Chelsea will welcome arch rivals Manchester United to Stamford Bridge for their Carabao Cup Round of 16 tie on Wednesday night.
Chelsea will be aiming to advance further in the Carabao Cup when they lock horns with Premier League rivals Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in the Round of 16 stage.
Having thrashed lower league outfit Grimsby Town 7-1 in the third round of the Carabao Cup last month, Chelsea have gone on to win each of their subsequent six fixtures in all competitions, with their most recent match ending in a 4-2 win against Burnley. With form and momentum on their side, Frank Lampard’s men will be confident heading into the midweek contest.
Manchester United had to labour past Rochdale, beating them 5-3 on penalties to reach the Last 16 stage of the competition. Since then, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have won just two of their six matches (D3 L1), both of which came away from home last week against Partizan Belgrade and Norwich City. Having shown signs of improvement, the Red Devils will be hoping to get the better of their rivals on Wednesday.
Manchester United and Chelsea have already clashed once this season in the Premier League, with the Red Devils prevailing 4-0 at home. And ahead of the latest meeting between the rivals in the Carabao Cup, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Chelsea will once again be without the services of key men Antonio Rudiger and N’Golo Kante, while Andreas Christensen and Ross Barkley are also major doubts for the game. Ruben Loftus-Cheek remains a long-term absentee for the hosts.
Lampard had used a number of his fringe players and youngsters in the last round of the Carabao Cup, but may be tempted to field a more experienced team against Manchester United on Wednesday. That being said, there will be a few changes to the team that started against Burnley at the weekend.
Starting from goal, Willy Caballero should get the nod for the cup tie ahead of first-choice keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. Academy product Reece James is likely to replace Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta at right-back, while Emerson Palmieri should start on the left flank in place of Marcos Alonso. Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori are likely to continue as the two centre-halves.
With no Kante and Barkley a major doubt, Lampard has little room for rotation in the middle of the park. While youngster Billy Gilmour is an option the manager is likely to stick with Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho once again on Wednesday night.
Pedro and Callum Hudson-Odoi are pretty much certain to feature in attack, having not been started at the weekend. Mason Mount could be given a breather by Lampard though, with last game’s hat-trick hero Christian Pulisic starting again. Michy Batshuayi, who scored a brace in the last cup tie, could feature from the start ahead of Olivier Giroud, who is also struggling for game time.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Caballero; James, Zouma, Tomori, Emerson; Jorginho, Kovacic; Hudson-Odoi, Pedro, Pulisic; Batshuayi
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has been ruled out of action till December, while the likes of Diogo Dalot, Axel Tuanzebe, Nemanja Matic and Luke Shaw are also sidelined. Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are long-term absentees for the Red Devils.
David de Gea has not travelled with the squad to London. Youngsters Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood also haven’t made the trip, with the trio likely to be involved in the EFL Trophy game away to Doncaster on Tuesday, although they could link up with the senior team after their match. (h/t Manchester Evening News)
It could be possible that Solskjaer decides to revert to the three-man backline he had utilised against Liverpool and Partizan Belgrade earlier this month against an in-form Chelsea side
Sergio Romero is certain to start between the sticks for Manchester United. A three-man backline comprising of Phil Jones, Harry Maguire and Marcos Rojo is likely to start at Stamford Bridge, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka and youngster Brandon Williams ought to be the two wing-backs.
Solskjaer has hinted that young midfielder James Garner will get some minutes on Wednesday, but the youngster is unlikely to feature from the start, with Fred and Scott McTominay starting in the middle again. Jesse Lingard should return to the side, operating in the hole behind the two strikers who ought to be Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, both of whom scored on Sunday against Norwich.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Romero; Jones, Maguire, Rojo; Wan-Bissaka, McTominay, Fred, Williams; Lingard; Rashford, Martial
- Chelsea and Manchester United have clashed five times before in the League Cup, with both teams winning two matches each (D1). The most recent meeting in the competition came in 2012-13, which Chelsea won 5-4 after extra time.
- Manchester United have been knocked out from this competition at the hands of teams from lower divisions in the past four seasons. The last Premier League outfit to eliminate them were Sunderland in 2013-14.
- Chelsea are currently on a seven-match winning run across all competitions. The Blues will be hoping to register their eighth successive win for the first time since the club record run of 10 between October 2016 and January 2017.
- Manchester United have been awarded six penalties this season and have missed four of them, including two against Norwich City at Carrow Road this past weekend.
- Chelsea and Manchester United have locked horns on 24 occasions in cup competitions, with the Red Devils enjoying a upper-hand having won 13 of those matches, while losing 7.
Player to Watch
The 21-year-old USMNT star’s debut season at Chelsea was off to a rather slow start, so much so that Pulisic had just started just one of the Blues’ seven games since the 2-2 draw against Sheffield United until this past weekend.
However, having made an impression coming on from the bench against Ajax in the Champions League last week, Pulisic was handed a start against Burnley and he made the most of the opportunity. The former Borussia Dortmund went on to score a perfect hat-trick against the Clarets, showcasing his quality, leading Chelsea to a victory.
Lampard has chosen to integrate the 21-year-old slowly into the side, but after the weekend’s performance, he will want to keep Pulisic’s form and momentum going by handing him a start against Manchester United. Expect him to cause problems to the Red Devils’ defence on Wednesday night.
Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United
Chelsea may have lost to Manchester United heavily on the opening day of the Premier League season, but that game could have gone either way given the number of chances that the Blues created. They have improved drastically since that day and are in fine form heading into the Carabao Cup clash on Wednesday, having won seven games in a row.
Manchester United have been quite poor travellers under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, although things have been on the rise in the past two games, with the Red Devils registering back-to-back victories on the road against Partizan Belgrade and Norwich City.
It will be a keenly contested tie at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea taking the game to Manchester United, who might look to best utilise the pace in their attack and hit the hosts on the counter. The Blues have the edge in terms of current form and will have the home support egging them on, which is why we at The Hard Tackle are backing them to come out on top.