Chelsea’s search for stability drags on as they welcome Championship side Blackburn Rovers to Stamford Bridge in the Carabao Cup fourth round on Wednesday night.
Since March, Chelsea have been able to muster just three wins from 16 games in front of their own fans – two of those victories have arrived in this season’s Carabao Cup. After coming from behind against fourth-tier AFC Wimbledon in the second round, Chelsea managed to defeat their unofficial feeder club Brighton in September.
Here’s the lineup Mauricio Pochettino may deploy to ensure that the Stamford Bridge crowd can continue to look forward to Carabao Cup fixtures – every other competition carries a layer of dread at this point.
GK: Robert Sanchez – While playing for Brighton’s under-21 team, alongside the likes of Ben White, Solly March and Viktor Gyokeres, Sanchez kept two clean sheets in three meetings with Blackburn’s youngsters.
RB: Reece James – Pochettino provided fans and Blackburn with a sneak peek at Wednesday’s team, confirming James’ involvement.
CB: Axel Disasi – Upon his arrival at Chelsea, Disasi boasted: “I like interceptions, and I like to be aggressive with the opposition, to use my physicality.” Yet, Chelsea‘s dainty midfielder Cole Palmer has cut out as many balls as the towering Frenchman (five).
CB: Levi Colwill – The only outfield player to start all 12 Chelsea fixtures this season isn’t expected to be dropped just yet.
LB: Marc Cucurella – Why John Cena posted a picture of Cucurella following Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat to Brentford remains one of life’s unanswered mysteries.
CM: Conor Gallagher – A firm favourite under Pochettino, the indefatigable Gallagher is locked in negotiations with Chelsea over a contract extension.
CM: Enzo Fernandez – After missing the first Premier League game of his Chelsea career last weekend, Fernandez is expected to be swiftly reintroduced this Wednesday.
AM: Cole Palmer – The Manchester City academy graduate played the full 90 minutes of last season’s third-round victory over Chelsea.
RW: Noni Madueke – The headband-wearing winger is conscious of his fashion in everyday life as well. “I think the way I play football reflects how I dress,” Madueke explained. “I do it with flair – just like how I play on the pitch.”
ST: Nicolas Jackson – Only Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford has underperformed his expected goals in the Premier League by a wider margin than Jackson, who has scored twice from 4.2 xG.
LW: Raheem Sterling – Second-tier opposition is Sterling’s favourite. Every domestic goal Sterling has scored for Chelsea has come against club’s that have either spent the previous season in the Championship or were just about to drop into that division.