For the first time in a couple decades, Chelsea will get to contest the second round of the League Cup, which this season has been re-christened to EFL Cup (English Football League Cup) after being known as the Capital One Cup for the past few seasons. Manchester City are the defending champions, with Chelsea winning it the season before.
Chelsea are in the second round this time around because of the team's failure to qualify for European competition last season. The League Cup pits all 92 teams of the Premier League, the Championship, and Leagues One and Two against each in a straight knockout competition (except for the semifinals, which remain a two-legged affair for whatever random reason).
The first round saw 70 teams battle it out for 35 spots in the second round, and are now joined by the 13 Premier League teams without continental commitments as well as the two highest ranked clubs in the Championship (Newcastle and Norwich in this case). These 50 teams will then be reduced to 25 for the third round, to be joined by the remaining 7 representatives of the Premier League in Europe (Leicester City, Arsenal, the two Manchesters, Spurs, Southampton, and West Ham United).
Clear as mud? Good, becuase it gets more confusing as Chelsea have been drawn against either either Bristol City OR Bristol Rovers. But Bristol City are in the second round for sure. Whom they will play actually depends on the outcome of the Cardiff City vs. Bristol Rovers replay. If Cardiff win, Chelsea play Bristol City. If Cardiff lose, Chelsea play Bristol Rovers (and Bristol City play Scunthorpe instead). Whatever the case, Chelsea will have a home tie.
EXPLAINED: Cardiff City beat Bristol Rovers tomorrow and #BristolCity head to Chelsea. Lose and we're off to Scunthorpe United.— Bristol City FC (@bcfctweets) August 10, 2016
Good job keeping it simple, EFL.
The draw, in full:
QPR vs. Rochdale
Scunthorpe United vs. Cardiff City OR Tammy Abraham's Bristol City
Watford vs. Gillingham
Peterborough United vs. Swansea City
Everton vs. Yeovil Town
Millwall vs. Nottingham Forest
Strawberry Shrewsbury Town
Luton Town vs. Leeds United
CHELSEA vs. Bristol Rovers OR Tammy Abraham's Bristol City
Burton Albion vs. Liverpool
Blackburn Rovers vs. Crewe Alexandra
Accrington Stanley vs. Burnley
Crystal Palace vs. Blackpool
Morecambe vs. Bournemouth
Preston North End vs. Oldham
Oxford United vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
Reading vs. MK Dons
Fulham vs. Middlesbrough
Newcastle United vs. Cheltenham Town
Exeter City vs. Hull City
Derby County vs. Carlisle United
Northampton Town vs. West Bromwich Albion
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Cambridge United
Stevenage vs. Stoke City
Norwich City vs. Coventry City
Matches will be played the week of August 23 (Tuesday-Thursday), between Matchdays 2 (Watford) and 3 (Burnley). Not quite Champions League Tuesday and Wednesday nights, but it's something at least.