Chelsea will be looking to progress to the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup when they welcome fellow Premier League side Southampton to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.
The Blues will enter the contest off the back of a 7-0 win over Norwich City in the league on Saturday, while Southampton played out a 2-2 draw with Burnley on the same afternoon.
As disappointing as Norwich were at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, Chelsea were simply irresistible, with Thomas Tuchel’s side scoring seven unanswered goals against the Canaries to ensure that they would end the latest set of Premier League fixtures top of the table.
The Blues have enjoyed an excellent start to the 2021-22 league season, winning seven, drawing one and losing one of their nine matches to collect 22 points, while they have scored 23 goals and conceded just three.
It would be fair to say that the EFL Cup is fourth on the list of priorities this season behind the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup, but Tuchel will be desperate to progress to the quarter-finals of the competition, with their spot in the round of 16 confirmed via a penalty-shootout success over Aston Villa.
Chelsea have won the League Cup on five previous occasions; their last success in the competition came in 2015, when they overcame Tottenham Hotspur in the final courtesy of a 2-0 victory.
The Blues are currently on a run of four straight wins in all competitions and will fancy their chances of beating Southampton, Newcastle United, Malmo and Burnley in their next four encounters before travelling to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester City on November 20.
Southampton, meanwhile, will enter the EFL Cup affair off the back of a 2-2 draw with Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon; Valentino Livramento and Armando Broja were on the scoresheet for the Saints, but the Clarets secured a point courtesy of a double from Maxwel Cornet.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have now picked up four points from their last two Premier League matches and will travel to Stamford Bridge for the second time this month, suffering a 3-1 loss to the Blues when they made the trip in the league on October 2.
Southampton have had to play twice to reach the last-16 stage of this season’s EFL Cup, putting eight unanswered goals past Newport County at the end of August before beating Sheffield United on penalties following a 2-2 draw on September 21.
The Saints have never won the League Cup, but they have reached the final on two previous occasions, the last of which was in 2017, when they suffered a 3-2 defeat to Manchester United at Wembley Stadium.
Chelsea EFL Cup form:
Chelsea form (all competitions):
Southampton EFL Cup form:
Southampton form (all competitions):
We say: Chelsea 2-0 Southampton
Both teams will make wholesale changes from their league matches at the weekend, and we are expecting Chelsea’s second string to be too strong for Southampton, who simply cannot call upon the same quality in reserve as their opponents here