Chelsea take on Bournemouth at home on Wednesday evening looking to progress to the Semi-Finals of the Carabao Cup, and edge closer to winning the first trophy of Maurizio Sarri’s reign as Chelsea manager.
Winning the Carabao Cup would give Maurizio Sarri his first trophy in his whole career. And would answer his critics who thought that he was the wrong appointment for Chelsea due to him not winning any silverware.
So this game will be taken seriously by the Chelsea boss, as he would want to silence his critics in his first year.
Whereas for Bournemouth, they come into this quarter-final tie as massive underdogs like they did last year when they faced Chelsea in the Carabao Cup.
Eddie Howe’s side will be looking to cause a massive upset and reach the semi-final, which would be a huge boost for the South Coast side, as they would be 2 games away from reaching Wembley.
Recent form for both teams in all competitions
Chelsea head into Wednesday’s EFL Cup quarter-final tie with Bournemouth on the back of a hard-fought win over Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League at the weekend.
However, Bournemouth have lost six of their last seven fixtures and manager Eddie Howe will be keen to end that run ahead of a tough run of fixtures during the Christmas period.
Alvaro Morata is out for this game with a knee injury sustained in Chelsea’s match with MOL Vidi in the Europa League last week.
Victor Moses is also likely to miss out as he has returned from his respective injury, but he is very low on fitness, so I doubt that Sarri would use him in a quarter-final.
It was admitted in Zola’s press conference today that Hazard will be assessed today after he picked up a knock in Chelsea’s 1-2 win against Brighton at the weekend. So it is uncertain to whether Hazard will have any involvement in tomorrow’s quarter-final.
Gary Cahill could return after a recent injury to take his place in a much-changed back four, while Cesc Fabregas could feature in the centre of a midfield three which also includes Loftus-Cheek and Barkley.
Giroud should lead the line, but Sarri must decide whether to hand another start to Hudson-Odoi over either Willian or Pedro.
Ampadu may also start in this game, however, it is likely that Cahill and Christensen will be the 2 centre-backs that Sarri picks for this quarter-final.
Callum Wilson is unlikely to start in this game after only returning from injury in their defeat to Wolves at the weekend. And Howe admitted his worries about the fear of unnecessarily rushing Wilson back today in his press conference; “Callum Wilson had a hamstring problem and we rushed him back to be fit for Wolves, we still have to be careful with him to make sure he can perform over the coming games.”
Tyrone Mings and Simon Francis are out of this game with injuries. However Simon Francis is close to returning, but this game is too soon for him.
Adam Smith, Lewis Cook and Dan Gosling will all be missing for Bournemouth due to knee injuries
Chelsea predicted 11- Caballero, Emerson, Christensen, Cahill, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Loftus-Cheek, Barkley, Willian, Giroud, Pedro.
Bournemouth predicted 11- Boruc, Simpson, S.Cook Ake, Rico, Brooks, Surman, Lerma, Pugh, King, Mousset.
Chelsea- Assistant Manager: Gianfranco Zola (Credit for the quotes- Chelsea official twitter page)
Zola says it is never pleasant to see a coach losing his job, following the departure of Jose Mourinho from Man United, especially someone who won so much at Chelsea. Zola wishes him well.
Zola says racism does not belong in football but he adds that he knows the Chelsea fans well and thinks they will react in a positive way.
Zola notes that tomorrow’s opponents Bournemouth are a good side who keep improving and who have a good coach. But Chelsea are approaching the game with a lot of confidence he says.
Zola says this is a new group at Chelsea who want to do well for the club, and the Carabao Cup is a chance for that.
Zola admits that sometimes the team plays in the Sarri style and sometimes not so close, but that this is part of the normal learning process. He adds that Sarri is very serious about his work.
On Chelsea’s interest in Bournemouth Striker Callum Wilson, Zola says that he is a great player, and he reckons that he is of interest to not only Chelsea but too many other teams.- Fuelling the rumours that Chelsea will try to buy Callum Wilson in the January Transfer Window.
Bournemouth Manager: Eddie Howe (Credit for the quotes- Bournemouth’s official twitter page)
EH on Bournemouth’s poor recent form: “I think naturally when you don’t get the results you want, there’s a determination to put it right. It’s important that we stay very focused.”
EH: “Tomorrow is a great game for us. We’re very excited to be in the competition and we want to get to the semi-final.”
“We’ve never been in the semi-final of a major cup competition, so we’re desperate to try and get there.”
EH: “Stamford Bridge is a place we really enjoy playing at. Even this season, it was a tight game and we had some good chances.”
EH: “I think a lot of teams have struggled to get results against the big teams, but that’s not to say that it’s impossible.”
EH: “Last year, we got back in the game against Chelsea with a really good goal. But, we learned a lot of lessons, as we always do against these teams.”
EH: “We have to be very focused and disciplined in all aspects of the game. We all have to do our jobs and, if we do, I back our quality.”
Head to Head
These two teams have met 12 times in all competitions, with Chelsea winning 9 games, and Bournemouth winning 3 games with no draws between these two sides.
In terms of League Cup/Carabao Cup head to head record, these sides have met 3 times, with Chelsea winning all 3 encounters with the Cherries in the League Cup, including a 2-1 victory at this stage last season – Dan Gosling had equalised in the 90th minute for the Cherries but Alvaro Morata scored Chelsea’s winner just 75 seconds later, to send Chelsea through to last seasons Carabao Cup Semi-Final where they lost to Arsenal.
Match Facts (Credit- BBC Sport)
- Chelsea are looking to reach the League Cup semi-finals in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2007-08.
- Chelsea have won seven of their last eight home League Cup games (drew one), since a 2-0 defeat versus Swansea in the 2012-13 semi-final.
- Chelsea have benefited from two own goals in the League Cup this season, more than any other side and accounting for 40% of their total goals scored (two of five).
- Bournemouth are looking to reach the semi-finals of the League Cup for the first time in their history.
- Bournemouth have won two of their last five League Cup games against top-flight opponents (lost three), as many as they had in their previous 22 in the competition (won two, drew five, lost 15).
- Junior Stanislas has scored in his last two League Cup games for Bournemouth.
Betting Odds/My Prediction
Bet 365 have made Chelsea favourites for this quarter-final tie, with a Chelsea win being priced at 3/10. A draw after 90 minutes between these two sides is being priced at 5/1. A surprise Bournemouth win is being priced 10/1.
My Prediction for this game is a 3-2 high-scoring win to Chelsea. I just have a feeling that it will be a very open game for both teams, who will both be looking to play attacking football and be on the front foot from minute one to minute ninety.
So I expect an entertaining cup tie on Wednesday evening. Will Chelsea repeat last year’s result against Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup?
Or will Bournemouth upset Chelsea in the Carabao Cup at the second time of asking?
We will find out tomorrow…
By Danyal Khan
Categories: Premier League