Chelsea’s hosting of Barnsley in the Carabao Cup tonight is a first for these teams in this competition. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton preview the encounter…

Even in these restrictive times, the Carabao Cup still brings the magic of unexpected encounters. ‘Sometimes we need the right opponents to grow up,’ said Barnsley coach Gerhard Struber ahead of tonight’s fixture, ‘and Chelsea are completely outstanding and on another level.’

Only Liverpool and Manchester City have lifted this trophy more times than Chelsea, also London’s first winners of the competition. The Blues have not lost a round three match since 2010.

League Cup wins

Liverpool 8Manchester City 7Chelsea 5Aston Villa 5Manchester Utd 5Nottingham Forest 4Tottenham 4Leicester 3

Barnsley, who play quick and pressing football, have already accounted for Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough in rounds one and two of this competition. English clubs involved in Europe such as Chelsea enter the fray at this stage (although UEFA competition group stages start next month).

Already lost along English football’s quickest route to major silverware are a quarter of Premier League sides – Crystal Palace, Leeds, Sheffield United, Southampton, hosts West Brom – with either Leicester or Arsenal certain to join them tonight.

A League Cup first

Chelsea and Barnsley have never before been drawn together in the League Cup. There has only ever been one previous cup meeting at the Bridge: the Full Members Cup in November 1987, a 2-1 win for the hosts.

The Reds have enjoyed a clean sweep in our two FA Cup encounters, both at Oakwell. In January 1989 a Bobby Campbell team with eyes on the bigger prize of promotion back to Division One were thrashed 0-4. More infamously Avram Grant’s strong side were outcompeted and beaten 0-1 in March 2008.

Barnsley’s ups and downs

2013/14 Relegated to League One2015/16 Promoted to Championship2017/18 Relegated to League One2018/19 Promoted to Championship

Chelsea team news

While nothing can be taken for granted, a Carabao Cup tie against lower league opponents is usually the perfect stage youngsters to shine. Last season at the same stage a sold-out Stamford Bridge savoured the 7-1 thrashing of League Two Grimsby by a youthful team showing 11 changes to the starting line-up.

Reece James set up two goals and scored one, while fellow debutants Marc Guehi and Billy Gilmour, making their first starts, also impressed. Tino Anjorin and Ian Maatsen made their bow as the game progressed.

This year, the shorter pre-season and limitations of the ‘bubble’ have prompted Frank Lampard to use Barnsley’s visit to focus on honing the sharpness of his main squad. The Blues’ head coach has already confirmed goalkeeper Willy Caballero will be among his team changes tonight, and Fikayo Tomori will hope to retain his position after a good performance off the bench on Sunday. Andreas Christensen is suspended following his sending-off.

There could be debuts for Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell, while fellow summer signing Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic need to wait a little longer to return from injury.

Barnsley’s big issue

Under normal circumstances a visit to five-time-winners Chelsea at the Bridge would be the Tykes’ most glamorous cup tie since an FA Cup quarter-final meeting with Manchester City in 2013. It does usually offer a share of gate receipts but an empty Stamford Bridge means this is not the windfall tie it would normally be for a ‘small squad and budget’.

The more immediate problem facing Gerhard Struber tonight lies in the heart of defence. Two of his three preferred centre-backs, Michal Helik and Mads Juel Andersen, are suspended following red cards at Reading. The Royals exploited the Tykes’ leaving defenders one on one while attacking and reaped the reward in dismissals. Fellow centre-back Bambo Diaby is already banned.

The two defenders stand 6ft 4in or more and will be missed not just in protecting their own box but when Marcel Ritzmaier fires in his set-plays. The even taller Finn Aapo Halme may be drafted in.

Although they are not a physical side the Tykes accrued the second most yellow cards in the Championship last season (94). Only three clubs scored more from counter-attacks over the campaign, but they were the most guilty of losing possession through poor control, and netted the fewest goals from set-plays.

Number nine Cauley Woodrow was their leading scorer last season with skipper and midfielder Alex Mowatt also having an eye for goal. After Saturday’s defeat, though, Struber emphasised the need for attacking signings.

There is also a former Blue in the Yorkshire club’s ranks. Academy graduate Brad Collins was in goal as Chelsea won the Under-21 Premier League, two FA Youth Cups, two UEFA Youth Leagues and the Under-18 Premier League South.

Chelsea vs Barnsley live stream

The match is being streamed live in the UK on the website. The match pass costs £10.

Chelsea TV’s matchday programming is on the 5th Stand, Facebook Live and our official YouTube channel with three live shows: pre-match (starting 75 minutes before kick-off), half-time and post match.

Features this week include analysis of Fikayo Tomori, the first look at the teamsheets at 6.45pm sharp, live warm-up action and discussions from regulars on the show, Joe Flemons, Jason Cundy and Dan Stewart and Ben Andrews.

Chelsea vs Barnsley live commentary

There will be live text commentary updates on the 5th Stand app and this website, as well as updates on our @chelseafc Twitter account.

Due to EFL rights restrictions, we will be unable to offer our usual free audio commentary on the website and the app.

There will be radio commentary on Talksport 2.

Changes in the Carabao Cup

The 61st League Cup campaign will also see a few changes this season. Most importantly there is no extra time; matches tied at the final whistle will conclude with penalty kicks in the old A-B-A-B format.

Rounds Four of this competition is next week, the quarter-finals are fixed for just after the European competition group stages in the run-up to Christmas, and the semi-finals, reduced from the usual two legs to a one-off, are set for early January. The final is to be staged at Wembley on Sunday 28 February.

Chelsea’s recent record in the League Cup2019/20 Round 42018/19 Runners-up2017/18 Semi-finalists2016/17 Round 42015/16 Round 42014/15 Winners

Man in black

Tonight’s referee is Darren Bond, who usually officiates Championship matches. He is no stranger to Stamford Bridge, though with a flag not a whistle – he ran the line during several of the Blues’ matches in 2011/12.Like last season, the EFL has elected to use the Video Assistant Referee system only in the semi-finals and final.

When Luca led the way

Barnsley’s most recent appearance at the Bridge was a 2-0 Premier League win for Ruud Gullit’s Blues in January 1998. Having netted four in a 6-0 victory at Oakwell the previous August, Gianluca Vialli made it five in two against the Reds with the opener. Mark Hughes completed the scoring just after the break.

League Cup anniversary

On 10 October it will be 60 years since Chelsea’s first ever outing in the League Cup, and what remains the club’s best away win in this competition. Ted Drake’s Blues beat fourth-tier Millwall 7-1 at the Den with two each for the prolific Jimmy Greaves and direct free-kick maestro Peter Sillett.

Tottenham’s tricky timetable

It was supposed to be east London last night, Eastern Europe on Thursday. Beating Leyton Orient would have made the calendar busier for Tottenham Hotspur, but if that game is merely postponed due to Covid-19 positive tests, not cancelled, it could make things slightly worse.

By adding a round four Carabao Cup visit by Chelsea or Barnsley next week into their fixture list, and with the possibility of a play-off in the Europa League, the Lilywhites could go into the October international break on the back of eight matches over 17 days.

Other Carabao Cup round 3 fixtures

TonightFleetwood v Everton 7.45pm  Sky SportsFulham v Sheffield Wed 7pm  CarabaoCup.liveLeicester v Arsenal 7.45pm  CarabaoCup.liveMillwall v Burnley 7pmMorecambe v Newcastle 7.45pm  CarabaoCup.livePreston v Brighton 7pm  CarabaoCup.liveStoke v Gillingham 7pm

TomorrowBristol City Aston Villa 7pm  CarabaoCup.liveLincoln v Liverpool 7.45pm  Sky SportsMan City v Bournemouth 7.45pm