"Absolute baller" "Hall of fame performance tonight" - Chelsea fans filled with expectations as 2 players earn rare starts for Carabao Cup clash against Manchester City

Potter's decision over midfield duo is praised

Chelsea fans are pleased to see Graham Potter has handed a start to youngster Lewis Hall and on-loan midfielder Denis Zakaria against Manchester City.

The Blues take on the Cityzens at the Etihad Stadium in the Carabao Cup third round on 9 October.

Potter has rotated his squad and has afforded both Hall and Zakaria opportunities.

Hall, 18, will make his second-ever start for the senior team. He is a box-to-box midfielder who can play across the left flank and in midfield.

The English teenager joined Chelsea's academy aged eight and made his senior team debut in an FA Cup clash with Cheltenham Town last season.

Callum Hudson-Odoi, out on loan at Bayer Leverkusen, lauded the teenager after his performance in the win over Cheltenham.

He said (via

"He was amazing. I said to him throughout the whole game just keep playing the way you are playing."

Meanwhile, Zakaria, 25, finally made his first appearance for Chelsea in a 2-1 win over Dynamo Zagreb in the Champions League on 2 November.

The Swiss midfielder scored in the victory and gets another opportunity to impress against City.

Meanwhile, Edouard Mendy continues in goal, with Kepa Arrizabalaga sidelined through a foot injury.

Trevoh Chalobah, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Marc Cucurella are chosen in defense.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is chosen on the right of a four-man midfield, with Mateo Kovacic sitting next to Zakaria with Hall on the left.

Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic will provide width in attack, with Albanian frontman Armando Broja upfront.

Here are some reactions from fans on Twitter who are excited by Hall and Zakaria starting:

@ChelseaFC @ParimatchGlobal Solid team, someone said the midfield is better than the one we played vs Arsenal
A key match for Zakaria & Hall, to see how they are against the big teams and I expect Broja to get at least on the scoresheet. Hope Cucurella, Pulisic & Ziyech don't perform awful against Man City tonight too!#CarabaoCup #Chelsea…
@ChelseaFC @ParimatchGlobal bro Lewis Hall and Zakaria thankyou....
Another Zakaria masterclass loading.

Chelsea manager Potter has admitted he is enduring challenging times

Potter accepts the pressure of being a Chelsea manager
Potter accepts the pressure of being a Chelsea manager

Potter succeeded Thomas Tuchel as Chelsea manager on 8 September and made a superb start to life in the Stamford Bridge dugout.

The Blues won six and drew three of their opening nine fixtures under the English coach.

However, Potter's men have struggled as of late and lost their last two league fixtures.

A 4-1 defeat to Potter's former employers Brighton & Hove Albion on 29 October was a huge setback.

Chelsea were beaten 1-0 by Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on 6 November in a game where they were second-best.

Potter has admitted that football is a results game and that he accepts the current struggles that his side are enduring.

He said (via Daily Mail):

"Football is emotion. It's about the results and so, therefore, that overrides everything but the coaching process is something that gets better with time because you go through the ups and downs and then you understand more about this person, who can come with us, who maybe we’re not on the right path together [with] how you can help them, how they can help you."

He added:

"If I wanted a nice, easy life, I could have quite easily stayed at Brighton in the Premier League, signed a new contract and been absolutely okay."

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Edited by Matthew Guyett
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