Chelsea were down to the bare minimum against Wolves over the weekend, especially in terms of squad numbers with two goalkeepers, three fit players, one half-fit player, and two empty seats named to the bench while the starting XI gritted out another 90 minutes after playing on Thursday as well.
With no prospect of a COVID break coming for the league, Thomas Tuchel called up a dozen youngsters and reserves for Monday’s training. How many of them might be involved on Wednesday is anyone’s guess, but given the upcoming festive fixture congestion, this game will likely need to feature quite a few of them.
It may be the quarterfinal, but it is only the League Cup after all — as ever, the lowest priority competition on the schedule.
The one bit of good news regarding senior players is that Jorginho has been cleared to play. Kai Havertz, Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Ben Chilwell remain in COVID protocol. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Trevoh Chalobah, and Hakim Ziyech are dealing with painful knocks, as is Andreas Christensen, probably. Mateo Kovačić is unlikely to be fully fit just yet, and N’Golo Kanté played the full 90 on Sunday despite the physios advising no more than 45 minutes of action.