Good news for those of us that are hoping for a glimpse at some of the fringe players on the first team horizon. Tomorrow, we may well get a chance at last to see some of those gentlemen take the pitch! Yes, Chelsea head back to work against Wolverhampton in the Capital One Cup. What's in my wallet, you ask? A picture of my wife, a few cards, some cash, and an old ticket stub from the 2006-2007- which just so happens to be the last time we've lifted this cup. It's surprising to realize that we've gone so many seasons without triumph in this contest, yet you'd hardly be surprised when you see the lineups we've fielded. Successive managers have openly labeled this competition as one for the youngsters, and under Roberto Di Matteo, the expectation should be the same.
Date/Time: Tuesday, September 25th, 19:45 PM (BST); 2:45 PM (EST); 12:15 AM (IST)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, London SW6
TV Information: None (UK, USA, India)
Despite not playing our best against Stoke City on Saturday, Chelsea managed to conjure three points of out what looked a certain draw through 80 plus minutes. Buoyed by that show of resilience, Di Matteo is likely to utilize tomorrow's affair as a tinkering exercise, with a number of senior players likely to be given rest ahead of the weekend's showdown with Arsenal.
Yet tomorrow is an important first step in a competition that, when the draw was created back in August, looked a favorable one. For the club to lay a marker down on their intentions is one thing, but to get a positive result against a Wolves side that have produced three wins in six days in another. Plus, Chelsea haven't exactly been firing on all cylinders these last three weeks, and it's vitally important to generate some positive momentum heading into the Arsenal fixture. Also, in the immortal words of the late Al Davis: "Just win baby".
Wolves: As mentioned above, they're looking to continue their positive form of the last two weeks, having beaten Peterborough on the weekend. It's unlikely that they'll make wholesale changes to their side, though Razak Boukhari will push for a place on the wing ahead of Slawomir Peszko (note, awesome names). Goalscorer Bjorn Sigurdarson might well find a spot in the starting eleven as well, with either Kevin Doyle or Ebanks-Blake making way. The only major injury concern at the moment remains Wayne Hennessey- who produced an impressive display last season against the Blues.
New boss Stale Solbakken has his work cut out in an earnest attempt to bring the club back to the Premiership. Though an unlikely prospect in the early days of his tenure, the clubs fortunes appear to be turning around, and they'll be clawing for every blade of grass tomorrow. To take this team lightly, or any team for that matter, would simply be foolish stuff and quite honestly, something I could expect our lovable band of blue warriors to do. As such, lets keep our fingers crossed that we don't have a trademark defensive lapse and allow Wolves a late equalizer. Please, pray on this.
Chelsea: There's room tomorrow for a number of guys to get their first proper run of the campaign. Oriol Romeu, Marko Marin, Cesar Azpilicueta, Victor Moses, Lucas Piazon, and Ryan Bertrand should all be included from the jump. With John Terry in the midst of his FA case, and likely not in consideration for tomorrow, expect the combination of Luiz and Cahill who can hopefully do better than their last foray in Monaco. With Daniel Sturridge continuing to mend his creaky hamstring, it appears that Fernando will once again deputize up top- yet without his favored supply lines, it will be very interesting to see how he manages to create opportunities.
Despite a lackluster performance against Stoke, Di Matteo was pleased with the end result, and will no doubt be looking to tomorrow as a chance to propel the squad forward with the right attitude into midweek training for Arsenal. As mentioned above, Marin is likely to get a proper showing tomorrow (his home debut) after featuring for the reserves on September 14th. We saw flashes of Piazon masquerading as a false nine this preseason, and I fully expect if the game is settled for Di Matteo to withdraw Fernando and push Lucas further up the pitch.