Chelsea travel within London to play Brentford in the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup. Brentford beat Stoke City 1-2 in the Round of 16 and have since won 2, drawn 2, and lost 3 of their games. Brentford’s last game came on the 11th so they have had 10 days but with several positive cases and injuries they are also suffering from squad problems. At the moment Brentford sit 12th in the table and have had a decent first half in the Premier League. The same fixture in the Premier League was a tough game for Chelsea and we fought hard for the win with the game ending 1-0.
Chelsea go into this game having beaten Southampton on penalties. That game seeks like ages ago and Chelsea have since won 6, drawn 5, and lost 1 of the 12 games. The recent game against Wolves went ahead with the proposal of a postponement by Chelsea being rejected before the game. On the day the result was a decent one and the draw and clean sheet was fine. Nothing has changed since Sunday though with the Covid players still out but Tuchel has brought in some academy reinforcements because it impossible for these players to play 4 games on the bounce. The game on Boxing Day is against Villa at Villa Park and both Brentford and Villa like to play high tempo football. No way these players could play so many games.
Chelsea Team Preview
Christensen, and Chalobah are out injured while Kante will be rested. Havertz, Lukaku, Werner, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi remain out due to Covid. Lewis Baker was supposed to play this game but tested positive as well and so is out. Jorginho is back in contention for this game while Chilwell is still out until next month. I expect Kepa to start in goal with a back three of Azpilicueta, Mbuyamba, and Sarr. James, and Rankine could start as the wing backs with a midfield of Jorginho, and Vale. The front three should be Mount, Pulisic, and Barkley. Now this is a total guess because I do expect Tuchel to rotate given the circumstances. Tuchel does take every trophy seriously but his hands are tied in this situation. The likes of Simons, Gilchrist, Wareham, Fiabema etc could be part of the bench. Saul could start as well but he looked comfortable in a midfield 3 as opposed to a midfield 2 during the weekend. It really is anyone’s guess at the moment.
Brentford Team Preview
Brentford also have several injury issues while Toney might be back for this game. Pinnock also had Covid and could be available. I expect them to rotate their team for this one and we could see some youth players and B team players involved. The injuries are mainly in defence with Ajer a big miss while Raya is also out. Regardless of how Brentford lineup though we can expect them to play the high tempo pressing football they do. Forss is a top scorer in the competition while Ghoddos is also a good player. The likes of Mbeumo, Wissa, Norgaard, etc are available as well.
Starting XI Prediction
Above I have gone with Brentford’s best possible lineup when I do expect them to rotate a few players. As far as Chelsea go that is my best guess as to who could play along with rotation. There is a high chance more academy players will be involved for the Blues. It really could be Brentford B vs Chelsea U23’s more or less. Either way it is a Quarter-Final for a trophy so regardless of who is on the pitch I expect them to give it their all, especially since it’s a London Derby. If we stay solid at the back and finish our chances then we should go through. Time for a new batch of Cobham youngsters to take their chance. COME ON CHELSEA!!!