Burley: Brentford clash is nightmare scenario for Chelsea
Former Chelsea midfielder Craig Burley reckons his old club face a nightmare scenario in the FA Cup at Brentford on Sunday.
The 41-year-old former Scotland international made more than 100 appearances for the Blues in the Premier League's formative years and has an FA Cup runners-up medal, having been in the team that lost 4-0 to an Eric Cantona-inspired Manchester United in 1994.
Chelsea started their run to the final that year needing a replay to get past perennial League Two strugglers Barnet in the third round, leaving Burley only too aware of the challenge the Bees will represent to the European champions this weekend.
"It is difficult to put a case up for Brentford winning," he said.
"Brentford are a whisker away from getting into the Championship and they have a very good home record, so that gives them a chance.
"When I got to the cup final with Chelsea we should have gone out to Barnet and needed a replay. You wouldn't have thought we'd make the final after that.
"It is a nightmare scenario for the Chelsea players. It is a game that will mean more to some players, than others."
Chelsea beat Arsenal 2-1 at the weekend, while boss Uwe Rosler's Bees slipped up by the same scoreline against League One leaders Tranmere Rovers at Griffin Park before drawing 2-2 with Leyton Orient on Tuesday.
Blues boss Rafael Benitez has been criticised for tinkering with his squad in the wake of disappointing results against Premier League strugglers QPR and Southampton in recent weeks.
While the Bees will be wary a continued cup run could put the skids under their promotion push, which sees them six points of the League One summit with a game in hand on the leaders.
Burley reckons whatever Chelsea team turns up at Griffin Park will be a challenge for the Bees and the underdogs should hope the Spaniard fields his big guns for the clash.
"Managers often say they are more focused on the league, but I've never understood why you can't aim to be successful in both," he added.
"We all got tired when we played football, but we never went around moaning about playing three games in a week. It is part and parcel of football.
"You can worry about picking up injuries in the cup which might have an impact in the league, because injuries can happen at any time.
"The Brentford players will want Benitez to put out all his big guns. Whatever team he puts out they will be strong so the Brentford players will want to play Chelsea's best 11.
"What could be better than taking on the European champions at full strength?"
*Watch Brentford v Chelsea in the FA Cup Fourth Round live on ESPN at 11am on Sunday.
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