Chelsea travels to Walsall on Wednesday, as they begin their campaign to defend the Capital One Cup against the League One outfit in the third round.
TEAM NEWS, INJURY UPDATES, AND SUSPENSIONS
John Terry will return to the side as Jose Mourinho looks to provide the Chelsea captain with minutes after he was left out of the team against Arsenal and Maccabi Tel Aviv. Mourinho also iterated that he will be making wholesale changes to the team, in a bid to give the fringe players a chance. Falcao will start, and so will Kenedy and Baba Rahman in all probability. However, Jose Mourinho is still contemplating whether to hand young goalkeeper Jamal Blackman a start ahead of Asmir Begovic. Meanwhile, Willian is out with a hamstring injury.
The big news for the Saddlers is that top scorer Tom Bradshaw, who limped off the pitch on Saturday during their 1-1 draw against Peterborough, is back in training. The rest of the squad are fit for selection.
After a horrible start to the season, finally things seem to be looking up for Chelsea. With two consecutive victories, along with two clean sheets, Chelsea look to have found some stability at the back. Although there is no denying the fact that Chelsea’s job was made easier by the sending off of Cazorla and Gabriel, the Blues looked the far better team even when all players were on the pitch.
While this match may not look like much of a mouthwatering clash, we must not forget last season’s loss against League One side Bradford in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge, which was nothing but shameful. Giant killing is quite common in the domestic cups, and any complacency will be punished, but with the recent improvement in form, Chelsea should see off their opponents with comfort.
With nothing to lose, Walsall will be going at Chelsea from the first minute, buoyed by the presence of their fans in their stadium. Having lost their first place to Burton Albion, following a draw against Peterborough on Saturday, manager Dean Smith will be looking to motivate his players to take the game to Chelsea, which would clearly send a message.
And they will not have to be reminded of huge upsets. Last season Bradford knocked Chelsea out of the FA Cup while MK Dons destroyed Manchester United in the league cup. While such a result is unlikely, it is certainly not impossible, especially when you play at home.
Chelsea last faced Walsall in 1992, in the league cup, which was then known as the Coca Cola League Cup. Chelsea won the match 1-0.
LAST 5 MEETINGS
Chelsea 1-0 Walsall 07/10/1992
Walsall 0-3 Chelsea 23/09/1992
Chelsea 4-1 Walsall 10/10/1990
Walsall 0-5 Chelsea 26/09/1990
Walsall 0-7 Chelsea 04/02/1989
PREDICTED STARTING LINEUPS
Chelsea: Blackman (GK), Azpilicueta, Zouma, Terry, Baba Rahman, Ramires, Loftus-Cheek, Hazard, Kenedy, Pedro, Falcao
Walsall: Etheridge (GK), Demetriou, Taylor, O’ Conor, Downing, Chambers, Mantom, Bradshaw, Sawyers, Henry, Flanagan
Walsall 0-4 Chelsea
Time: 1945 GMT / 0015 IST
Venue: Bank’s Stadium
Referee: Lee Mason
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Edited By: Karan Dubey
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