It’s time for a fun diversion, Carabao Cup-style, with the added bonus of a homecoming for Super Frankie Lampard, his good friend and assistant and partner in crime and quadruple-winning Chelsea youth coach Jody Morris, former fitness coach Chris Jones, as well as loanees Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori — though there are some concerns over Mount’s fitness, which would be a shame if he had to miss out after Chelsea granted special dispensation for the pair to be available for the game.
That said, both sides will be looking to win and advance in the competition. Chelsea are obviously favored — and much more so than in the previous round, when we had to go to Anfield — but Derby eliminated Manchester United at Old Trafford in the same round so anything’s possible.
Maurizio Sarri has been following a fairly regimented rotation policy between Premier League weekends and the midweeks of Cup and Europa League action, and we should probably be expecting something similar along those lines. The match may be taking on extra significance thanks to the personal ties between the two sides, but it’s still just a League Cup match that ranks lowest on the priority list of competitions for Chelsea.
Eden Hazard is expected to miss a third match in a row with his Ashley Young-sourced back injury, while Pedro may still be feeling the effects of the stomach bug that forced him off the pitch in the first half on Sunday. In better news, Ethan Ampadu has begun training with the first-team again following his knee injury last month while away on Wales duty, but he’s probably lacking serious match fitness and is probably not yet an option for selection.
Great news! Ethan Ampadu back outside training with the first team today after recovering from a knee injury he picked up playing for Wales #CFC— CarefreeYouth (@CarefreeYouth) October 29, 2018
As ever, the League Cup is a chance to rotate, to give tired legs a rest, and to give opportunities to the backups, the youth, and the fringe players. But we also want to win.