Premier League managers continue to let their sides get knocked out of the Capital One Cup early on.
Nobody will know what side José Mourinho has picked for Chelsea’s Capital One cup clash with Derby until about 7 this evening, but one thing is for certain: it won’t be weak.
Chelsea are in the race for a quadruple this season, and have a packed Christmas schedule coming up, but don’t expect to see a team of kids on the pitch at Pride Park. There will be some rotation, and perhaps one or two youngsters in the line-up, but stars like John Terry, Nemanja Matic and Eden Hazard are all in with a very good chance of playing.
The fact is that if the Blues win tonight, they are one two-legged semi final away from the final, and a chance of a trophy in March. Premier League teams have only played three games to get this far, and are now only three games from the final.
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Thinking about it form that perspective makes the decisions made by Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal amongst others, to field weakened teams in previous rounds seem crazy.
The final can seem a long way off in late September when the top Premier League sides enter the competition, but in reality it’s just a few games away. The League Cup was the first trophy Mourinho won in England in early 2005, and he knows the beneficial effects of winning trophies, no matter how minor, on the psychology of a team.
Derby beware: after last year’s disappointing loss at the hands of Sunderland and with a trophy in sight; Mourinho’s won’t be taking any chances tonight.