Derby County should expect to face a highly rotated Chelsea side in their fourth-round Carabao Cup clash tomorrow night.
It will be the Blues’ third match in the space of six days, having beaten BATE Borisov and Burnley in the Europa League and Premier League respectively.
The match will see Chelsea’s all-time leading goalscorer, Frank Lampard, attempt to guide the Rams, who he now manages, to another shock victory in this competition, having beaten Manchester United in the third round of this competition last month.
We are predicting that the Blues team to face Derby will be one that is almost unrecognisable from the one that battered Burnley 4-0 on Sunday.
Predicted team: (4-3-3) Willy Caballero; Davide Zappacosta, Andreas Christensen, Gary Cahill, Emerson; Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Cesc Fabregas, Mateo Kovacic; Victor Moses, Olivier Giroud, Willian
Predicted substitutes: Marcin Bulka, Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, Jorginho, Ross Barkley, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Alvaro Morata
Willy Caballero’s sole appearance for the Blues this season came during Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Liverpool in the third round of his competition. Sarri may look to make the most of the chance of playing at home to a team from the Sky Bet Championship and hand the experienced Argentine his second start of the season.
Davide Zappacosta has played just six minutes in the Premier League but could be rewarded with a fourth start of the season, with his other three all coming in the Europa League.
Centre-backs Andreas Christensen and Gary Cahill have partnered one another three times across the two cup competitions they have played in so far this season, and Sarri could use his reserve partnership to spare David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger to focus on league action.
Left-back Marcos Alonso could be rested for only the fourth time this season, which would see Emerson come into the team, who scored the equaliser at Anfield in the last round.
After scoring the fourth during Chelsea’s 4-0 win over Burnley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek could be handed with another start for Sarri’s side against the Rams. He could be accompanied in midfield by Cesc Fabregas and Mateo Kovacic, the three of which started together against BATE in the Europa League last week.
Injuries to Pedro and Eden Hazard leave Chelsea short on wingers. Victor Moses, who started in their win over Liverpool last month, could reclaim his Carabao Cup starting spot, with Willian occupying the left side of the front three.
Assistant manager Gianfranco Zola stated that Olivier Giroud could miss the clash through injury, leaving Chelsea’s only senior striker available as Alvaro Morata, who has scored in three of his last four club appearances.
Derby did well to break down United in historic fashion during the third round, but it will take a lot for Lampard to continue his fairytale story during his upcoming homecoming.
Score prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Derby County