Chelsea v Forest; Vital Carabao Cup Preview
Wednesday, 20th September, 2017.
Mark Warburton's Nottingham Forest take on Antonio Conte's Premier League Champions at Stamford Bridge in the 3rd Round of the League Cup.
Forest Manager, Mark Warburton, gave his thoughts on the cup clash:
'Every team you play can hurt you if you are not prepared but none more so than the Premier League champions. We have to go through our work, but we are looking forward to a tough encounter.
Given the fact that they will make changes to the team, you can't look at their personnel, all you can do is look at that their patterns, how they work at set pieces and their movement as that won't change. They are a top quality team but we prepare as best as we possibly can.
We will make some changes, mainly because I am very aware that we went from Newcastle to Leeds last time and the impact of that. It is similar again in that we play Chelsea then Aston Villa. We need to make sure that we have energy as if you go into it slightly leggy then you pay the price. We are not weakening our team, far from it. We are utilising the squad and having faith and belief in the players.'
Chelsea Team News:
Antonio Conte has also stated that he will allow his fringe players to get game time, whilst also giving Eden Hazard his first start of the season after recovering from injury.
Player to watch: Eden Hazard
Conte has stated that the 26 year old Belgian International will start as he seeks to build his match fitness.
Hazard is clearly a threat and will be hoping to open his scoring account against a Forest defence that can boast just 2 clean sheets in 10 games and who concede just 2 goals per game.
Nottingham Forest Team News:
Mark Warburton will shuffle the pack, so Eric Lichaj, Jack Hobbs, Muzzy Carayol and Michael Mancienne (who returns to face his former club for the first time) are all likely to start.
Chris Cohen, Matty Cash, Jamie Ward and David Vaughan remain sidelined with injury, whilst Liam Bridcutt is cup tied. Darryl Murphy is one of those expected to sit this one out - so could Tolis Vellios return from the cold?
Player to watch: Zach Clough
It's fair to say that the 22 year old attacking midfielder will be disappointed with how this season has started - following the immediate impact he made after joining Forest from Bolton in January.
Clough will almost certainly get a chance to showcase his undoubted talents and from his perspective attempt to secure a regular starting berth in Warburton's League campaign.
Match Facts & Stats
Chelsea enter the competition at the 3rd Round, Forest overcame Shrewsbury at home and Newcastle away to set up the clash.
Chelsea have won 3, drawn 1 and lost 1 in the League, scoring 8 and conceding 5.
Forest have 12 points from 8 games, (W4, D0, L4) - with 11 scored and 13 conceded.
Tonight's Referee is Chris Kavanagh, only his 4th game in charge this season. The previous 3 have returned just 9 yellow cards. Last season he officioated 40 games, yielding 133 yellows and 3 red cards.
Mr Kavanagh will be assisted by Lee Betts and Andrew Halliday, with Andre Marriner as 4th official.
Chelsea are understandably the overwhelming Bookies odds on favourites to progress into the 4th round.
Can Forest produce an unlikely upset against the EPL Champions or will it be a damage limitation exercise? - Most likely the latter via comfortable home win, although it would be nice to dream.
Forest hit the road again with a trip to Villa park on Saturday 23rd (5-30pm KO) to face Steve Bruce's Villains.