Chelsea vs Aston Villa: Blues’ 23-year record at stake in Carabao Cup tie


Chelsea host the claret-and-blue side from Birmingham for the second time this month but on this occasion, in a knockout Carabao Cup tie.

Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton are hoping for a repeat outcome as the Blues 23-year record is at stake.

Villa have not managed a clean sheet at Stamford Bridge since March 1998, 23 years ago.

Eleven days ago the two teams met in the league, the champions of Europe running out 3-0 winners with a brace from Romelu Lukaku.

Premier League leaders Chelsea embark on the road to Wembley in the 62nd edition of the League Cup tonight, hosting Aston Villa, 2019/20 finalists in the competition.

Both sets of personnel are likely to be very different this evening for round three of the Carabao Cup, even though it represents the fastest route to silverware (unless, like Thomas Tuchel’s Blues, you have already snapped up the Super Cup).

The Londoners have a formidable record at this stage of the competition, winning all of the past nine matches home or away, with an aggregate of 38 goals for, seven against. The Villans have already navigated one round, beating League Two Barrow 6-0 away, but they have not won at the Bridge since New Year’s Eve 2011.

The last 13 league and cup meetings between Chelsea and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge have produced 56 goals (42 of them for the hosts).

The season before, though, Tino Anjorin, Marc Guehi, Reece James and Ian Maatsen all made their senior bow. Kai Havertz also announced his arrival in west London with an impressive hat-trick against the Tykes a year ago tomorrow.

This evening will be Tuchel’s first experience of the midweek competition in England, so his approach is hard to predict, especially with only three substitutes permitted and Manchester City’s visit to west London imminent.

Though Germany’s equivalent, the DFL-Ligapokal, was discontinued in 2007 before his coaching career had started, his PSG side twice contested its French translation, the Coupe de la Ligue. Falling to eventual finalists Guingamp in the 2018/19 quarter-finals spurred the Parisians to defeat the same opposition 9-0 only 10 days later in the league.

The following season, the Bavarian fielded a rotated but strong side – including Mbappe, Marquinhos, Verratti etc – to see off second-tier strugglers Le Mans, going on to beat Lyon after penalties in the last ever final.

He has similar strength in depth in the English capital. Claimants to a start tonight such as Trevoh Chalobah, Ben Chilwell, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reece James, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Saul and Hakim Ziyech all sat out the victory at Spurs.

Timo Werner, a substitute in north London, will also hope to see his named pinned on the board and, providing he is fit, now might be the moment to ease Christian Pulisic back into the fray. Ross Barkley will hope to have some minutes against his loan club last season.

Ahead of Saturday’s early showdown with Man City it might be a rest for N’Golo Kante, who returned in glorious fashion on Sunday. The half-time substitute netted his 12th goal in royal blue and second when playing Tottenham – his best return against any opponent, alongside the two Manchester clubs.

Edou Mendy, missing again this evening, will be away at the Africa Cup of Nations after the turn of the year, with Kepa Arrizabalaga set to figure in his absence. Since that will mean summer signing Marcus Bettinelli (on loan at Middlesbrough last season) being next in line, Tuchel may venture to see how he fares in a competitive setting. (Punch)

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