The Blues are tonight in Carabao Cup action, entering the second round for the first time since 2016, as they face The Dons for the first time since their founding in 2002. It is an historic London derby and one which should see a number of young Chelsea stars looking to make an impression. Mauricio Pochettino famously dismissed this competition as important while in charge at Tottenham, but reversed that view in the build-up to this fixtures.
Diego Moreira, Ian Maatsen, Lesley Ugochukwu, Bashir Humphreys and Noni Madueke should all feature, and outcast Marc Cucurella was expected to be involved but is now in talks over a loan move to Manchester United. Wimbledon will be without captain Jake Reeves and midfield partner Armani Little as they look to continue their unbeaten start to the season.
Wimbledon have a tall order tonight but already claimed a Coventry City’s scalp in the first round – is another cupset on the cards? Follow the game LIVE below with our dedicated match blog, featuring expert insight and analysis from Nizaar Kinsella at Stamford Bridge.
Wimbledon have been impressive so far this season in League Two but this is an obvious step up in quality, regardless of the lineup Pochettino names.
With no European football this season, the Chelsea boss can be expected to target the domestic cups and the Blues should have no issues in easing to a comfortable win here.
Chelsea to win 3-1.
Wimbledon team news
Wimbledon will be without captain Jake Reeves after the midfielder was forced off against Forest Green. Armani Little, who also likely would have played tonight, suffered the same fate.
Little could be passed fit and is expected to be joined by James Ball in midfield. Harry Pell will deputise if the former is ruled out.
As usual, we asked Nizaar Kinsella to provide a predicted line-up for tonight after Mauricio Pochettino’s press conference.
Marc Cucurella has been included but a possible loan move to Manchester United is gathering steam, so one to keep an eye on.
Here’s what he plumped for.
Predicted Chelsea XI: Sanchez; Gusto, Disasi, Colwill, Cucurella; Ugochukwu, Gallagher; Madueke, Maatsen, Sterling; Jackson
Chelsea team news
Mauricio Pochettino has promised to hand minutes to a number of youngsters tonight – but among them won’t be new signing Djordje Petrovic.
Petrovic joined Chelsea in a £14million deal from New England Revolution on Sunday but did not receive Football Association clearance to play in time. Robert Sanchez will continue in goal as a result.
Pochettino therefore has 11 players unavailable to face the League Two minnows, including fellow summer signing Romeo Lavia who still lacks match fitness.
The problems offer a chance for Chelsea’s younger players to impress, with Lesley Ugochukwu in line to make his first start since his £23million move from Rennes this summer. Noni Madueke and Ian Maatsen could also start under Pochettino for the first time as he plans to rest some players.
Pochettino confirmed at his pre-match press conference that “four or five” players aged between “16 and 17” could be involved with Mason Burstow, Diego Moreira, Eddie Beach and Bashir Humphreys on the bench for Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Luton on Friday night.
How to watch in UK?
Well, you can’t. Only those at Stamford Bridge will be able to see the game unfold live.
It will not be shown live on TV as Sky Sports have not picked it for broadcast. Instead, Doncaster Rovers vs Everton has got the nod with a cupset in mind given the Toffees’ woeful start to their own campaign.
No other UK broadcaster has League Cup rights for live action. Highlights will be shown at 12.15am on Wednesday night, into Thursday morning, on ITV4.
Chelsea tonight enter the Carabao Cup in the second round, the earliest stage since 2016, due to their struggles last season.
It is no real reason to be down on tonight, though, as AFC Wimbledon are the opponents. It is the first time the Dons will face their London rivals since being founded in 2002, though both teams have a long, storied history in Wimbledon’s former guise.
Kick-off is at 7.45pm. Stick with us.