Chelsea - Wolves Preview: Blues begin campaign in search of fifth League Cup triumph
Roberto Di Matteo could make several changes in order to give his fringe players a chance to impress for the visit of the Championship club to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday
By Oliver Platt
Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz, Bertrand
Moses, Piazon, Marin
Stearman, Berra, Johnson, Ward
Peszko, Henry, Doumbia, Sako
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo is likely to make several changes to his team ahead of their match against Arsenal on Saturday.
Cesar Azpilicueta, Victor Moses, Marko Marin and Lucas Piazon could all be in line for their first starts for the club. Azpilicueta is likely to relieve Branislav Ivanovic of his right-back duties to make his first appearance since joining the Blues, while Moses has made two substitute appearances in the Premier League.
Piazon has trained with the first-team squad after impressing during pre-season, while Marin (hamstring) has been missing through injury but returned to action for the Under-21 team against Liverpool on September 14.
John Terry was rested against Stoke City and is unlikely to play again here, so Gary Cahill and David Luiz should continue at centre-back. Ryan Bertrand could come in for Ashley Cole and Ross Turnbull may be handed an opportunity in goal.
Oriol Romeu is another such fringe player in contention to start, but Daniel Sturridge (hamstring) may not be risked after injury, so Fernando Torres is likely to continue in attack.
Wolves could name an unchanged team after beating Peterborough away from home on Saturday. Razak Boukhari will push Slawomir Peszko for his place on the wing, while Bjorn Sigurdarson scored his first goal for the club at London Road and may be in contention to replace Sylvan Ebanks-Blake or Kevin Doyle.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Chelsea have won the League Cup four times in their history, with their last victory coming in the 2006-07 season.
- The Blues beat Arsenal at the Millennium Stadium on that occasion thanks to two goals from Didier Drogba (pictured right), who cancelled out Theo Walcott's opening strike.
- Petr Cech, John Terry and Frank Lampard are the only players that started that game that remain at Stamford Bridge today, while Ashley Cole and John Obi Mikel were on the bench.
- Drogba also scored when Chelsea won the trophy in the 2004-05 season. Extra-time goals from the Ivorian and Mateja Kezman secured a 3-2 victory for then-manager Jose Mourinho.
- Wolves suffered two defeats against Chelsea as they were relegated from the Premier League last season, being beaten 2-1 at Molineux and 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.
- The Black Country club sit in fifth place in the Championship having won four of their opening seven matches under new manager Stale Solbakken.
- Solbakken's success as manager of HamKam in Norway earned him the jobs at Copenhagen and Koln, at the latter of which he took charge of stars such as Lukas Podolski.
- The 44-year-old played for Wimbledon in the 1997-98 season but despite an impressive start to life in England he left the club having made just six appearances after falling out with manager Joe Kinnear.
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Top 3 Predictions
Chelsea FC 3-0 Wolves
- 28.32 %
Chelsea FC 2-0 Wolves
- 13.91 %
Chelsea FC 4-0 Wolves
- 12.01 %
|Capital One Cup (CCUP)||25 Sep 2012||Chelsea FC 6 - Wolves 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||2 Jan 2012||Wolves 1 - Chelsea FC 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||26 Nov 2011||Chelsea FC 3 - Wolves 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||5 Jan 2011||Wolves 1 - Chelsea FC 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||23 Oct 2010||Chelsea FC 2 - Wolves 0|
|17 Dec 2013||Sunderland 2 - Chelsea FC 1||CCUP|
|14 Dec 2013||Chelsea FC 2 - Crystal Palace 1||EPL|
|11 Dec 2013||Chelsea FC 1 - Steaua Bucureşti 0||UCL|
|7 Dec 2013||Stoke City 3 - Chelsea FC 2||EPL|
|4 Dec 2013||Sunderland 3 - Chelsea FC 4||EPL|
|12||John Obi Mikel||Midfielder|
|1||Dorus De Vries||Goalkeeper|
|-||Björn Bergmann Sigurðarson||Striker|
The new signing has work to do in order to force his way into the starting line-up ahead of the creative triumvirate of Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard, but produced another useful cameo performance against Stoke City on Saturday. He should get his chance to start for the first time here and will be keen to stake his claim for a more regular place in the team.
Steven Fletcher's sale has handed an opportunity to the Manchester United academy graduate, who shone for Wolves in the country's second tier but struggled to score regularly in the top flight. Ebanks-Blake scored 25 goals last time he played in the Championship and is only just entering his prime years at the age of 26. He has four goals in eight games so far this season.
It is difficult to envisage the Blues encountering problems in seeing off Stale Solbakken's team here, although the margin of victory will depend on how many changes Roberto Di Matteo makes to his starting XI. Although Chelsea's performances have been somewhat up and down after a dazzling start, Di Matteo has proven his ability to grind out results and that should stand them in good stead in what will, in all likelihood, be a low-key atmosphere at Stamford Bridge.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed