PMB: Chelsea v Forest - matchday

The final part of the Pre-Match Briefing gets you ready for today's game...

• Maurizio Sarri’s injury woes were not eased by Willian joining Pedro and Olivier Giroud on the sidelines (though the latter two may be fit for Spurs on Tuesday). Equally concerning for the Italian will be one goal scored in three games at the Bridge. His side have attempted the second-most shots in the top flight this season and the fourth most on target, but the sixth highest tally of goals. On the positive side the Southampton game brought a 15th clean sheet for 24-year-old Kepa Arrizabalaga, after 27 games in all competitions.

• Last season’s round-three tie win against Norwich was perhaps a warning not to take too many chances in this competition against Championship teams, and Sarri sampled the quality of the second tier himself when Derby levelled twice at the Bridge in the Carabao Cup during a 3-2 Blues win.

• The Italian must also consider Tuesday’s trip to Wembley for a semi-final against Tottenham, as well as the now-vital league points up for grabs next weekend against Newcastle. He may rely on the sort of team that has played in the cups this season, with the return to health of Andreas Christensen, Cesc Fabregas and Callum Hudson-Odoi helping his squad selection.

• Aitor Karanka was not yet Nottingham Forest’s manager when they beat Arsenal 4-2 at the City Ground last season under caretaker Gary Brazil. Injury to experienced German Michael Hefele will disrupt Karanka’s defensive plans his weekend, with 35-year-old Michael Dawson and right-back Sam Byram also absent. Leading goalscorer Lewis Grabban, formerly of Bournemouth, was unfit for the impressive 4-2 defeat of Leeds.

• There may still be familiar faces in the Spaniard’s much-rotated, possession-based 4-2-3-1 line-up: Man City’s old ’keeper Costel Pantillimon, onetime Newcastle/Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback (booked four times against the Blues), ex-West Brom henchman Claudio Yacob (cautioned five times, red carded once against the Londoners) and Chelsea Academy graduate Liam Bridcutt are all in their squad.

• Colback netted twice against the Championship leaders Leeds, while versatile Ben Osborn came off the bench to score his first of the season and winger Joe Lolley is a another threat. Although the Reds had failed to score in four of their previous five games, they have found the net in three-quarters of their away trips. A third of the goals they have conceded were from the 76th minute on.

Assistant coach Gianfranco Zola’s pre-match quotes
‘Forest are not to be under-estimated, absolutely not. They have already done it in the past and although we have a good record against them, it is a team we need to respect. They have good players and the type of players who can cause problems so we have to play a good game.’

Forest boss Aitor Karanka’s pre-match quotes
‘I have to be the first who is convinced and I am because to prepare one game thinking that it will be impossible to win, then it will be impossible to win.
‘I am convinced that we can compete against them because we always compete against good teams.’

Squad news

Olivier Giroud


Nottingham Forest
Sam Byram
Diogo Goncalves
Michael Hefele
Lewis Grabban

Michael Dawson
Tobias Figueiredo
Costel Pantilimon


Karim Ansarifard


Matchday weather outlook

A chilly but dry afternoon in London SW6.

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