Chelsea head to the north east on Wednesday night to take on Championship outfit Middlesborough at the Riverside Stadium in the last 16 of the FA Cup with the victors earning a trip to face Manchester United at Old Trafford in the quarter finals.
Interim boss Rafa Benitez has been speaking at his press conference on Tuesday and gave Chelseafc.com a team news and injury update ahead of the game, including the latest on Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Tomorrows game will be the Blues 48th of the season in all competitions and with Saturday’s Premier League game with West Brom quickly followed by a Europa League clash with Steaua Bucharest, Benitez confirmed he’ll have to manage his squad carefully which could mean he may rotate against the Borough.
However, two players who will be unavailable are defenders Cahill and Azpilicueta after the pair were ruled out with illness and a leg injury respectively and the duo join Oriol Romeu on the sidelines. Benitez told the clubs official website:
‘The team have played more games than anybody in Europe, but we have to manage the squad as well as we can,’ said Benitez.
‘[Gary] Cahill has a virus and is ill, he cannot play, and [Cesar] Azpilicueta has some discomfort in his leg and also cannot play.
‘Those two, along with Oriol Romeu, are the only players not available.’
Now we’ve seen the team news, what would be your preferred starting eleven for tomorrows game? Would you take this opportunity to rotate? Get involved in the comments section below.