Chelsea could have selection boost as they look to overturn EFL Cup deficit

Chelsea will look to overturn their 1-0 EFL Cup semi-final first-leg defeat when they host Championship side Middlesbrough at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

A 37th-minute strike from Hayden Hackney gave Michael Carrick’s side the advantage heading into the second leg, with Cole Palmer missing a handful of chances to give the Blues a foothold in the tie, writes Edmund Brack.

The west Londoners beat Fulham 1-0 on Saturday – Palmer’s penalty before half-time the difference – and have a break from the Premier League this weekend.

Mauricio Pochettino could be set for a fitness boost for the Middlesbrough clash with Christopher Nkunku hopeful of returning to trainingy.

The French attacker has made four competitive appearances for the Blues since joining from RB Leipzig, having signed initially last January and spending the second half of last season with the Bundesliga side.

Romeo Lavia, Robert Sanchez, Reece James and Lesley Ugochukwu will be unavailable.

Boro take on Rotherham in the Championship before heading down to London.

Looking ahead to the clash after the Fulham victory, Pochettino said: “We are 1-0 down, but we need to keep the belief.

“The team is feeling well and we are confident. Every single game should be a priority for us. We need to play every game like a final.”

It has also been reported that the Blues are eyeing a move for a senior striker, with Karim Benzema and Roberto Firmino both potential signings.

The duo ply their trade in Saudi Arabia, with ex-Real Madrid star Benzema reportedly left out of Al-Ittihad’s mid-season training camp in Dubai after repeatedly failing to report for duty.

Firmino left Liverpool last summer to join Al-Ahli.


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