Venue: Stamford Bridge
Date: Tuesday, 25 September
Kick-off: 19.45 GMT
We might be the FA Cup holders and Champions of Europe but it’s been a while since we’ve won the League Cup. In fact, we haven’t even made it as far as the quarter-finals for the past 4 seasons and given our ability to completely tune out of games for long periods lately, that’s a trend that may continue unless we turn up for the full 90 minutes tonight.
Of course, it’s customary to make changes for League Cup games and give fringe players a chance and Di Matteo has certainly indicated that’ll be the case again tonight, but whoever’s in the side, it’d still be nice to give a good account of ourselves – whatever competition it happens to be.
Going into tonight’s game, Roberto Di Matteo focuses on team talk, keeping it short and sweet saying “I’m sure there’ll be one or two that haven’t had much time on the pitch who’ll be playing. We’ll mix it up. There are a few players who have played one or two games before that deserve a chance and there will be some senior players too.”
Wolves boss Stale Solbakken is also preparing to make changes, saying “Many of them will have a well-deserved break but, having said that, I think the team I’m putting out can do exactly the same as the team I could have put out – they are hungry and waiting for their chance. They are also fresh and I think that will be a big difference, if you meet Chelsea with many players who have played three games in six days they will struggle to cope with the fitness level that is demanded in a game like that. I have complete faith that the players who haven’t played so much so far will do a good job, perhaps a better job.”
For Chelsea, Daniel Sturridge (hamstring) is still out and John Terry’s availability is unclear given his FA hearing. Marko Marin is fit again and could make a debut appearance and there could be a full debut on the cards for Victor Moses. New signing Cesar Azpilicueta and Lucas Piazon could also feature.
For Wolves, keeper Wayne Hennessey (knee) is out although there are no new injury concerns. Manager Stale Solbakken suggests there could be “nine or ten” changes, with potential starts for David Davis, Danny Batth, Stephen Hunt, Ronald Zubar, Frank Nouble and Georg Margreitter.
CHELSEA (from): Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Luiz, Cole, Bertrand, Mikel, Romeu, Lampard, Ramires, Mata, Hazard, Oscar, Moses, Marin, Piazon, Torres, Turnbull.
Wolves 1-2 Chelsea (2nd January 2012)
Wolves last won at Stamford Bridge in 1979 but I, for one, won’t be getting carried away with that. Looking at current form, whilst we might still be top of the Premier League, with 3 wins in 6 days, Wolves are probably happier with their lot than we are. Add to that our previous benevolence towards lower league opposition in this competition, and you’d have to say our players would do well to remember charity begins at home.