Sentiments aside, Chelsea will be looking get one over Frank Lampard, Jody Morris & Co and advance to the next round of the League Cup in today’s emotional showdown at Stamford Bridge.
Sarri’s rotation policy should remain in effect, especially after Eden Hazard was ruled out once again, and the likes of Pedro, Olivier Giroud, and Ethan Ampadu face fitness tests.
Since Willy Caballero started the last League Cup game, away at Anfield, perhaps Sarri has given this competition to him, at least in the early stages.
Sarri has been switching between two full sets of four in defense, and we can probably expect Emerson, Christensen, Cahill, and Zappacosta to once again rotate in.
In a similar situation in midfield, where Cesc Fabregas directly backs up Jorginho while Mateo Kovačić and Ruben Loftus-Cheek could shoulder the rest of the load as well. That should be enough quality on the ball to let Chelsea control proceedings and not have to worry too much about the lack of defensive nouse in the trio.
The attack is where Chelsea’s growing injury restricts Sarri’s choices, especially if Giroud cannot go. Could we see an extreme-case lineup without a recognized striker? Or would Morata be asked to start? And where would Callum Hudson-Odoi potentially fit in? This is not an easy call.
Caballero | Emerson, Christensen, Cahill, Zappacosta | Loftus-Cheek, Fabregas, Kovačić | Willian, Morata, Moses
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community wants to see more Hudson-Odoi, unsurprisingly, and he earns the popular vote well ahead of Willian (39%), Pedro (7%), and Piazon (10%). The rest is just about clear with the aforementioned Giroud injury situation the only concern (Morata a distant second there with 27%). Shoutout to long-forgotten Danny Drinkwater, who collected 19%, probably a season-high for him!
Caballero (63%) | Emerson (95%), Christensen (97%), Cahill (92%), Zappacosta (92%) | Kovačić (69%), Fàbregas (91%), Loftus-Cheek (89%) | Hudson-Odoi (83%), Giroud (70%), Moses (56%)
My preferred line up is more or less the same as the predicted one with the exception of a rather unlikely start for Ethan Ampadu and a less unlikely Hudson-Odoi being given the nod ahead of Willian, who’s started the last nine on the bounce. With Mason Mount and Fiyako Tomori being eligible for the tie, as well as Chelsea being decimated up front, there’ll rarely be a better opportunity for the youngster to be given his full competitive debut in blue.
Caballero | Emerson, Ampadu, Christensen, Zappacosta | Loftus-Cheek, Fàbregas, Kovačić | Hudson-Odoi, Morata, Moses
COME ON, YOU BLUES!