Chelsea vs Portsmouth Preview

Pompey fans are looking forward to tomorrow's trip to Stamford Bridge hoping their team can cause a major upset and get a result.

Team News

Luke Varney and Ricardo Rocha are struggling to be fit for this game with their respective injuries but Joel Ward and Greg Halford return from their suspensions.

Chelsea will be without Didier Drogba and Saloman Kalou who have departed for the African Nations Cup whilst John Terry is a major doubt with a knee injury.

The Match

When this draw was first announced I was worried that we would be in for a thrashing at the Bridge but in truth this tie could not have come at a better time for us if there is to be a genuine hope of an upset tomorrow.

The pressure is on Andres Villas-Boas after his team scraped a fortunate win against lowly Wolves last week and they were beaten 3-1 by mediocre Aston Villa the last time they played at home.

On the other hand, Pompey come into this game after arguably their best performance of the season against Watford and a good showing at Leicester where we really should have won.

The major factor in that upturn of form has been the introduction of Marko Futacs to the side and I believe he'll be a handful for the Chelsea defence tomorrow, especially as they have kepy hardly any clean sheets this season.

Whilst it may be fantastic to see Pompey fans so optimistic about our chances, we have to remember that this is still 4th in the Premier League vs 17th in the Championship and the home side still possess some outstanding players.

Fernando Torres has had a terrible time since his move to Liverpool but has ripped better Pompey teams than the current one apart in the past, whilst their midfielders are still high calibre even if the likes of Frank Lampard are on the wane.

The pre-match amble from Michael Appleton was the usual spiel of making his team "hard to beat" and "focusing on his own team" but I say, why not just go for it?

The Chelsea fans certainly won't be expecting it, and I doubt their players would expect it either. We have nothing to lose, the pressure is on them and if we could score first then the crowd would soon get agitated.

Hope is a wonderful thing, isn't it? It's the main reason we all watch our team and 1,500 Pompey fans will be full ot it tomorrow.

Who knows? After all these years of getting beaten by Chelsea (no victory over them since 1960) the "magic of the cup" may strike at Stamford Bridge and there is a chance, albeit a small one, that there will be a special result tomorrow.

And if not, then we can just "concentrate on the league".

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Chelsea

GK: Petr CECH

RB: Jose BOSINGWA

CB: David LUIZ

CB: Branislav IVANOVIC

LB: Ashley COLE

CM: Oriol ROMEU

CM: Raul MEIRELES

CM: Frank LAMPARD

RWF: Daniel STURRIDGE

LWF: Juan MATA

CF: Fernando TORRES

Pompey

GK: Stephen HENDERSON

RB: Greg HALFORD

CB: Aaron MOKOENA

CB: Jason PEARCE

LB: Tal BEN-HAIM

RM: Liam LAWRENCE

CM: Hayden MULLINS

CM: David NORRIS

LM: Joel WARD

SS: Dave KITSON

CF: Marko FUTACS

Last Time: Chelsea 1 Portsmouth 0 (FA Cup Final 2010 - 15/05/2010)

Avram Grant took on his former club at Wembley as Chelsea hit the woodwork no less than five times in the first half that ended goalless.

The second half will always be remembered for Kevin-Prince Boateng's heartbreaking penalty miss. Who knows what would happened had he scored? He didn't, Drogba crashed in a free kick just minutes later and then Lampard missed a penalty at the death to give Pompey fans that little bit of hope.

No equaliser would come despite the trying and Pompey lost with their heads held high, singing songs loudly through the Chelsea "celebrations" that followed.

My Prediction

My heart says that we're taking on Chelsea in poor form and despite our own form we can give them a game and we can work hard enough to keep them out, whilst Futacs has shown he can be a handful for any defence.

However, my head says that you only have to look at their team sheet to see how difficult this task is going to be, even if the aura of invincibility that Chelsea used to have at Stamford Bridge is gone.

Let' just enjoy the day and see what happens.

Chelsea 3 Portsmouth 1