Chelsea predicted lineup vs Middlesbrough

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Chelsea welcome Middlesbrough to Stamford Bridge for the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final after losing 1-0 at the Riverside a fortnight ago.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side boast an impressive eight-match unbeaten sequence on home turf, the club’s longest stretch without defeat at the Bridge in more than a year. However, Chelsea’s home ground has hardly been an inhospitable fortress of late.

Earlier this month, former Blues winger Pat Nevin made the bold claim: “My beloved Chelsea at Stamford Bridge regularly has the matchday atmosphere of a mausoleum on a rainy Monday. Quite fitting as there is a cemetery just behind the main stand.”

Chelsea’s last home match against Fulham was undermined by a bizarre publicity stunt and one of the loudest cheers during a 1-0 win was for an opposition player, the returning Willian.

With fan involvement under scrutiny, here are the players that Pochettino may rely upon to get a result against the Championship club.

GK: Djordje Petrovic – Chelsea’s stand-in shot-stopper has not yet conceded a goal at Stamford Bridge in 2024, keeping consecutive clean sheets.

RB: Malo Gusto – Only Cole Palmer has laid on more assists for Chelsea teammates this season than Gusto, who can boast four.

CB: Thiago Silva – “To beat me, you have to be stronger than me,” Silva insists. “And that’s tough.”

CB: Axel Disasi – Since marking his debut with a goal against Liverpool, Disasi has missed just two of Chelsea’s 27 games across all competitions.

LB: Levi Colwill – Isaiah Jones left Colwill with twisted blood for Middlesbrough’s winner in the first leg. Fortunately for the Chelsea defender, Jones is expected to be injured for the rematch.

CM: Moises Caicedo – While explaining how difficult it is to get a result away to Middlesbrough, Pochettino claimed: “Caicedo was telling me his Brighton lost there last season.” The Seagulls actually romped to a 5-1 win at the Riverside in the FA Cup third round.

CM: Enzo Fernandez – As a child, teammates called Fernandez ‘The Musician’ because conducted the orchestra. Some of the nastier players called him ‘Fatty’ for less romantic reasons.

AM: Conor Gallagher – Chelsea’s all-action vice-captain has created more chances than Lucas Paqueta, made more tackles than Declan Rice and completed more interceptions than Virgil van Dijk this season.

RW: Noni Madueke – Maybe Madueke asked Santa Claus for some shooting boots. Since Christmas, Madueke has scored two goals in five games – as many as he managed across his first 21 appearances for Chelsea.

ST: Cole Palmer – The inspiration behind Palmer’s trademark celebration, Morgan Rogers, could line up for Middlesbrough this midweek.

LW: Raheem Sterling – Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick came up against Sterling ten times during his playing career, winning seven times.


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