Chelsea will be looking to bounce back from their draw against Arsenal as Championship side Nottingham Forest pay a visit on Wednesday for the Carabao Cup.
Chelsea endured a tough time on Sunday and were lucky to come out of their derby against Arsenal with a 0-0 draw. Antonio Conte will now be looking for a positive response from his side while also aiming to secure progress into the next round of the Carabao Cup, as the EFL Cup is now called.
Nottingham Forest also endured a tough time during the weekend, losing at home to Wolves and will be looking to bounce back from the same. Also, positive performances in ties like these often prove to be the starting point of a run of good results, something the club needs if they are to be up there challenging for promotion.
The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the fixture.
Team News & Tactics
Antonio Conte has given several hints that Eden Hazard will finally be handed a start after cameo appearances in a row. The Belgian will be raring to start and get back into the groove. Pedro joins Danny Drinkwater on the injury list while David Luiz is suspended for the tie after receiving a straight red on Sunday.
Luiz’s suspension all but confirms a start for Andreas Christensen, who has impressed whenever given the chance. Christensen aside, the likes of Kenedy, Charly Musonda, Kyle Scott and Jake Clarke-Selter are also in contention to feature on Wednesday as Conte aims to rest the players ahead of the upcoming Premier League match against Stoke City.
While there is no hint towards Conte resting Thibaut Courtois, we could very well see Willy Caballero take the guard against Nottingham Forest.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Courtois; Rudiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta; Zappacosta, Bakayoko, Fabregas, Kenedy; Musonda, Hazard; Batshuayi
Mark Warburton is likely to rotate a bit to rest some players but will still field a strong squad in hopes of progressing to the next round. Former Chelsea star Michael Mancienne could be in line to feature on Wednesday – a decision that depends on Warburton’s wish to chop and change the backline.
Eric Lichaj could also come into the side while we could see Ben Brereton start in a more familiar centre forward role – the youngster has been deployed on the right wing by Warburton.
There are some assured starters as well. Barrie McKay, Ben Osborn and Kieran Dowell have featured in all of the games so far and are expected to continue to be one of the first names on the starting lineup.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Smith; Lichaj, Mancienne, Mills, Traore; Cohen, Bridcutt; Brereton, Dowell, McKay; Cummings
1. Chelsea and Nottingham Forest have not met each other in any competitive game in the last 10 years.
2. Interestingly, Nottingham Forest boast a good history in the fixture, with 10 wins in 29 meetings, compared to Chelsea’s 11.
3. Jason Cummings has 3 goals already in the Carabao Cup this season and is only one goal behind leading goalscorer Samuel Saiz, who leads the pack with 4.
4. Chelsea will be looking to improve on their fourth-round exit from last season.
5. In case Chelsea do not field Gary Cahill and Jake Clarke-Selter, the club could name a team without any English players in the lineup.
Player To Watch
With Alvaro Morata failing to get on the scoresheet on Sunday, Michy Batshuayi can lay his marker down for a place in the starting lineup for the coming weeks. The Belgian is likely to be handed a chance on Wednesday and if he grabs it with both hands, we might see Chelsea’s very own Batman get the attention he perhaps deserves.
Chelsea 2-1 Nottingham Forest
Chelsea have enough firepower in their tank to get through on Wednesday. Mark Warburton’s Nottingham Forest is unlikely to make it easy for the defending Premier League champions. The visitors are likely to test a potentially heavily-rotated Chelsea side, who are still tipped to come out on top. A draw might not be a total surprise, though.