Preview: Chelsea vs Barnsley | Carabao Cup
Chelsea welcome Championship outfit Barnsley to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night in the Carabao Cup looking to begin their run with a victory.
Frank Lampard's side will be looking to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat against Liverpool at the weekend in the Premier League, in addition to offering some fringe players game time with heavy rotation expected by the Chelsea boss.
The Blues will be looking for a more successful cup run this campaign having been knocked out by Manchester United in the fifth round of the competition last season with a 2-1 defeat, but could face a tricky test in the next round against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur if they progress beyond Barnsley.
Recent Form [All Competitions/Friendlies]:
Lampard's side are not in the best of form in recent weeks, and will be looking to bounce back from their third defeat in their last five against Liverpool.
The Blues have faced an injury hit squad at the start of the campaign but managed to begin the campaign positively with victory over Brighton in the first fixture of the season, and will be looking to draw on the positive with returns for Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell to try and reverse their form and build some momentum as the busy schedule builds up.
Chelsea have a good record in the Carabao cup format however, having won the trophy five times before, and reaching the final against Manchester City back in the 2018/2019 competition under Maurizio Sarri.
Gerhard Struber's men have had a mixed start to their campaign, having won out of their first two EFL Championship matches, while most recently losing their clash with Reading at the weekend, managing to stay in the League after struggling through the 2019/20 campaign.
Head to Head:
Chelsea vs Barnsley- Last Three
24th August 1997- Barnsley 0-6 Chelsea
31st January 1998- Chelsea 2-0 Barnsley
8th March 2008- Barnsley 1-0 Chelsea
The Blues have been handed a boost with new additions Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell available in the squad for the clash against Barnsley, with Willy Caballero set to start in place of Kepa Arrizabalaga between the posts.
Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic are nearing a return for the Blues but are not fit enough to feature on Wednesday night, while Callum Hudson Odoi could feature with heavy rotation expected.
Chelsea will be keen to perform well early on in the Carabao Cup and with a big squad, will be looking to build fitness for key players and hand opportunities for fringe players to shine.
With a huge array talent in Lampard's squad and the potential feature of some new additions, the Blues should have more than enough quality to prevail at Stamford Bridge, and will be looking respond emphatically to defeat at the weekend.
Barnsley have struggled at a higher level on multiple occasions, but will no doubt prove a spirited and determined test for Lampard's men and will be looking to draw from their last meeting against the Blues bar in 2008.
Prediction: Chelsea 4-1 Barnsley