Youngster Reece James is likely to start in place of captain Cesar Azpilicueta when Chelsea clash against Manchester United in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

Chelsea will be aiming to advance to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup when they play hosts to arch rivals Manchester United in the Round of 16 on Wednesday night. And manager Frank Lampard has hinted that he will be rotating his squad for the big game, giving the opportunity to some of the non-regulars and young players.

Speaking at his pre-match presser, the Chelsea manager said, “I have to be aware of the fact that we haven’t changed the team very much. That’s my prerogative when I think the team is playing pretty well but this game may be an opportunity for other players who are not playing.”

“It’s not necessarily to do with age, more to do with minutes in games and that might mean some of the more experienced players who haven’t played as much will have an opportunity.”

First-choice goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga will be in for a rest on Wednesday, with experienced campaigner Willy Caballero set to feature between the sticks against Manchester United. There ought to be a couple of changes in the backline as well, with Emerson Palmieri returning at left-back, while academy product Reece James should replace Cesar Azpilicueta on the opposite side.

Antonio Rudiger remains sidelined for Chelsea, while fellow defender Andreas Christensen is also a doubt, meaning Lampard has limited choices to rotate at centre-back. While Marc Guehi is an option, the Chelsea boss is likely to stick with the duo of Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori once again on Wednesday.

Same is the case with the midfield department where Lampard has to make do without the services of N’Golo Kante, while Ross Barkley remains a major doubt for the fixture. Youngster Billy Gilmour started in the last round of the Carabao Cup, but is unlikely to feature from the kick-off against Manchester United, with Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic making up the double pivot once again.

Mason Mount has been an ever-present figure in the Chelsea lineups this season. And Lampard might decide to give the England international a breather against Manchester United. Experienced head Pedro is likely to replace him in the side, having started as Chelsea’s No. 10 in the previous round.

Callum Hudson-Odoi ought to return to the starting XI on the right flank after not starting the weekend clash. Christian Pulisic, who scored a brilliant hat-trick against Burnley, is expected to hold on to his spot on the left-wing, however.

Tammy Abraham should drop to the Chelsea bench on Wednesday night. In his stead, Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi will battle it out for the lone striker’s role, with the latter likely to get the nod after having scored a brace in the previous round against Grimsby Town.

Predicted Chelsea XI: Caballero; James, Zouma, Tomori, Emerson; Jorginho, Kovacic; Hudson-Odoi, Pedro, Pulisic; Batshuayi

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