Chelsea's attempt to regain the Carling Cup begins Wednesday against Portsmouth at Fratton Park. Pompey will no doubt be out for revenge, following the 4-0 thrashing theytook in their Premier League season opener at Stamford Bridge a month ago.
They'll have a hard time doing so.
Portsmouth enters this match on the heels of its most embarrassing defeat in quite some time -- a 6-0 slump against Manchester City at the weekend. Drained of confidence, Pompey is also drained of manpower. 'Arry Redknapp will be without the services of Jermain Defoe, Papa Boupa Diop, Sean Davis, Lassana Diarra, David Nugent and Sol Campbell. Yikes.
As for our Blues, they're coming off a much-deserved 1-1 draw with Team Rio on Sunday. We lost world-renowned defender, and landscaper, Ricky Carvalho to a knee injury in that match as well as Deco to a thigh problem he picked up in the pre-match warmup. It sucks. But, the team should be able to cope with the formidable Alex sliding in for Ricky. Our midfield is already well-stocked -- and looks to be adding ol' ass Mineiro to the mix -- so that won't be a problem.
While we know Uncle Phil is out to crack skulls in all competitions this season, I certainly think this tie gives us a chance to let some youth hit the pitch. I'd like to think we'll see Di Santo and Scotty Sinclair. Another possibility is Ivanovic. The mythical creature from Russia has yet to see the field for Chelsea. Give him a run out, man.
This thing is all set up for a rout. An emotionally fragile Portsmouth, stretched with injuries, versus an insurmountable Chelsea. That's why I'm opting for a closer-than-expected 3-2 scoreline. Lamps to do the business. Watch this space