Chelsea welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to Stamford Bridge in the EFL Cup third round on Wednesday evening and will be desperate for a result after going three games without a win.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men are coming off the back of defeats to Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa while drawing to Bournemouth, so Brighton might fancy their chances of coming out on top.
Chelsea in poor form
Chelsea are 14th in the Premier League table with only five points from six games this season. Pochettino’s men started the campaign bright with one win and one draw from their first two homes games, but they’ve come unstuck in their last two at the Bridge and aren’t in great shape ahead of tonight’s meeting.
Chelsea struggled with goals last season, scoring only 38 times in as many games, and are firing blanks in attack once again with no goal scored in their last three games, so a Brighton side that have conceded one or less goals in five of their six league games might be a real challenge for them.
Brighton in great shape
As for the Seasiders, Albion are third in the league with 15 points from a possible 18. De Zerbi’s men are the highest scorers in the top-flight so far (18 goals) and boast a 100% record on the road (2/2 away wins), so they won’t be scared coming to the Bridge.
Brighton beat Manchester United at Old Trafford in their last away game and have beaten Newcastle United, so they turn up against the big clubs. Albion haven’t been shut out once this season and have scored three or more goals in each of their last three games, so can Chelsea keep them quiet?
Pochettino desperately needs a result, but Brighton are a tough opposition. The Seasiders did the double over Chelsea in the league last season, winning 4-1 at the Amex Stadium and 2-1 at the Bridge, so it’s easy to see why many would consider them favourites to eliminate an out-of-form Chelsea to reach the fourth round.
With so many first-team players injured, Pochettino doesn’t have the luxury of being able to name a second string XI either, so he will have to risk the fitness of players who featured three days ago. If Brighton rest players like they tried after their Europe League group game, Chelsea might have an easier ride.