Tue 25 Sep 2012 19:45 (Attendance: 32,569)
The season's campaign opens up on another front but Stamford Bridge remains the venue, for the third game in a week. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton are ready for the re-named competition…
Chelsea are the Barclays Premier League leaders, unbeaten domestically in six matches. No team in the top four tiers of English league football has a better defensive record - just two goals conceded.
Wolves played us twice as a Premier League side last season, they were beaten 5-1 on aggregate, and dropped to the Championship with just 25 points in May.
They arrive in pretty confident mood having won three league games on the spin under manager Ståle Solbakken. Blues fans will remember him as the boss of Copenhagen, who drew at the Bridge in the 2010/11 Champions League Round of 16, Chelsea having won the first leg 2-0 at Parken.
He has mostly fielded strong teams in this competition so far, overcoming Aldershot in the first round and midland rivals Leicester City, also top third of Championship, in the second.
Solbakken will hope to catch the European Champions on an off-night, but may be surprised by the appetite for this trophy at the Bridge: only Liverpool and Aston Villa have won the League Cup more times than Chelsea - the first London club ever to lift it, in 1965.
If Wolves imagine they will face a team of fledglings they will be disappointed, though some less regular players will figure.
Last season, against Premier League and local rivals Fulham Ryan Bertrand, Romelu Lukaku and Oriol Romeu kicked off their Chelsea careers, and Paulo Ferreira and Josh McEachran were in the starting line-up for the first time that season.
Petr Cech was one of just two to have featured in the previous weekend's league game along with Daniel Sturridge. There was experience on the bench, and John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ross Turnbull were called on in a 4-3 penalty shout-out win that was all the more creditable as Alex had been sent off early in the second half.
The Blues fielded a stronger side for the next round at Everton, a 2-1 extra-time win. Bertrand, Lukaku, McEachran and Romeu started again and Terry was omitted as a fifth yellow card received would have meant him missing an Arsenal clash the following weekend.
It was Turnbull's turn to be red carded, with Cech emerging from the bench to save the resulting penalty. Substitute Sturridge netted the winner for the 10 men in extra time.
By loose coincidence, Chelsea bowed out of last season's tournament following a league victory over tonight's opponents. Romeu retained his League Cup place at home to Liverpool in central midfield and Bertrand impressed at left-back; Lukaku began upfront again.
Turnbull saved Andy Carroll's penalty but Liverpool won 2-0 at the Bridge. Roberto Di Matteo - Andre Villas-Boas's assistant throughout the campaign - will be anxious not repeat the disappointment.
The three games handed excellent game time to Lukaku, Romeu, and, most notably, Bertrand, who of course went on to earn a place in the Premier League, and ultimately to start in the Champions League final.
With that Munich game in mind, how valuable psychologically were the winning of the shootout against Fulham, and the penalty saves in other games by Turnbull and Cech?
The League Cup may not be the competition with the greatest prestige, but it can serve an immensely valuable purpose. And in a season of transition, new players and new systems can be tried out with less at stake.
It is also another chance to win silverware - and Chelsea have already stumbled in two of those opportunities this season.
If the scores are level after 90 minutes, 30 minutes extra time will be played. If there is still no winner the tie will be decided on penalties.
The draw for the fourth round is on Wednesday night around 10pm, carried live on Sky Sports.
|2012/13 Championship table|
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With the hours ticking down towards the start of this season's Capital One Cup campaign, club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton continue their preview…
Charlton in 2005 are the only lower league club to have overcome Chelsea at this stage of the competition since Huddersfield in 1999. Can the Blues make the fourth round for the sixth time in seven years?
He knows in most areas he has plenty of talent desperate to play, much of it hailing from the Academy ranks. Regular Under-21 players left out of last night's line-up at Selhurst Park might be in with a chance of some involvement this evening. (The U21s do play again on Friday, however.) So will Lucas Piazon (pictured below) have a run out tonight?
Other younger players are unavailable with Nathaniel Chalobah on loan to Watford and John Swift away with England at the UEFA European U19 Championship in Estonia.
Daniel Sturridge would be likely to figure were it not for the hamstring injury he sustained last week which makes him a doubt. That could mean we see more of the exciting Victor Moses than his bright cameos against QPR and Stoke.
Di Matteo may well also decide that the acclimatisation of Spain right-back Cesar Azpilicueta, a non-playing substitute for the games against QPR, Juventus and Stoke, should continue in the first team.
German winger Marko Marin, who sparkled before succumbing to injury in pre-season matches, has endured a frustrating start to his career at the Bridge and has seen some reserve action and may have his chance tonight.
The Italian boss has occasionally switched his system from 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-3 and may experiment with more tweaks tonight as his new squad continues to bed in nicely.
His predecessor Mick McCarthy was unrepentant about fielding weakened sides in this competition, and Ståle Solbakken has promised wholesale changes tonight. This has nothing to do with the fact his father, Svein, is a fanatical Chelsea supporter.
Many of his players have played three league matches in seven days and climbing out of the Championship is his club's number one priority.
He has suggested that Bjorn Sigurdarson and Razak Boukari may step in for Kevin Doyle or Sylvan Ebanks-Blake upfront, while David Davis in midfield and defenders Georg Margreitter and Danny Batth may be involved.
The enduring bête noir of Blues fans, former Reading winger Stephen Hunt, may start this evening, with Dorus De Vries stepping for Carl Ikeme in goal. Chelsea also welcome back our former Academy striker Frank Nouble.
Solbakken's side has earned victories without always impressing as he attempts to forge a 'new Wolves' based on the old ethics of industry and spirit. They managed to retain some of their players despite the financial adjustment needed after relegation.
The Norwegian has also largely stuck with his preferred 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 formation and that places extra pressure on the midfield, with gaps appearing that Chelsea's extra numbers should be well equipped to exploit.
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WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea and Wolves have never previously met in the League Cup. Our three knockout encounters have all been in the FA Cup.
The most memorable was in 1994, when manager Glenn Hoddle steered the Blues to our first FA Cup semi-final since 1970 in his first season. He played a significant part on the pitch himself, coming on in midfield for sciatica sufferer John Spencer after 20 minutes and calming nerves, displaying the magisterial distribution of old.
Wolves midfielder Darren Ferguson had warned that his wily father - Alex - had passed on a dossier of how First Division Wanderers could win at the Bridge. Happily the Blues outstripped the blueprint.
The game was decided by a single goal. Gavin Peacock was pushed forward alongside makeshift frontman David Hopkin when Hoddle came off the bench and just inside the hour mark the home side's pressure paid off.
Dennis Wise was found by a Hoddle ball. The skipper fed Craig Burley down the right and the ball played continued into the box to Peacock, who sharply controlled, turned and poked past Mike Stowell.
It must have rung a bell with the Wolves players from the Fergie dossier - the Chelsea man had scored the winner in similar fashion at Old Trafford a week earlier. Hoddle led Chelsea to the final that year, against Manchester United.
Chelsea are hoping for a sixth successive home win against Wolves in all competitions. First half goals from John Terry, Daniel Sturridge and Juan Mata secured a 3-0 win when Wolves last travelled here 10 months ago in the Premier League.
Chelsea TV pundits Tommy Langley and Clive Walker were playing the last time Wolves won at Stamford Bridge in March 1979, a few weeks before we were relegated to the old Second Division. Langley opened the scoring but goals from John Richards and Bill Rafferty secured a 2-1 win for the visitors.
Previous Cup meetings
FA Cup 3rd round 25 February 1911
FA Cup 3rd round 14 January 1928
FA Cup quarter-final 13 March 1994
Chelsea …………………1 Wolves.…………………0
Chelsea v Wolves in all competitions
Games played 103
Chelsea wins 39
Wolves wins 38
Biggest win at Stamford Bridge for each team
Chelsea 6-2 Wolves - 30/08/1958
Chelsea 1-5 Wolves - 30/04/1960
Visit again at lunchtime for more briefing.
Chelsea in the League Cup
Winners: 1965, 1998, 2005, 2007
Runners-up: 1972, 2008
Semi-finalists: 1973, 1985, 1991, 2002
Last 10 seasons in the League Cup
2001/02 - Semi-final
2002/03 - Quarter-final
2003/04 - Quarter-final
2004/05 - Winners
2005/06 - 3rd round
2006/07 - Winners
2007/08 - Runners-up
2008/09 - 4th round
2009/10 - Quarter-final
2010/11 - 3rd round
2011/12 - Quarter-final
Chelsea are competing in the League Cup for the 50th occasion. Our overall record in the competition is played 176, won 87, drawn 40, lost 49, goals 312, goals against 213.
Kerry Dixon is our leading scorer in the League Cup with 25 goals followed by Frank Lampard 11, Peter Osgood and Bobby Tambling 10 and Didier Drogba nine.
Last season the Blues went out of the League Cup at the quarter-final stage to Liverpool 0-2.
Chelsea have won three of our last five penalty shoot-outs, the last being at the Allianz Arena - the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
Chelsea have won 11 of our last 14 games at Stamford Bridge with Roberto Di Matteo in charge. Newcastle are the only team to have won here in that time with Tottenham and Juventus gaining draws.
|Last six results|
|Aug 22||Reading (h)||W 4-2|
|Aug 25||Newcastle (h)||W 2-0|
|Aug 31||Atlético Madrid (Uefa Super Cup)||L 1-4|
|Sep 15||QPR (a)||D 0-0|
|Sep 19||Juventus (Champions League h)||D 2-2|
|Sep 22||Stoke (h)||W 1-0|
Torres 3, Cahill 2, Ivanovic 2, Lampard 2 (2 pens), Oscar 2, Bertrand 1, Cole 1, Hazard 1 (pen). Total 14.
Wolves in the League Cup
Winners: 1973/74, 1979/80
|This season's League Cup campaign|
|Aug 11||(2) Aldershot (h) won 7-6 on pens||D 1-1aet|
|Aug 30||(3) Northampton (a)||W 3-1|
Wolves arrive at Stamford Bridge on the back of three wins in seven days in the Championship.
Wolves have been eliminated from the League Cup by Man Utd (twice) and Man City in the last three seasons. Last season City beat them 5-2 at Molineux in the fourth round.
Wanderers have won three penalty shoot-outs out of eight, including the last two, although they have lost all four away from home.
Last 10 seasons in the League Cup
2002/03 - 2nd round
2003/04 - 4th round
2004/05 - 2nd round
2005/06 - 2nd round
2006/07 - 1st round
2007/08 - 2nd round
2008/09 - 2nd round
2009/10 - 3rd round
2010/11 - 4th round
2011/12 - 4th round
Manager Ståle Solbakken
Days in charge: 86
|Last six results|
|Aug 25||Derby (h)||D 1-1|
|Aug 30||Northampton (League Cup a)||W 3-1|
|Sep 2||Cardiff (a)||L 1-3|
|Sep 16||Leicester (h)||W 2-1|
|Sep 19||Ipswich (a)||W 2-0|
|Sep 22||Peterborough (a)||W 2-0|
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Forty-two-year-old Neil Swarbrick is refereeing his first Chelsea game tonight. His most recent Wolves games were a 0-3 home loss to Arsenal in the league and Man City's 5-2 win at Molineux in this competition against a Wanderers second string.
There are no suspensions.
Chelsea cruised into the Capital One Cup fourth round with a straightforward home win against Championship Wolves.
In a dazzling blitz of our opposition, goals from Gary Cahill, Ryan Bertrand and Juan Mata had put us three goals to the good inside 20 minutes, and with the game already well beyond the lacklustre visitors, an Oriol Romeu penalty and headers from Fernando Torres and Victor Moses put the gloss on a terrific night's entertainment at Stamford Bridge.
Cahill had nodded us in front on three minutes before Bertrand smashed home from inside the box just moments later, Mata supplying a well-crafted third on 16 minutes.
Wolves only rarely threatened and it was no surprise when the goals continue to flow in the second half, first when Moses was brought down by the away goalkeeper, allowing Romeu to strike his first Chelsea goal and then when Torres headed home Mata's corner before Moses took the chance to score his first in a Chelsea shirt too.
So it is on to the fourth round, the draw for which will be made on Wednesday night. Next for Chelsea is Arsenal on Saturday lunchtime.
Elsewhere there was a recall for John Terry despite his on-going FA hearing, with Ross Turnbull replacing Petr Cech in goal. Oriol Romeu also started for the first time this season, partnered with Ramires in deep midfield, while there was a place on the bench for Marko Marin, fit again after his hamstring problems hampered his start to life at Stamford Bridge.
Wolves were without Kevin Doyle in attack and made 10 changes from their win at Peterborough at the weekend, meaning a return for Stephen Hunt. Ex-Chelsea scholar Frank Nouble was on the bench.
It took only three minutes for the champions of Europe to seize control, with one of the new boys involved in the build-up.
Moses was fouled down the right, allowing Mata the dead-ball situation to cross to the far post, where Cahill climbed above Richard Stearman to head home. There was a hint of a push in the England international's outmuscling of his marker, but referee Neil Swarbrick saw no wrong and the goal stood.
Barely any time had elapsed before Chelsea were celebrating a second goal, this time from the left boot of Bertrand, and once again youth was at the centre of the action.
Romeu's long-range drive was only parried back into play by goalkeeper Dorus De Vries, allowing Piazon to collect and with time to pick a pass he found Bertrand who hammered into the top corner from 12 yards.
Piazon (pictured below) was inches from adding a third shortly afterwards when Azpilicueta's cross flashed across the area in front of him, the Brazilian just unable to connect, but Di Matteo had every reason to be thrilled with his side's start.
More was to come, and the crowd, chilled by the weather, would have been warmed by our third goal, a result of superb team play revolving around the excellent Mata.
The Spaniard exchanged passes in midfield with Ramires before dribbling on and repeating the same one-two with Torres before executing a tidy finish into the bottom corner past De Vries. It was a beautiful goal borne out of simplicity.
Turnbull's first work of the evening came on 20 minutes when he tipped over a bending effort from David Davis, and five minutes later he was beaten by Slawomir Peszko, who capitalised on hesitant defending, rounded the goalkeeper and then promptly shot into the side netting.
It was a let-off that had Di Matteo off his seat urging concentration from his men, and they were soon back on song.
Just after the half-hour an inviting low cross from Ramires looked like it would be turned home by one of Moses, Bertrand and Torres, or even a Wolves defender, but somehow it stayed out and De Vries pounced on the loose ball.
Mata brushed the side-netting with a free-kick after Piazon had been felled on the edge of the box, and then Torres squared beyond the stretch of Piazon as the Blues threatened further damage.
Before the break Mata's swirling cross was turned wide by Piazon, who had done all but score during his first 45 minutes of first-team football.
Seven second-half minutes had passed before Chelsea added to the lead, Romeu stroking home a well-struck penalty after Moses was adjudged to have been fouled by De Vries.
At the other end Peszko side-footed another golden opportunity wide after Razak Boukari had done well to get to the bye-line and pull back into the box, and the visitors' miserable night was only set to continue.
Mata's right-sided corner was met by Torres at the near post just before the hour mark, and the striker made no mistake, heading powerfully into the top corner with no marker in sight. It was his first goal since we beat Newcastle here exactly a month earlier.
Substitute Oscar, on for Ramires, and Mata almost one-twoed their way from a corner into the Wolves net before an offside flag prevented them, and that would be the Spaniard's last contribution of the game, replaced by Marin with 20 minutes remaining.
The German was yet to make his Chelsea debut after a summer switch from Werder Bremen due to a hamstring injury, but he soon made up for lost time.
Cutting in from the left, he fed Oscar who crossed into the area for an incoming Moses to head home his first Chelsea goal and a sixth of the evening for the rampant home side.
Hazard replaced Torres in Di Matteo's final change, ensuring there would be no let up for the tired and defeated Wolves defence.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Turnbull; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry (c), Bertrand; Romeu, Ramires (Oscar 59); Moses, Mata (Marin 69), Piazon; Torres (Hazard 78).
Unused subs Hilario, Ferreira, David Luiz, Mikel.
Goals Cahill 3, Bertrand 7, Mata 17, Romeu (pen) 52, Torres 57, Moses 70
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): De Vries; Stearman, Batth, Magreitter, Zubar; Peszko (Ismail 83), Edwards (c), Davis, Hunt (Forde h-t); Sigurdarson, Boukari (Nouble 63).
Unused subs Ikeme, Jonsson, Price, Foley.
Referee Neil Swarbrick
You can watch the full 90 minutes on Chelsea TV from 11.45pm on Tuesday night…