Chelsea vs Preston North End

Stamford Bridge is the venue as Chelsea and Preston North End lock horns in a ‘David vs Goliath’ FA Cup tie.

Chelsea couldn’t have hoped for a better way to draw 2023 to a close than to beat Luton Town 3-2 on the road, making it three wins in their last four Premier League outing (L1). Indeed, Mauricio Pochettino’s men come into proceedings in high spirits, in part thanks to their 100% win record against Preston and the fact that both their previous H2H triumphs in the 21st century have yielded a two-goal margin. Moreover, after a long-standing struggle at home, the ‘Blues’ have turned Stamford Bridge into a fortress again, racking up a six-game unbeaten run (W4, D2 – 90mins only). It’s also worth noting that barring a penalty shoot-out win against Newcastle United, they’ve tallied 2+ goals in all five remaining matches during that sequence.

On the other hand, Preston’s 2024 action was off to a dismal start, with Sunderland putting two unanswered first-half goals past the ‘Lilywhites’ en route to a 2-0 victory on New Year’s Day. That slip-up at the Stadium of Light marked Preston’s fourth defeat in five games (W1), intensifying pressure on manager Ryan Lowe. Only a few still remember Preston’s last title in the FA Cup as it was back in 1938, while their most recent win against Chelsea dates back to 1981. But a repeat of that result seems unlikely as they’ve only won once on their last five domestic travels (D1, L3), diminishing their chances of staging an upset in West London.

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