Chelsea VS Luton Town – LIVE Reddit Soccer 02/03/2022
Chelsea will be looking to keep their chances of winning the FA Cup alive when they take on EFL Championship outfit Luton Town in the fifth round of the competition at Kenilworth Road on Wednesday night. Chelsea head into the midweek encounter after losing to Liverpool in the final of the Carabao Cup in a close encounter that was decided on penalties. Having already won two trophies this term, the Blues missed out on a third one narrowly and will want to produce a strong reaction and advance through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, having gotten past Chesterfield and Plymouth Argyle in the last two rounds.
Luton Town, meanwhile, are enjoying a good season in the Championship, as they sit sixth in the table and are contenders to earn a spot in the playoffs. The Hatters made light work of Harrogate Town and Cambridge United in their last two FA Cup fixtures and go into the clash against Chelsea on the back of three consecutive victories, beating Derby County 1-0 in their most recent outing. The last time Chelsea and Luton Town faced each other was in the FA Cup last year, with the Blues emerging 3-1 winners. Ahead of their upcoming encounter at Kenilworth Road, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Luke Berry, Jordain Clark, Robert Snodgrass are all set to miss out due to injuries, while manager Nathan Jones also insisted that he will not be risking the fatigued Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu. Henri Lansbury came out with a knock against Derby County and is a doubt for the contest. Elijah Adebayo was also taken off with a knock and could be touch-and-go against Chelsea. The Hatters are expected to line up in a 3-5-2 formation in front of goalkeeper Jed Steer, with Jones expected to field his strongest XI in search of an upset against the European and World champions. Reece Burke, Tom Lockyer and Kal Naismith should form the three-man defensive rearguard that will look to repel the Chelsea forwards.
James Bree and Amari’i Bell ought to take up the wing-back slots and look to provide attacking width when Luton are in possession. However, with Chelsea likely to have most of the ball on Wednesday, the duo could end up dropping deep to form a five-person backline. Gabriel Osho will be expected to sit deep in the middle of the park and provide an extra layer of security. Should he be passed fit, Lansbury ought to partner Osho in the centre while the third slot could be taken up by Allan Campbell, who has scored four goals this season.
Hakim Ziyech will miss out again for Chelsea after sitting out of the Carabao Cup with an injury. Ben Chilwell remains a long-term absentee, while Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta are also major doubts. The German tactician is expected to make several changes to the team that started Sunday evening. Edouard Mendy, who put up a brilliant display in the Carabao Cup final, could make way for Kepa Arrizabalaga, who is likely to be low on confidence after his shootout disaster against Liverpool and will be gunning to bounce back.
Having fallen at the final hurdle in one domestic cup competition already this season, Chelsea will aim to take a step towards another Wembley outing when they take on Luton Town in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Wednesday. While the Blues suffered penalty shootout heartache to Liverpool in the EFL Cup final at the weekend, Luton’s top-six Championship hopes were boosted with a narrow success over Derby County.
Luton Town playing in the Premier League is surely not something that many of their supporters could have ever envisaged, but their playoff destiny is now in their own hands after a sparkling run of form in England’s second tier. Taking on a Derby County side with a desperate need for points of their own at the other end of the table, Nathan Jones’s side struck through substitute Danny Hylton in the 67th minute for a slender 1-0 win – one which was enough to see them displace Sheffield United in sixth spot.
As a result, Luton prepare to host Chelsea having won each of their last three in the second tier, and despite coming up against giant-killers Cambridge United in the fourth round of the FA Cup, the Hatters were in no mood to suffer an upset as they strolled to a 3-0 win. A 4-0 win over Harrogate Town in round three also contributed to Luton’s best run in the FA Cup since the 2012-13 season – when they were dumped out by Millwall at this stage – and not since the 1993-94 tournament have the second-tier outfit managed to progress further.
Chelsea dumped them out in the semi-finals that year and also have recent experience in overcoming Jones’s men in the prestigious cup competition, but Luton have won six of their last seven at Kenilworth Road in all competitions and will be taking on a Chelsea side with several battle scars. In a reversal of fortunes from the 2018-19 EFL Cup final, Thomas Tuchel did not think twice about bringing Kepa Arrizabalaga onto the field against Liverpool with penalties looming – in spite of Edouard Mendy enjoying an arguably flawless game over the course of 118 minutes.
It was a decision that ultimately backfired on the German coach – who witnessed his side spurn numerous gilt-edged opportunities and have three goals disallowed at Wembley – as Kepa blazed his spot kick over the bar in sudden death to hand Liverpool their record ninth EFL Cup crown. While Kepa made all the headlines for the wrong reasons at Wembley, Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount should have put the tie to bed for Chelsea in the first half, and the Blues will be more determined than ever to rectify their lack of ruthlessness at Kenilworth Road.
Defeat in the EFL Cup final ended a six-game winning run in all tournaments for the Blues, who needed extra time to get past Plymouth Argyle in the fourth round, but not since the 2014-15 season have the European champions been knocked out of the FA Cup by lower-league opposition. Luton and Chelsea will be locking horns for the second tournament running this week, with Tammy Abraham scoring a hat-trick for the Blues in a 3-1 fourth-round win back in January 2021, but Frank Lampard’s tenure in the dugout came to an end not long afterwards.