Chelsea must overturn the 1-0 deficit from the first leg against Tottenham Hotspur to progress to the final of the Carabao Cup.
Thursday’s match at Stamford Bridge could turn out to be a huge moment in Chelsea’s season, as the Blues’ fans will demand a performance after Saturday’s passive display against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Maurizio Sarri has so far used the Carabao Cup to give minutes to several out-of-favour players, but he may be forced to field his best 11 to turn things around against Spurs.
Here’s how Chelsea could line up on Thursday night:
1. Goalkeeper and Defenders
Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK) – Willy Caballero started in both the third and fourth round fixtures, but Kepa has been preferred as the competition intensifies.
Cesar Azpilicueta (RB) – Chelsea’s vice-captain has featured in every Carabao Cup game with Davide Zappacosta managing just 78 minutes in the fourth round against Derby County.
Antonio Rudiger (CB) – Like Kepa, the German centre-back has been used in the latter rounds of the competition and should start on Thursday.
David Luiz (CB) – Andreas Christensen has played in every round this season, but Luiz could be preferred for his leadership in this crucial game.
Emerson Palmieri (LB) – The Italian left-back should replace Marcos Alonso whose form has not improved. Emerson scored the equaliser against Liverpool in the third round.
Jorginho (DM) – Chelsea are yet to replace Cesc Fabregas so any rest Jorginho may need will have to wait.
N’Golo Kante (CM) – One of the only players who came away from the Emirates on Saturday with any credit, Kante should be one of the first names on the team sheet.
Ross Barkley (CM) – Started in the first leg at Wembley and following Mateo Kovacic’s forgettable performance against Arsenal, Barkley is expected to complete the midfield trio.
Pedro Rodriguez (RW) – He is yet to start in the competition this season, but Pedro is a consistent threat and Chelsea will need his clinical finishing if they are to turn the tie on its head.
Eden Hazard (ST) – Chelsea still await confirmation of Gonzalo Higuain’s arrival, so Hazard is expected to continue in his false nine role ahead of Olivier Giroud.
Callum Hudson-Odoi (LW) – The 18-year-old managed 79 minutes in the first leg and there’s no reason why Sarri shouldn’t pick the youngster once again as he tries to convince Hudson-Odoi to stay at Stamford Bridge.