Tuesday’s heavyweight League Cup quarter-final tie pits underperforming Chelsea and injury-hit Newcastle United against each other at Stamford Bridge.
Despite welcoming marquee summer arrival Christopher Nkunku back from a long-term spell on the sidelines, Mauricio Pochettino opted to leave the Frenchman on the bench against Sheffield United on Saturday.
Chelsea steamrolled to a 2-0 home win against Premier League basement boys Sheffield United off the back of Cole Palmer’s match-winning performance.
But Mykhailo Mudryk’s sub-par showing could bolster Nkunku’s chances of making his maiden competitive start for the Blues in the upcoming League Cup showdown.
While the ex-RB Leipzig forward left his injury issues behind, Romeo Lavia, Ben Chilwell, Trevoh Chalobah, Marc Cucurella, Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Carney Chukwuemeka and Noni Madueke are still out.
The same goes for first-choice goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, whose knee issue opened the door of the first team to Serbian stopper Djordje Petrovic.
After registering a clean sheet in his second top-flight start for Chelsea, the 24-year-old is expected to retain his place between the sticks in midweek.
Predicted Chelsea Line-up:
(4-2-3-1): Djordje Petrovic; Axel Disasi, Thiago Silva, Benoit Badisashile, Levi Colwill; Conor Gallagher, Enzo Fernandez; Raheem Sterling, Cole Palmer, Christopher Nkunku; Nicolas Jackson.
Meanwhile, Eddie Howe’s side put ten-man Fulham to the sword on Saturday, bagging three unanswered second-half goals en route to a comprehensive 3-0 victory at St James’ Park.
However, first-half injuries to Joelinton and Fabian Schar cast a shadow on the Magpies’ morale-boosting Premier League triumph, deepening an ever-growing fitness crisis on Tyneside.
With the pair unlikely to be deemed fit for tomorrow’s clash, Howe faces a selection nightmare, especially if Alexander Isak’s groin problem renders him unavailable.
Harvey Barnes, Joe Willock, Jacob Murphy, Elliot Anderson, Nick Pope, Javier Manquillo, and Matt Target form the remaining part of a substantial contingent of injured players in the home camp.
Predicted Newcastle Line-up:
(4-3-3): Martin Dubravka; Dan Burn, Sven Botman, Jamaal Lascelles, Kieran Trippier; Sean Longstaff, Bruno Guimaraes, Lewis Miley; Anthony Gordon, Callum Wilson, Miguel Almiron.
- 777 Partners ‘frustrated’ over Everton proposed takeover
- Flynn Downes faces uncertain West Ham future
- Valencia vs Real Madrid: preview, team news, how to watch and prediction
- Paul Merson predicts who will secure Champions League football – Tottenham or Aston Villa
- Chris Sutton predicts score of Everton clash v West Ham