New name, same competition. The EFL Cup has gone through quite a few names over the years, but this season, it’s been dubbed the Carabao Cup.
In third-round action, Chelsea welcome Nottingham Forest to Stamford Bridge for a Wednesday night fixture under the lights.
The Blues record against lower-division sides in the League Cup has been very good over the years, winning 17 of their last 19 matches and have won their last nine encounters against those sides.
Nottingham Forest have had a season of ups and downs in a short time span. After eight games in the Championship, Forest have exactly the same number of wins as losses, with their record standing at four victories and four defeats.
Manager Marc Warburton kept Forest from relegation on the final day of last season, and his Forest side started this season well, winning five of his first six matches in all competitions. Recently, Forest have seen a downturn in form, losing three of their last four in the Championship.
Forest are a side that like to have possession of the ball and tend to use it as a form of defence, especially since defence might be the weakest part of their side. Forest are tied with Derby and Millwall as the fifth-highest scorers in the Championship this season with 11 goals, but on the flip side, they’ve also conceded the fourth-most in the division with 13.
The biggest threat from Forest may come from Barrie McKay who joined Forest from Rangers in the summer for £600,000. The Scottish midfielder had played under Marc Warburton during his time with Rangers, and so far this season, he has contributed 2 goals and 4 assists.
For Chelsea, manager Antonio Conte has already indicated some changes that will be made from the side that drew against Arsenal.
Eden Hazard is expected to start against Forest with the goal of playing the full 90 minutes in what will be the last step in his recovery from the broken ankle he suffered this past June on international duty.
Charly Musonda may be handed a start and a chance to prove himself to the manager, while Kenedy, despite some controversy during the preseason tour of China, may also start, presumably at left wing back to give Marcos Alonso a rest.
Ethan Ampadu signed his first professional contract with the club and has trained with the first-team squad ahead of Wednesday’s match after not featuring in Monday’s match with the development squad. Likewise, Dujon Sterling also joined the first team for training and also missed Monday’s match.
It’s unclear how many changes Antonio Conte plans to make for Wednesday’s game, but there is one forced change. David Luiz’s sending off against Arsenal means that he is suspended for Wednesday’s match, and it’s likely that Andreas Christensen will start in his place.
Tactically speaking, it’ll be more interesting to see how Nottingham Forest will play against Chelsea. Forest’s primary formation is a 4-2-3-1, but they have played a couple variations of a back three in two of their away matches this season.
Chelsea will obviously revert to the 3-4-2-1 that Conte has favoured since last October, and should Warburton choose to mirror that formation, his defence and midfield will need to play well to stop any combination of Chelsea’s attacks, especially with Hazard playing from the start.