Chelsea welcome League One side Bristol Rovers to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday in the second round of the newly branded EFL Cup.
The Blues have begun their season on a positive note with back to back wins in the Premier League, and will be hoping to continue that form against League One opponents Bristol Rovers in the League Cup on Tuesday. While there have been defensive issues for Chelsea, they should not face many problems against the team who are currently languishing in the 18th position in the third tier of English football.
Team News and Tactics
There are no injury concerns for Antonio Conte, who is expected to make quite a few changes to his starting lineup. John Terry, Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta, Oscar, Victor Moses and Michy Batshuayi will be the only players from among those who featured against Watford to start against Bristol Rovers.
Second choice goalkeeper Asmir Begovic will be given the nod ahead of regular Thibaut Courtois. Talented young right-back Ola Aina will also get to prove his abilities, as will the Brazilian Kenedy. Nathaniel Chalobah could also start, as could fellow academy graduate Ruben Loftus-Cheek. This would be Michy Batshuayi’s first start for the club since his big money move from Marseille.
Chelsea would basically want to give as many fringe players a chance to show their ability in this game as possible. With the quality in the Chelsea squad, there should be a lot of goals as a result of a lot of possession and build up play from the Blues.
Probabale Lineup (4-4-2) : Begovic; Aina, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Moses, Chalobah, Oscar, Kenedy; Batshuayi, Loftus-Cheek.
Bristol Rovers have not exactly had a flying start to their League One campaign. Out of four games played, they have a total of four points and languish in the 18th position on the table. After playing out a 1-1 draw against Southend United in their previous league game, it will take a minor miracle for manager Darrell Clarke to change his side’s fortunes at Stamford Bridge.
There are no new injury concerns for Clarke’s team and he will hope to add winger Billy Bodin to his squad after he missed the trip to Southend United with an injury. Clarke will field a full-strength squad which would be the same as the one against Southend.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2) : Midenhall; Leadbitter, J.Clarke, Brown, Hartley; Lockyer, Lines, O.Clarke, Sinclair; Harrisson, Taylor
- This is the first time Chelsea have played in Round 2 of the League Cup since 1996.
- Bristol Rovers actually won the last encounter against Chelsea — a 1-0 victory in 1981 — when both clubs used to play in the second division.
- The Blues have won their last eight League Cup ties against lower-ranked opposition since losing on penalties to Burnley in November 2008.
- Bristol Rovers haven’t reached Round 3 of the League Cup since 2000-01, when they eliminated Premier League side Everton at this stage via penalties.
Players to watch out for
Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea)
The new summer recruit for Chelsea looks promising. In both his substitute appearances in Chelsea’s Premier League matches, he has helped the team score — assisting Diego Costa against West Ham and netting the equaliser against Watford. His pace and strength are particularly impressive and he will be hoping to score a few in this match.
Peter Hartley (Bristol Rovers)
After scoring against Southend United, Hartley will hope to make an impact against Chelsea to help his side pull off an improbable result.
Chelsea 3 – 0 Bristol Rovers
Chelsea should be able to ease past the League 1 team and it really is a question of how many they will score in the process. With the quality they possess, a victory by a comfortable margin is on the cards for the Blues at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.