Pre-season with stakes!
Chelsea entertain Gerhard Struber’s Barnsley in the 3rd round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night. Barnsley beat Nottingham Forest 1-0 in the 1st round and beat Middlesbrough 0-2 in the 2nd round as they travel to Stamford Bridge. The Championship club sit 20th in the league having lost their first 2 games of the season. Gerhard Struber is an Austrian manager from the Red Bull Salzburg school of management, Struber has gone through the ranks at Red Bull and after a brief spell Wolfsberger he joined Barnsley last year. Barnsley just about avoided relegation to League One last season but they are known to play attacking football with a high press a kin to a team like Liverpool.
Chelsea go into this game having lost to Liverpool on Sunday night. Lampard stated that these games are still part of a make shift pre-season as we only played Brighton before the season started and had a week to work together before playing them again in MW 1. While the game against Barnsley has to be taken seriously it is yet another chance to build our squad’s match fitness or at least 14 players match fitness.
Chelsea Team Preview
Chelsea will be without Christensen who’s red card against Liverpool means that he sits this game out. Ziyech and Pulisic are close to featuring and might make it for the West Brom game but not this one. Silva and Chilwell are in the squad while Lampard also confirmed that Mendy was having his medical but would only possibly be available at the weekend. Lampard confirmed that Caballero would start in goal a decision that he made before Liverpool. I expect Azpilicueta to start at right back with Chilwell starting at left back. Silva should also start and I think Tomori might get to start along side him. The midfield is where it get’s tricky, I think Kovacic will start in the CDM position with RLC and Havertz in front of him. Hudson-Odoi should start at right wing with Mount at left wing and Tammy should start up front. Giroud should probably feature from the bench.
Barnsley Team Preview
Andersen and Helik were sent off for Barnsley against Reading at the weekend and so will not be able to play in this game. The fact that both are starting centre backs and part of a back 3 is a bit problematic for Struber. Chaplin, Thomas, Freiser, and Schmidt are the danger men for Barnsley going forward but the team seems to still be adjusting to the beginning of the season.
Starting XI Prediction
A first glimpse of Chilwell, and Silva in Chelsea Blue awaits us but more importantly it is yet another game for this team to work together and get match fit. A good win is needed and a goal or two from the likes of Havertz, Hudson-Odoi, RLC would go a long way in boosting the team’s and players confidence. Werner might even start just so that he can kick off his goal scoring record. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!