Sunday brought another domestic cup final defeat for Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea, his second in just over a year since replacing Frank Lampard in the Stamford Bridge dugout. Of course, the pain of the penalty-shootout defeat to Liverpool in the Carabao cup will have been eased across the year by the fact that Chelsea have won the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup, but fans will want to see the Blues back amongst the best domestically. They do still have a chance to do that in the FA Cup this year.
Chelsea were losing finalists in the FA Cup last season, beaten 1-0 by Leicester City at Wembley thanks to Youri Tieleman’s rocket, their second consecutive year as runners-up. Their quest for a ninth FA Cup title has so far seen Chelsea face lower-league opposition in each of their past two rounds. The Blues entered the competition with a 5-1 win over National League side Chesterfield before just edging past League One’s Plymouth after extra-time, with both games coming at Stamford Bridge. Will they make it three victories against lower-league sides in a row?
Luton are having a pretty fabulous season both in the league and FA Cup, and will be looking to pile on Chelsea’s misery while continue their own story. The Hatters are currently sixth in the Championship, occupying the final play-off spot as things stand, with a game in hand on three of the teams above them. Luton haven’t been in the top flight of English football since 1991/92 when they were relegated in the final season pre-Premier League, dropping as low as the fourth tier in 2001/02.
In the FA Cup this season Luton have been the dream killers, facing lower-league opposition in each of their two matches so far. In the third round the Hatters beat League Two side Harrogate Town 4-0 and followed that up with a 3-0 win over Cambridge United of League One. Seven goals scored with two clean sheets, the Hatters will be hopeful of an upset.
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Luton vs Chelsea: Match Stats
Chelsea may have failed to score against Liverpool in their Carabao Cup defeat but the Blues did look dangerous in attack at times, particularly Kai Havertz. The German is clearly Tuchel’s favoured No.9 right now and has scored in two of this five domestic cup appearances so far this season.
One of the reasons Chelsea didn’t score against Liverpool was due to their offsides, with three goals ruled out – including one that was extremely close on Romelu Lukaku in extra-time (but still correct). In the Premier League alone this season, Chelsea have been caught offside 49 times, with Havertz and Timo Werner particularly bad at 0.87 and 0.78 per 90 minutes respectively.
28 December 1991 – Luton 2-0 Chelsea – Division One
31 August 1991 – Chelsea 4-1 Luton – Division One
6 April 1991 – Chelsea 3-3 Luton – Division One
Chelsea beat Luton 3-1 when the sides met in the fourth round of last season’s FA Cup, the first meeting between these two sides for almost 27 years. The Blues will be looking to record three consecutive wins over Luton for the first time since 1959-1974 when they won five games in a row against the Hatters.