After failing to take advantage of their home fixture last month, Chelsea will travel to St. Andrews on Tuesday as heavy odds on favorites with Betfred, in the hopes that they can make the best out of what has been a disappointing season.
The game will be Chelsea’s first since the weekend sacking of Andre Villas-Boas after the 1-0 loss at West Brom, with Roberto di Matteo taking the reins of the side.
The Italian has called on his players to show “more passion” as they head into the latter stages of the season but with reports emerging that the caretaker manager isn’t a popular figure in the Blues dressing room, it will be interesting to see if Chelsea can show a turn in form against this week’s Championship opposition.
With just one win in their last six league outings, the FA Cup will bring a welcome distraction to Chelsea’s poor Premier League form this campaign.
After their Champions League first leg outing against Napoli, the FA Cup appears to be the West London outfit’s best chance for silverware in 2012.
Ezequiel Lavezzi’s classy performance contributed to the Serie A side’s 3-1 victory and given current form, Chelsea will surely be favourites to exit the European competition.
With one of the best goal differences in England’s second tier, Birmingham City have shown that they have the potential to score goals this season.
Chris Hughton has allowed the likes of Nathan Redmond, Nikola Zigic and Marlon King to shine this campaign and with Chelsea looking vulnerable at the back, the home side will be confident of scoring once again after opening the scoring in the reverse fixture in February.
The Blues are in great form but do have some injury concerns coming into the game with Stephen Carr, Steve Caldwell and David Murphy all missing at the back, while Ashley Cole looks likely to miss the trip after sustaining a knock to his ankle in the defeat to West Brom last weekend.
John Terry and Jose Boswinga will both be missing in the Chelsea back four with the ex England captain still not over his troublesome knee injury, however Ramires is one name ruled out of the Chelsea selection for definite.