It’s a blockbuster feature in the Carabao Cup fourth round. Chelsea will be looking to avenge opening day 4-0 humiliation to Manchester United in the Premier League. Since the last time the sides have met, their fortunes have taken contrasting routes, so much so that Chelsea might walk in as slight favourites to progress.
United looked in fine shape full of energy and attacking prowess in August as Chelsea seemed pretty hungover from losing their best player and further handicapped by the summer transfer ban. Two and a half months ahead, the roles seem to be pretty much reversed. Chelsea charge into this fixture with 7 wins in all competitions, sitting in the top four of the PL table and top of their UCL group. Ole finally exorcised the away victory demons with two wins away at Partizan and Norwich. The reds however eagerly await the transfer window for reinforcements with a squad currently reeling with mediocre performances and persistent injuries.
United will look to build on the recently found momentum and this competition provides Ole to win his first trophy. Lampard will be confident with Chelsea not losing a home game in this competition since January 2013. Their recent form has been very telling with them rounding up Grimsby 7-1 to feature in the fourth stage.
The Red Devils barely made it out against League One side Rochdale that held them on till penalties. However, with United’s recent troubles with penalties, they will hope to seal the fixture before it gets to that.
Pogba, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Fosu Mensah, Dalot, Matic and Shaw all remain sidelined for the reds providing an outside chance to cast aways like Rojo, Mata and Romero along with younsters like Greenwood, Garner, Gomes and Williams. Che;sea will be without Rudiger and Christensen but might not miss them too much with how the pairing of Zouma and Tomori has been working out at the back.
Ole will want to make it 3 in 3 in his visits to West London but will have to employ his tactics on point to beat a Chelsea team high on confidence. The confidence was seen rubbing off even on fringe players like Pulisic who became the youngest player to score a hat trick for Chelsea in the league on the weekend.
Manchester United have shown progress as the recent results suggest and there will be more scope for that with Chelsea being leaky at the back. However, the confidence in the front will pose serious questions to a still consolidating United defence while providing the questionable creative players yet another chance to prove their abilities.
This competition gives both managers the chance to register themselves their debut managerial trophy at the giant clubs. It also allows them the chance to understand the potential of their respective youth players while assessing their transfer window needs. An exciting night awaits and never mind the result, its gonna be a cracker of a game. Lets hope the red sparks catch the eye rather than the blue flames as the final whistle blows.