competition and highly regarded by smaller clubs who have a chance to give the big boys a hiding, however for the likes of Chelsea and Newcastle United, they will have their minds concentrated on other things entirely.
OK so a piece of silverware is all very nice, however Chelsea are in a battle for a top-four finish in the Premier League and with it a chance to progress in the lucrative Champions League. Newcastle United will almost certainly be aiming for Premier League survival at all costs, therefore this meeting between the two sides at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon may prove a bit of a damp squib.
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The Blues remain very well placed to grab a top-four finish with Antonio Conte’s men sitting third in the league table. In contrast Newcastle United sit just three points above the bottom of the table as things stand and we don’t envisage them putting up too much of a fight in this weekend’s cup clash. Both managers will almost certainly rest a handful of key players, however an under-strength Chelsea will prove too much of a handful for an under-strength Newcastle United and we envisage the hosts extending their stay in this competition by winning-to-nil at Stamford Bridge this weekend.
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