Shrewsbury Town v Chelsea: Capital One Cup
Shrewsbury Town v Chelsea tonight with the minnows trying for a famous scalp in the Capital One Cup at the New Greenhous Meadow….
Live on Sky Sports 1
Shrewsbury 13.5, Chelsea 1.28, The Draw 6.6
Shrews’ captain Liam Lawrence should be fit to start after coming off the bench at the weekend.
Striker Andy Mangan returned from a knee injury on Saturday, and is set to be named on the bench again.
Chelsea are likely to make plenty of changes to the side that drew at Manchester United on Sunday.
Cesar Azpilicueta and Branislav Ivanovic are both suspended but midfielder Ramires could return after five weeks out with a groin problem.
League Two side Shrewsbury may be the lowest-ranked team left in the League Cup but recent history suggests Premier League leaders Chelsea shouldn’t underestimate them.
Jose Mourinho will rotate his squad but will nevertheless be wary of a Shrewsbury side who have won their last four matches and who are unbeaten at home this season.
The Shropshire side has sought to maximise home advantage by installing temporary seating, which will take the capacity to more than 10,000, and ensure a record crowd – and a cracking atmosphere – at the Greenhous Meadow.
Indeed, it will be the biggest crowd for a Shrewsbury home game since 12,356 watched the FA Cup fifth round tie against Arsenal at the old Gay Meadow in February 1991.
When tickets went on sale, Mellon and some of his players handed out tea and coffee to the supporters who had been queuing for hours in the hope of being present at one of the biggest nights in the club’s history.
And if Shrewsbury are still in the competition on Wednesday morning, the fans might well be toasting their side with something a bit fizzier.
- Chelsea and Shrewsbury have not met in any competition since January 2003, when the Blues won 4-0 in an FA Cup fourth round tie. John Terry played in that game.
- The Shrews have not beaten Chelsea since winning 2-0 in the old Division Two on New Year’s Day, 1983.
- Shrewsbury have won all three League Cup games this season 1-0, with all three wins coming against sides in higher divisions.
- The last Premier League side to visit Greenhous Meadow in this competition were Swansea City in August 2011 – they lost 3-1.
- Shrewsbury come into the game on the back of a four-match winning streak.
- Chelsea have won 13 and lost none of their last 15 League Cup games against lower ranked sides; a run that goes back to 1999.
- The Blues have kept eight clean sheets in their last 13 away games in this competition.
- Chelsea are unbeaten in all competitions this season.
Chelsea tend to take every trophy-winning opportunity seriously when Jose Mourinho is in charge, including the Capital One Cup, as evidenced by the fact that they went the distance twice in the three completed seasons of his first reign and made it to the quarter-finals last term.
However, circumstances dictate that they will have to freshen up their line-up considerably with this trip to Shrewsbury occurring just two days after their key Premier League clash with Man United.
This Sunday-Tuesday scheduling happens far too regularly to undermine a competition which has been so entertaining in recent campaigns, but Chelsea overcame an even more fiendish fixture pile-up this time last year, visiting Arsenal two days on from facing Man City, so there won’t be any panic.
On that occasion, 10 changes to the team – only Gary Cahill retained his place – couldn’t stop them from winning away to a top-four companion, so there is no reason to doubt them, especially when Petr Cech, Kurt Zouma, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andre Schurrle and Mohamed Salah are fresh to call in.
Shrewsbury got this far by defeating three clubs from higher divisions 1-0 – Blackpool, Leicester and Norwich – yet Chelsea have suffered a mere three 90-minute losses in 37 Capital One Cup ties, last exiting away to a lower-league side in 1996 (Bolton).
As was the case last year, Chelsea have began to rediscover their defensive solidity following a slightly porous start, with the transformation happening even earlier this time.
The Blues have only conceded twice in six games, both times in the 90th minute on their Premier League travels – the latest instance at Man United occurring after being reduced to 10 men – and they have shut out three of their past four Capital One Cup hosts (Swansea, Swindon and Arsenal).
Mourinho’s men scored exactly two goals in three of their previous four Capital One Cup encounters, as well as two of their last three Premier League matches, and would be greedy to expect more than that against a Shrewsbury side who haven’t leaked more than twice in 90 minutes in 2014/15.
Chelsea haven’t notched more than twice in any of their most recent six outings in the competition, despite opposing Swindon away and Bolton at home in that period.
Back Chelsea Clean Sheet at 2.0
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