Chelsea’s Superstars Take on Morecambe’s Minnows
Last updated: January 6, 2021 by Leon Marshal
|Coverage:||BBC (Red Button)|
The 1974 FA Trophy winners head to Stamford Bridge to face last year’s FA Cup finalists Chelsea. A David v Goliath encounter with all the pressure on Chelsea. Can the League Two club pull off a shock result and continue their great form, or will the Blues’ quality prevail?
Early in the season, Frank Lampard was one of the standout managers, and his richly assembled team was being touted as genuine title contenders. After a 0-2 defeat by champions Liverpool in the second league game, Chelsea went on an unbeaten run of 14 games in all competitions, and it only looked like a matter of time before they would be topping the league.
That was until December hit, a month that would see them pick up just two wins (3-1 Leeds & 3-0 West Ham). Suffering defeats against Everton (1-0), Wolves (2-1), Arsenal (3-1) & Manchester City (1-3) in the first game of the new year. Also letting the lead slip in a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.
So far this season, Chelsea have been picking up an average of 1.5 points per game, a telling stat is that in current form, they are picking up just 1 point a game, a drop of 34.6% from their season average.
The memories of last season’s FA Cup final loss against Arsenal are still fresh in the Chelsea fan’s minds. Losing to Arteta, who at the time was just about two months into his job at Arsenal and had less experience in management than Lampard was painful for the Stamford Bridge faithful. The loss in the FA Cup final strengthened Lampard’s case for reinforcements and owner Roman Abramovich duly obliged, bankrolling his manager to the tune of £222.48m.
In other times this game would have been a good opportunity to give debuts to academy stars Lewis Bate, Henry Lawrence, and Tino Anjorin. All three are impressing in the reserves and don’t look far from the first team. However, with Chelsea dropping off in the league, it’s more likely to be a full-strength team that takes the field against their League Two opponents.
The Chelsea team certainly don’t lack goals. Timo Werner and Oliver Giroud have the best numbers of nine goals each in all competitions for Chelsea, closely followed by Tammy Abraham who is on eight goals. It will be interesting to see if Frank goes for Werner or Giroud. Werner is on a goal drought; the German international is without a goal for both club and country in 12 games. 34-year-old Giroud is in form, scoring against Villa in the 1-1 draw and in the 2-1 defeat by Wolves. The Frenchman also scored all four goals in the 4-0 win away at Sevilla on the 2nd of December.
It’s worth noting that as well as a drop in the points gained rate, Chelsea’s average goals conceded figure is also up. They are currently conceding 1.38 goals per game, against an average of 1.24, a rise of 11.3%. A back three would be a quick fix for Lampard as Thiago Silva doesn’t appear to have the legs to cover for the ever overlapping Chilwell.
Morecambe manager Derek Adams has been shortlisted for December manager of the month in League 2, alongside Morecambe’s attacking midfielder Carlos Mendes-Gomes, who is running for the division’s player of the month. Adams guided the Shrimps to five wins in six matches in the division with Mendes-Gomes in great form, netting five goals and assisted one in the six games during the festive month.
These facts alone show you the great month the club had over the festive period, and with both awards due to be announced on Friday, it would be a morale boost for the club if either or both are successful going into this David v Goliath clash.
Morecambe should be the fresher of the two sides, a Covid-19 outbreak at the club led to games against Bolton and Bradford being called off. They played the last league game on Boxing Day, a game they won against the then managerless Grimsby Town 3-1.
Pre-game, much of the attention was on the visitors Grimsby Town whose manager Ian Holloway controversially walked away from the club after announcing his resignation on Twitter. The former Premier League manager took over at Blundell Park last year and was due to invest £100,000 into the club, an offer he withdrew when he left the club citing his ‘strained’ relationship with Grimsby’s possible new owners.
Despite these off-field distractions, the Shrimps took control in the match, although going behind due to a Matty Pollock header in the 21st minute. A brace from Mendes-Gomes (57 and 71) gave Morecambe the lead before Adam Phillips made the points safe in the 93rd minute. Mendes-Gomes this time turning provider, supplying the ball which allowed Phillips to beat James McKeown in the Grimsby goal.
To make matters worse for Grimsby fans, former manager Ian Holloway appeared on Soccer AM on Boxing Day, the day of the match, even scoring a top bin at the John Arne Riise Arena to rub salt into the wounds for Mariners’ supporters.
Like Chelsea, Morecambe does have goals in the team. Carlos Gomes leads the club’s scoring charts; the 22-year-old has seven goals and an assist in eighteen League Two games. Adam Phillips is not far behind, scoring six goals and providing four assists from midfield. The 22-year old Burnley loanee scored the lone goal in the first round against Maldon and Tiptree. Another threat is Aaron Wilding; the number ten has four goals and two assists so far this campaign.
Morecambe rode their luck in the second round in the 4-2 victory over non-league Solihull Moors. The Jimmy Shan’s National League side took the lead in the 19th minute before two goals from Morecambe striker Cole Stockton in the second half gave them the lead. Former Morecambe player Jordan Cranston levelled the game in the 69th minute, leading to extra time. Substitute John O’Sullivan scored in the 95th minute and a Mitch Hancox own goal after 108 minutes sealed the tie and set up the clash with Chelsea.
A must win for Frank Lampard who has struggled in the league and will not risk the wrath of being eliminated.
Morcambe’s goal threat comes from Carlos Gomes (seven goals) & Adam Phillips (six goals).
Chelsea has an almost full-strength team with just Reece James and Andreas Christensen out.
Morecambe have no injury worries, Nathaniel Knight-Percival is a yellow card away from suspension.
|Chelsea (3-4-2-1):||Mendy, James, Zouma, Rudiger, Chilwell, Kante, Jorginho, Mount, Ziyech, Abraham, Werner|
|Subs:||Arrizabalaga, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, Emerson, Tomori, Kovacic, Christensen, Azpiliqueta, Pulisic|
|Morecambe (4-2-3-1):||Halstead, Cooney, Lavelle, Davis, Hendrie, Wildig, Songo’o, Slew, Philips, M. Gomes, Stockton|
|Subs:||Turner, K-Percival, Diagouraga, Kenyon, L-Smith, McAlinden, Gibson|
So Far This Season
|Chelsea This Season||Morecambe This Season|
|7 (3)||Wins (away)||10 (5)|
|4-0 Crystal Palace||Biggest Win||3-1 Grimsby Town|
|5 (2)||Draws (away)||4 (1)|
|Arsenal 3-1||Biggest Defeat||5-0 Cambridge United|
|Werner, Giroud (8)||Top Goal Scorer||Gomes (8)|
|Y23, R1||Discipline||Y27, R2|
|2||Failures to Score||1|
|53%||Both Teams to Score Games||70%|
|65%||Over 2.5 Goals||65%|
|35%||Under 2.5 Goals||35%|
- The two sides have never met in any competitions.
- Morecambe have won the last four consecutive games and seven of the last eight games against Chelsea’s one win in the last five.
- Morecambe has improved defensively, goals conceded in the last eight games is 33.3% lower than their average for League Two this season.
- Chelsea’s drop in form can be seen in their average points per game. Over the last eight games, it is 1, 34.6% lower than their season average.
Head to Head
|Last 5 meetings between the two sides|
|Date||Competition||Game Result||First Goal-scorer|
Conclusion & Betting Tips
Frank Lampard simply daren’t lose this game. The FA Cup final, defeat by Arsenal was bad enough, but to be dumped out the cup by League Two opposition in the third round would surely be too much for Roman Abramovich who has already had 14 managers in the post since 2003. Lampard will demand his superstars put in a shift and a performance because his job depends on it, will they deliver though?
In many ways, the pressure is off Morecambe as few expect anything other than a routine win for Chelsea in this game. A fact that could help the Shrimps players with the impetus on the host to break them down. They should be able to play with confidence, being on a great run in the league and are League Two’s current in-form team.
Who doesn’t love rooting for the underdog, but realistically, we feel Chelsea just has too much quality against Morecambe. We expect the League Two team to have a good go at Chelsea and expect the game to be a lot tighter than you would expect. We are going for 3-0 to Chelsea with two late goals sealing the game. 3-0 is available @ 5/1 with bet365.