By: Fasika Zelealem
After a bright start to the season with a 3-1 away win at Brighton & Hove Albion, Chelsea suffered their first loss of the season at home against Liverpool in a 2-0 defeat.
A Sadio Mane brace helped by yet another Kepa Arrizabalaga blunder was enough to beat Chelsea who missed a penalty through Jorginho when the score was 2-0.
Those Chelsea fans who were down about the defeat, don’t worry, that team is nowhere near your final form. The likes of Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech, and now Edouard Mendy have yet to play for the game whereas Christian Pulisic has yet to return from injury to star in his sophomore season for Chelsea.
Chelsea now begins their EFL Cup campaign at home to Sky Bet Championship side Barnsley. The Blues were knocked out of the competition last year courtesy of a 2-1 loss to Manchester United in the fourth round. It’s a trophy Chelsea have won five times with the last time being in 2015 while they made the final in 2019, losing 4-3 on penalties to Manchester City following a 0-0 draw after extra-time.
Chelsea is huge favorites for today’s game and rightly so, but we shouldn’t act like this game, and following draws don’t hold huge significance just because the value of the trophy has somewhat declined due to Manchester City’s dominance of it.
No More Excuses for Chelsea
Chelsea is a big club, and big clubs win trophies. Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard had the excuse last year of the departure of star player Eden Hazard, the transfer ban, and the almost forced selection of young players. After a year and £200 million of spending, Frank Lampard has no excuse.
He’s been backed by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and has been able to target problem areas in the squad such as the goalkeeper, defense, and forward positions.
Yes, they need time to gel, yes, these players aren’t robots and yes, it’s unrealistic to think they can instantly challenge sides like Liverpool and Manchester City whose core has been together for years now.
But it is not unrealistic to expect a trophy. Look at Mikel Arteta last season, he was Arsenal’s third manager of the year and he managed to outsmart Frank Lampard to win the FA Cup in his first-ever managerial job.
Chelsea vs. Barnsley Betting Prediction
On to their opponents for tonight, we’ve seen two sides of Barnsley. We’ve seen the 20th placed side in the Championship who has lost both their league games without scoring a goal.
And, we’ve also seen the Barnsley side who’s won both their first round and second round ties in the EFL Cup against fellow Championship sides Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough without conceding a goal.
Chelsea remains huge favorites, coming in at -800 to go through to the next round. While Barnsley is massive underdogs with odds of +1800 to cause a huge upset. I believe Chelsea will rout Barnsley 4-0 with the Liverpool game in the back of their heads but for those bettors who have faith in the EFL Cup version of Barnsley, I implore you to go nuts.