Chelsea FC vs AFC Wimbledon: Blues Expected to Cruise in FA Cup Clash

John Furrier | Last Updated : April 4, 2024

The magic of the FA Cup will be on full display this weekend as English Premier League giants Chelsea FC welcome third-tier side AFC Wimbledon to Stamford Bridge. While David vs Goliath matchups are part of what makes the famous old tournament so special, all signs point to this being a fairly straightforward day at the office for the star-studded Blues.

Chelsea come into this fourth round tie firmly amongst the Premier League title contenders. Graham Potter’s men sit third in the table, just five points back of leaders Arsenal after a solid opening four months of the season. Their last league outing was an impressive 2-1 victory away to in-form Newcastle, with Kai Havertz and Raheem Sterling getting on the scoresheet.

That win at St. James’ Park extended Chelsea’s unbeaten run across all competitions to 11 matches. After some early season struggles adapting to Potter’s tactics following his hire in September, it appears the Blues have well and truly hit their stride heading into the busy second half of the campaign.

Much of that success has been built on a stingy defensive foundation, with Chelsea conceding just 17 goals through 20 Premier League games. Thiago Silva and Kalidou Koulibaly have formed an imposing center-back partnership, while Potter’s hard-working system limits high-quality chances for the opposition.

At the other end, the attacking options are as plentiful as Chelsea’s owner’s pockets are deep. Kai Havertz remains the first-choice No. 9, but the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Raheem Sterling and the electric trio of Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic can all rotate through the forward positions and cause headaches for defenders.

Portuguese starlet Joao Felix has also joined the fray after arriving on loan from Atletico Madrid in January, giving Potter yet another elite offensive weapon in his arsenal. With so much firepower at his disposal, you can expect heavy rotation from Chelsea as they continue to fight on multiple fronts.

This weekend’s FA Cup tie presents the perfect opportunity to mix things up and keep his top stars fresh for the Premier League title chase. Players like Felix, Hakim Ziyech, Armando Broja and Carney Chukwuemeka should all be in contention to feature against AFC Wimbledon.

The visitors from South West London will certainly relish their trip across town to face one of England’s biggest clubs, but realistically their chances of springing an upset appear slim to none.

Wimbledon have acquitted themselves well in League Two this season and currently sit 10th in the table. However, their form of late has been patchy with just one win from their last six outings across all competitions. They also faced a tough FA Cup replay against Charlton in the previous round after being held to a draw at home.

While the Dons can call upon experienced players like striker Jayden Antwi, whose nine goals make him the team’s top scorer, quite frankly the quality gap between the two clubs is simply far too vast.

Chelsea haveWorld Cup winners, Champions League heroes, and multiple Ballon d’Or candidates in their ranks. Wimbledon’s players? Well they’ll just be delighted to share the same pitch.

The Blues’ strength in depth is almost unfathomable for a club of Wimbledon’s stature. Even with some rotation, any Chelsea lineup will feature international stars littered with Champions League, World Cup and Premier League winners.

Of course, knockout competitions always have the potential to produce surprises and shocks when you least expect it. But Chelsea have far too much quality and motivation this season to be one of the big boys to slip up in the early rounds.

Having struggled for consistency at times in recent seasons, there is a sense that Potter finally has his talented squad firing on all cylinders and fully bought into his playing philosophy. Extending their FA Cup run to secure more opportunities for silverware this season will be high on their list of priorities.

From a mental perspective, Chelsea know they simply cannot afford to take their foot off the gas after losing critical ground in the Premier League title race earlier this season. Every point and every win is precious at this juncture.

The same likely cannot be said for AFC Wimbledon, who will be looking simply to embrace the occasion and give a good account of themselves. With the financial disparity between the two clubs, the game realistically has relatively little riding on it for the League Two side.

That’s not to disrespect Wimbledon at all, and you can be certain their players will give their absolute all on the big stage this weekend. But in all likelihood, this is where the FA Cup dream dies for the Dons. 

From a tactical standpoint, we should expect to see Chelsea control proceedings from the opening whistle. Potter will surely instruct his team to move the ball quickly and probe for openings against the deep-lying Wimbledon defense.

Set pieces and counter-attacking situations may present the visitor’s best opportunities to grab a goal, but ultimately keeping the scoreline respectable has to be their top priority. Their emphasis will be on remaining compact, frustrating Chelsea, and trying to keep things tight for as long as possible.

Predicting just how many goals the Blues might rack up is an imprecise science, but it would be a major surprise if Wimbledon kept them off the scoresheet altogether. A professional 2-0 or 3-0 win secured without any drama or scares for the home side seems about the most likely outcome here.

Much will depend on Potter’s team selection and how dynamic he wants his forward line to be from the start. You could certainly see Chelsea going with a fairly rotated, more conservative lineup early on before gradually unleashing bigger firepower if the game remains in the balance after an hour or so.

For the neutral, there may not be too much intrigue or suspense in the actual match itself. But these are exactly the kind of fixtures that help make the FA Cup so unique and magical. The packed crowd, heightened atmosphere, and David vs Goliath storyline personify why this tournament remains so beloved and widely celebrated.

Just being able to share the pitch with global superstars and take the field at an iconic venue like Stamford Bridge will be memories these AFC Wimbledon players will surely cherish for the rest of their lives. Sometimes that’s what the FA Cup is all about.

For Chelsea, it’s simply a case of taking care of business to keep their hopes of a domestic cup double alive. While lifting the FA Cup in May would be cause for celebration, it will likely be viewed as the bare minimum if their Premier League title challenge fades.

So expect the Blues to be all business and remain laser-focused on a professional performance against AFC Wimbledon, with fringe players given a chance to stake their claim for more minutes. The margin may end up being comfortable, but giant killings of this magnitude are now rarities in English football’s analogy for March Madness.

Chelsea 3-0 AFC Wimbledon

John Furrier

John Furrier is a techie with expertise in BlockChain, eCommerce. He has been working on the cutting-edge of technology for over 10 years. His work has earned him recognition as an emerging leader in this field for various magazines. He lives to break new ground and find ways to make things more efficient for his clients. John believes that “Successful people are always looking for creative solutions.”

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