Carabao Cup 2018-19: Chelsea v Derby, Preview & Prediction
After triumphing in the previous round thanks to a piece of magic from Eden Hazard, Chelsea will be looking to reach the quarter-final of this year's EFL Cup with a victory over a Derby County at Stamford Bridge.
The Rams, though, have made an impressive start to life under Frank Lampard in the Championship, and after knocking Manchester United out at Old Trafford, have proved that they're a force to be reckoned with. With Lampard returning to the club where he won everything as a player, he'll be looking to wipe the smiles off the fans that he once thrilled in his playing days.
Burnley 0-4 Chelsea (Premier League)
Chelsea temporarily climbed to second place in the Premier League with a solid victory over Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday afternoon. Alvaro Morata has had a tough time since moving to England, but the Spaniard was on the scoresheet once again and began the rout after 20 minutes.
It took until the second half for the second, and Ross Barkley, who is enjoying a renaissance at Stamford Bridge, bagged himself a goal. Willian and Ruben Loftus-Cheek also got in on the action with a goal each on what was a day to forget for the Clarets.
Middlesbrough 1-1 Derby (Championship)
After beating promotion rivals Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion in the last week, the difficult fixtures continued with a visit to Teeside on Saturday. Derby could've gone top with a victory, and the Rams were straight out of the blocks to force George Friend into scoring a goal after 20 minutes gone.
Frank Lampard's men were on top after going ahead but couldn't find the route to doubling their lead. The away side were made to rue those missed chances, as Jayden Bogle scored an embarrassing own goal with just 10 minutes remaining, All with Boro registering 0 shots on target, Tony Pulis football at its finest.
Eden Hazard likely won't be risked for this one after picking up a back injury and missing the match against Burnley. Pedro will miss this one with a stomach bug and Ethan Ampadu is also unavailable with a knee injury.
Squad rotation will feature heavily in Sarri's lineup, as the likes of Olivier Giroud are handed a start. Also coming in are Gary Cahill, Anders Christensen, Emerson, Davide Zapacosta, Cesc Fabregas, Mateo Kovacic and Victor Moses. Strangely, Sarri has chosen to not play Willy Caballero in any of the cups so far this season, so Kepa Arrizabalaga should keep his starting berth.
Frank Lampard made his intentions perfectly clear when it comes to the EFL Cup, picking strong lineups throughout the Rams' run this season. Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori are both available for selection, despite the duo being on-loan from Chelsea, Derby receiving special permission from the Blues.
Elsewhere, it's just one change from the draw against Middlesbrough, Craig Forsyth coming in for Scott Malone at left-back.
Key Player: Willian
While Olivier Giroud will likely be the sole striker for Chelsea tomorrow, their main attacking threat will arguably be Willian. Giroud isn't too dissimilar to a lot of Championship strikers with regards to his skillset, but the Brazilian winger is something you scarcely find in the second tier.
His dribbling, pace and intricate passing will be something that the Derby backline will do well to keep him from scoring once again. When you add in his free-kicks too, he's a danger from dead ball situations as well.
Super Frank's Return
We can't talk about this game without talking about Frank Lampard. Lampard was a player for Chelsea for 13 years, and in his time at Stamford Bridge, he won everything available in club football. It goes without saying that he's a legend at the Blues, and he'll no doubt receive a very warm welcome from the fans that followed him up and down the country on Wednesday evening.
Super Frank has made a good start to his management career with Derby firmly in the promotion picture in the Championship so far this season. With one of the biggest budgets in the second tier at his disposal, don't rule out Lampard managing the Rams against his old side against Chelsea in the Premier League next season.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Derby
Even with Chelsea playing their B team, they should overcome Derby here. The Blues' reserves are almost all full internationals and have been beating European champions in the Europa League, not to mention Liverpool in the previous round.
The Rams are a solid side and shouldn't be embarrassed, but with a very solid defence and a good goalkeeper in Arrizabalaga, they'll do well to prevent the Spaniard from keeping a clean sheet.