The journey to Chelsea’s first opportunity to win a trophy continues when the Blues welcome Bournemouth to Stamford Bridge for the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.
It’s hard to tell what will be on show Wednesday night. With the fixtures coming quickly over the next couple of weeks, both Chelsea and Bournemouth will likely be looking to manage their squad.
What that will mean for each team’s starting 11 will be discovered, but in the case of Chelsea, the desire to win a trophy might see Maurizio Sarri play a fairly strong 11.
But he does have some injury concerns. Alvaro Morata dodged a serious knee injury when he landed awkwardly against MOL Vidi, but he’s still not fit to participate against Bournemouth.
Eden Hazard was in line to start against Bournemouth, however he took a knock to his foot in Sunday’s match against Brighton and will be a match-day decision on whether he takes part.
Bournemouth, on the other hand, have more injury concerns. Simon Francis and Tyrone Mings are both nursing injuries and are doubts for Wednesday, while Dan Gosling, Lewis Cook, and Adam Smith are on the sidelines with longer-term injuries.
The big doubt for Bournemouth is Callum Wilson who’s nursing a hamstring injury, and he’s been the main goalscoring threat for the Cherries.
But Eddie Howe’s team will relish the chance to hopefully capitalise on Chelsea’s rotation and possible complacency to make their first major cup semi-final.
Last season, they got very close at this stage of the competition when they also faced Chelsea, when Alvaro Morata’s late injury time winner gave Chelsea a 2-1 win and broke Bournemouth’s heart after Dan Gosling had equalised just 75 seconds earlier.
Chelsea need to be aware of that, particularly if Sarri rotates his squad and plays a similar team to the one that faced MOL Vidi. That squad succumbed to a bit of complacency and only drew 2-2, and Sarri will be hoping that his squad players can show him a bit of focus, especially if they want to push for more match time.