Middlesbrough v Chelsea: Predicted line-up
Chelsea will be without Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta for the trip to the north-east
Chelsea will be without defenders Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta for Wednesday's FA Cup game with Middlesbrough.
Rafael Benitez revealed in a pre-match press conference that Cahill has a virus, while Azpilicueta has pain in his leg and will not be available. Chelsea's only other injured player is Oriol Romeu, but the Spaniard is out until the summer.
This will likely mean that captain John Terry will return to the side in a game manager Rafael Benitez can ill afford to lose. The FA Cup offers him a chance of a break from the relentless Premier League, where Chelsea have stumbled in recent weeks and have slipped down to fourth.
The FA Cup may still offer a chance of silverware for Chelsea but the winners of this tie have the unenviable task of a trip to Old Trafford.
Benitez seems to have rotated strikers Fernando Torres and Demba Ba in recent weeks. The Senegalese star played at the weekend, which could mean that Torres is likely to get the nod in this one.
Brazilian Oscar also started on the bench against Manchester City, so may start at the Riverside. Ryan Bertrand could replace Ashley Cole at left back, as per the current rotation policy at Stamford Bridge. It would be nice to see Marko Marin feature but I expect him to start on the bench as well.
Middlesbrough will be without Lukas Jutkiewicz (ankle) and Jonathan Woodgate (calf), while Stuart Parnaby, Justin Hoyte and Julio Arca all miss out. Kieron Dyer and Sammy Ameobi both are ineligible after playing for QPR and Newcastle respectively whilst Josh McEachran is unavailable against his parent club.
Whatever the lineup, Chelsea should have enough quality to progress and I expect them to get through to the quarter finals. If they do not, Rafael Benitez must be prepared to face the music.
Likely Chelsea lineup to face Middlesbrough:
Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, David Luiz, Bertrand, Ramires, Mikel, Moses, Oscar, Hazard, Torres
Prediciton: Middlesbrough 1-3 Chelsea
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