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Chelsea vs. AFC Bournemouth, League Cup: Preview, team news, how to watch

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Chelsea with a great chance to advance to the semifinals for the first time in three years.

AFC Bournemouth v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

The League Cup, which for sponsorship reasons is known as the Carabao Cup this season, has often been an afterthought for the Premier League’s big boys, but the amount of assembled talent at any of the top six has resulted in a situation where even rotated squads can easily progress to the latter stages of this oftentimes random and surprising competition. A youthful Manchester City (though they needed extra-time and penalties) and a well-rotated Arsenal side both advanced on Tuesday, filling half the available semifinal slots. Manchester United, who play the only lower division side remaining in Bristol City are sure to be there as well, while Chelsea must dispatch Bournemouth to join the party.

The Blues have already beaten the Cherries in the league once this year; both sides are likely to field very different teams in this one however.

Date / Time: Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 19:45 GMT, 2:45pm EST; 1:15am IST (next day)

Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6

Referee: Lee Mason — Mason’s last Chelsea game was the 2-1 win over Leicester City in September, of which I have no memory even though it happened just a few months ago...

Forecast: Mild and overcast.

On TV: none (UK); none (USA); none? (India); elsewhere

Streaming online: ESPN3 (USA); BBC 5 Live Extra (radio, UK); Chelsea TV (radio, int’l)

Chelsea team news: Marcos Alonso is suspended for yellow card accumulation (smartly picking up his fifth yellow for time-wasting against Southampton) and both David Luiz and Charly Musonda Jr are out with injuries. Musonda’s injury is once again rather poorly timed as the 21-year-old, who recently signed a brand new long-term contract, would’ve surely gotten the start otherwise.

Conte confirmed that many first-team regulars will be rested or rotated out. Michy Batshuayi, Kenedy, and Ethan Ampadu are all expected to start, while youngsters such as Dujon Sterling and perhaps even Callum Hudson-Odoi will get to play a part. Conte undoubtedly wants to progress in this competition, but this is a rare opportunity in the winter fixture list for rest and rotation and thus has to be taken advantage of (all other remaining teams are doing this as well).

AFC Bournemouth team news: Bournemouth’s storybook rise under Eddie Howe seems to have hit a plateau, with the weekend’s 4-0 humbling at home by Liverpool their sixth game in a row without a win. With all hands on deck to arrest that slide and avoid getting drawn into a relegation battle, the visitors are expected to rest their key players as well, while also looking for any positive signs from which to gain confidence. Whether that means Nathan Ake gets to return to the Stamford Bridge turf or not remains to be seen, but Howe will be without the services of Charlie Daniels, Joshua King, and Callum Wilson.

“We’re stretched due to injuries and I have to be careful, managing the squad will be important. There will be a certain number of changes as I don’t want us to suffer any more injuries. We will feel pressure in that we need a positive response after Sunday... We need to make sure we leave Stamford Bridge with a positive mindset again.”

-Eddie Howe; source: Reuters

Bournemouth will have nothing to lose, and that can always provide for a dangerous situation.

Previously: Chelsea missing chances, but winning anyway.