Venue: Stamford Bridge
Date: Wednesday, 31 October
Kick-off: 19.45 GMT
Back to the scene of the crime tonight then – of course I’m referring to the robbery we were subjected to in the Premier League on Sunday – although this time it’s the League Cup and whilst we’d usually place a lot less importance on this game as a rule, the injustice at the weekend is still raw enough to not really want to lose again.
There may have been a time when a victory like that one Sunday would have felt a bit hollow for United. Let’s face it, even against ten men they weren’t going to take 3 points off us and they’ll know we were the better side. Now though, it seems they’re prepared to celebrate a win however they manage to scrape it, and having come away from last season completely trophy-less, they’ll want a win tonight as much as us – although maybe for different reasons.
Sunday’s game has left us a bit more depleted than we’d have liked and ahead of tonight, Di Matteo says “It is certainly a tricky situation because we have Branislav Ivanovic, Fernando Torres and John Terry suspended, and Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole out injured. Ashley’s ankle is sore and swollen and he won’t recover in time for tomorrow. So it reduces the squad but everybody else is okay. It is also our fourth game in 10 days and they have all been big games so we are looking to freshen the team up a little bit for sure, and also put a couple of youngsters in. We always talk about developing and giving youngsters a chance so this type of game is a good opportunity for some of them.
I am not sure United are going to go with a similar team to the one they had against Newcastle or they are going to mix up it. It is a bit of an unknown and we will have to wait for the teamsheet, but I am not expecting just a young team, I am expecting a strong team. When you play Man United it is always a big game in whichever competition you play in. I hope the supporters get behind the team, the young players especially, and push us on to a win. Any trophy you add to your cabinet is a plus and this is one you have to try your best to go and get. That is the objective.”
Meanwhile, with Clattenburg unavailable tonight, Fergie says “Obviously we will make changes for the Wednesday game. The squad that played against Newcastle will be in place again. You don’t want to lose down there and we want to continue in the cup. Any game down there is going to be tough. There has been good progress there since Roberto di Matteo took the job. They are big games – and big games are good for us.”
For Chelsea, Ivanovic, Torres and JT are all banned. Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole (ankle) miss out through injury, so we could be looking at starts for Azpilicueta, Moses, Marin and Sturridge.
For United, Kagawa (knee), Smalling (metatarsal), Jones (back & knee) and Vidic (knee) are out, RVP, Rooney and Ferdinand may be rested although Lee Mason may well be called into the squad if needed late on.
CHELSEA (from): Cech, Azpilicueta, Ferreira, Cahill, Luiz, Bertrand, Mikel, Romeu, Ramires, Mata, Hazard, Oscar, Moses, Piazon, Marin, Sturridge, Turnbull, Saville, Ake.
MAN UNITED (from): De Gea, Lindegaard, Johnstone, Wootton, Rafael, Evans, Keane, Buttner, Valencia, Anderson, Nani, Carrick, Cleverley, Fletcher, Powell, Scholes, Cole, Lingard, Vermijl, Tunnicliffe, Hernandez, Welbeck, Macheda, King.
Chelsea 2-3 Clattenburg (28th October 2012)
Unsurprisingly, United are now unbeaten in their last 6 against us in all competitions, so if Mason has the sort of game for them his colleague had at the weekend, that run is unlikely to end.