Chances of silverware running out for Chelsea
LONDON (AP) — Chelsea will look to avoid the ignominy of being eliminated from two domestic cup competitions in a five-day span when the embattled European champions visit third-tier club Brentford in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday.
The controversy surrounding Eden Hazard's sending-off for kicking a ball boy overshadowed Chelsea's loss to Swansea in the League Cup semifinals on Wednesday, leaving the team with only three opportunities for silverware this season.
With the Premier League title seemingly out of reach and the Europa League resuming next month with many heavyweight teams still involved, interim manager Rafa Benitez will be placing heavy emphasis on the FA Cup this season.
Brentford, which is 44 places below Chelsea in the English league, is one of 10 lower-league sides bidding to upset Premier League opposition in the world's oldest knockout competition this weekend.
"It's 11 vs. 11 but they will naturally underestimate us because it's the European champions against a third-tier side," said Brentford manager Uwe Rosler, a former Manchester City and East Germany striker. "We must believe in our chance, no matter how small it is. We're going out there to win, not to ask for their shirt."
Oldham, which is 19th in the 24-team third division, is looking to cause the biggest shock when it hosts seven-time FA Cup winner Liverpool, while Tottenham is also away on Sunday, at second-tier club Leeds.
On Saturday, Brighton will seek to back up its 2-0 win over Newcastle in the third round when the team from the League Championship hosts Arsenal. Everton travels to Bolton, which was relegated from the Premier League last season.
If Benitez is going to mark his turbulent short-term spell at Chelsea with a trophy, his best chance may well be in the FA Cup — a trophy the London club has won four times in the last six seasons.
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