Chelsea have emerged from the international break with a thrilling 2-2 draw against Arsenal and a gut-wrenching defeat against Brentford on Saturday, and now have the chance to put previous league form behind them by beating Championship side Blackburn Rovers in the Carabao Cup this evening.
The Blues have reached the final of this competition in two of the last six seasons, losing on penalties to Manchester City in 2019 and then to Liverpool in 2022, but will need to approach this fixture with caution.
Rovers have won three of their last four matches in the second tier and despite tasting a 1-0 defeat against Swansea City last time out, arrive at Stamford Bridge sensing the possibility of an upset.
Chelsea team news vs Blackburn Rovers
Chelsea are under huge pressure to make it to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals but their season continues to be littered with inconsistencies, as demonstrated by their defeat against the Bees.
Such inconsistency hasn’t been aided by their breadth of long-term injury absentees, including Wesley Fofana, Romeo Lavia, Ben Chilwell and Christopher Nknunku, while Trevoh Chalobah and Carney Chukwuemeka have suffered setbacks on their roads to recovery from thigh and knee injures, respectively.
Mauricio Pochettino has been plagued with injuries across the pitch but it is in the striker position that has troubled him the most and his miseries were compounded by Armando Broja requiring treatment on his knee.
That leaves Nicolas Jackson as the only senior striker to choose from and considering he’s only scored three goals in 11 appearances this term, perhaps a fixture against second-tier opposition provides Pochettino the flexibility to experiment with his team selection.
Despite scoring in the third-round victory over Brighton, Jackson has struggled to find his feet in a Chelsea shirt, providing the Blues with a measly goal conversion of 8%, seven big chances missed and only two goals scored from xG of 4.23 in the top flight, as per SofaScore.
Taking the above into account, Pochettino could use this fixture against a Championship side as an opportunity to take the 22-year-old out of the firing line and replace him with a talented youngster.
The player who could replace Nicolas Jackson
Chelsea’s forward-thinking recruitment policy is tailored towards acquiring some of the world’s best young prospects, raiding Brazilian club Santos in the summer for highly-rated 18-year-old duo Angelo Gabriel and Deivid Washington.
The former is currently plying his trade at Strasbourg in Ligue 1, while the latter is waiting for a regular chance to shine in the first team and that opportunity could arise against Blackburn this evening.
After coming off the bench to make his debut against Brentford, the striker – who was described by a Brazilian talent scout as an “incredible talent” – could provide Chelsea with the electric pace, sharp off-the-ball movement and clever finishing that would see him become an instant hit in West London.
According to football talent scout Jacek Kulig, the teenager possesses all the ingredients to become a top striker, stating that he possesses the killer instinct in front of goal, is extremely difficult to knock off the ball due to his size as well as being comfortable at manipulating the ball in tight spaces, to name one of his many sensational attributes.
With that said, Pochettino could give Chelsea supporters a true flavour of the Brazilian’s talents by starting him ahead of Jackson against Blackburn.