Chelsea have won four in a row in all competitions, a streak that began with a game against Southampton at the start of the month, and hopefully continues well beyond this game against Southampton at the end of the month.
That first game, a 3-1 win in the league, followed back-to-back losses, which had started to raise a few questions about the direction in which we were going. This game follows on a much different vibe, with Chelsea passing a big test in the siege by Brentford, then taking care of business with expected aplomb (and then some!) against Malmö and Norwich City, 4-0 and 7-0, respectively.
This game doesn’t necessarily matter as much as any of those games — the League Cup, at least at this stage, is still probably lowest priority competition for us (even more so than the Club World Cup, I’d argue, since we’ve never won that) — but winning is a habit that breeds confidence. Keeping that feedback loop going is crucial to any successful season.
Four of the last six years, our League Cup campaign ended at this stage, including the last two. That’s one streak we should try not to continue.
Date / Time: Tuesday, October 26, 2021, 19.45 BST; 2:45pm EDT; 12:15am IST (next day)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Kevin Friend (no VAR until the semifinals and final in this competition)
Forecast: Mild with a light breeze
On TV: none (UK); none (USA); none? (India); SuperSport MaXimo 1 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: none (UK); ESPN+ (USA); Voot (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Chelsea team news: The situation’s unchanged from the weekend, with the trio of Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, and Christian Pulisic all out, possibly until after the next international break. N’Golo Kanté was held out over the weekend for a bit of maintenance, but should be back available.
Tuchel will be expected to rotate as much as possible given those injuries and concerns, and has already confirmed appearances for Callum Hudson-Odoi and Saúl Ñíguez. The former impressed over the weekend and will hopefully get to build on that, while the latter is still looking to do so since joining on loan in the summer.
Southampton team news: Saints have only played two games since we last saw them, beating Leeds United, 1-0, and drawing with Burnley, 2-2.
Chelsea loanee Armando Broja scored two of those three total goals, but he will be ineligible. Former Chelsea prospect Valentino Livramento scored the third, and he will be eligible. (He won Saints’ penalty for the goal they scored agains us as well.) James Ward-Prowse is suspended while Mohamed Elyounoussi will miss out after undergoing surgery on Monday for a “minor” hand ligament injury. (Doesn’t sound too minor to me!) That said, like Chelsea, they will be expected to rotate signficantly.
View from the enemy: St Mary’s Musings
Previously: Timo Werner’s latest VAR adventures saw us emerge 3-1 victors, despite some terrible refereeing. Two goals in the last ten minutes secured all three points after a fairly dramatic 90 minutes.