For our Big Game Focus today, we take a look at the Carabao Cup clash between Chelsea and Derby County at Stamford Bridge tonight.
Tonight’s match will be a special occasion for Derby manager Frank Lampard, who spent 13 years as a Chelsea player. In his time representing the Blues, he became their all-time top goal-scorer, with 211 goals across all competitions.
Lampard has enjoyed a positive start to life as manager of the Rams. The team is currently occupying the final play-off qualification spot in the Championship and are only four points behind leaders Sheffield United. They have also already claimed a massive scalp in the League Cup when they beat Manchester United on penalties after holding them to a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford in the previous round.
They will, however, have to overcome the odds against a Chelsea side that is bang in form, unbeaten in 14 matches under new manager Maurizio Sarri so far this season. Here is our lowdown on the game, including betting tips, team news and predicted line-ups.
Chelsea’s matches have carried a lot of entertainment value in recent times; they have scored 12 and conceded three goals in their last four matches. Over 2.5 Goals has featured in every one of those games. The same has been true for two of Derby’s last three matches. Odds for Over 2.5 Goals are at 1.45 here.
16 of the last 21 goals scored in Chelsea’s last seven matches in all competitions have come in the second half. Five of Derby’s eight goals in the Carabao Cup this season have also been scored after the break. Click here for odds of 2.05 for the Second Half With Most Goals.
Chelsea’s overwhelming form has seen them win 11 and draw three of their 14 games in all competitions this season. While Derby can be proud of their exploits so far, they have already lost four times this season. In fact, they are currently on a run of only two wins in their last six games. Back Chelsea to bag a Home Win at odds of 1.25 here.
Eden Hazard has returned to first team training for Chelsea after missing the brilliant 4-0 win over Burnley last weekend. He is however still expected to sit out tonight’s clash as he attempts to get back to peak fitness for a Premier League return on Sunday. Winger Pedro (stomach bug) and striker Olivier Giroud (fatigue) are reported doubts. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who scored a hat-trick in last week’s 3-1 Europa League win over BATE Borisov and the fourth goal for Chelsea against the Clarets over the weekend, is likely to start.
On-loan duo Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori have both been granted permission to face their parent club, in what will be a unique opportunity to impress at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea: Caballero; Zappacosta, Cahill, Christensen, Emerson; Loftus-Cheek, Fabregas, Kovačić; Moses, Morata, Hudson-Odoi
Derby: Carson; Bogle, Keogh, Tomori, Forsyth; Huddlestone, Johnson; Bennett, Mount, Wilson; Marriott