On the eve of the fourth round of the FA cup, a competition widely regarded as the best domestic cup competition in the world, the stand out tie features European champions Chelsea visiting League one side Brentford in the first competitive game between the two west London sides since 1950.
Although just 7 miles separate the two clubs, their recent fortunes couldn’t be more different. Since their last competitive game in 1950, Chelsea have won the Champions league, four first division titles and multiple FA cup and League cup victories, while Brentford have spent the majority of the last 53 years in the bottom two divisions of the football league, struggling to survive financially.
However, Brentford are very much a club on the up, with Professional gambler and lifelong Brentford fan Mathew Benham taking ownership of the club in July last year. Benham completed purchase of the land on which the club hope to build a new 15-20 thousand capacity stadium, with state of the art facilities which will help secure the long term future of the club, and has supported manager Uwe Rosler in bringing in a squad of players and coaching staff to challenge for promotion to the championship.
The Bees currently sit just 6 points from top spot in League 1, and have a game in hand on leaders Tranmere, only losing 4 league games this season, and midfield man Harry Forrester has attracted interest from a number of premier league clubs for his performances.
Chelsea suffered a knock in confidence this week, failing to score in their second leg league cup semi final tie against Swansea and going out of the cup, but will, nevertheless, go in to the game as strong favourites with their squad of international superstars and multi million pound talents such as Oscar, Demba Ba and Juan Mata, as well as the underperforming yet hugely talented Fernando Torres.
The question is, how will these multi-million pound superstars fair against a team brimming with confidence, playing in what will be for many the biggest game of their careers, in front of a passionate sell out home crowd.
Chelsea will go in to the game knowing that without a win, their season is as good as over, and face the first season without a trophy under Owner Roman Abramovich, while Brentford have nothing to lose and everything to gain from this match.
Should Brentford produce what would be one of the biggest FA cup giant killings of recent times at Griffin Park this Sunday, The chance of Benitez keeping his job past the end of the season would surely be over.