These two teams last met in the FA Cup third round last January in a game where Chelsea ran out 2-0 winners away from home. Both teams have developed further since then and this game pits the Premier League leaders up against a Derby team that have at times resembled a Premier League side in waiting.
Steve McClaren, a League Cup winner in 2004, has his work cut out if he is to oversee an upset by Derby in this tie as not only are Chelsea unbeaten in eight games against The Rams but also have not lost to lower league opposition in the League cup since 1999. Defender Ryan Shotton is suspended following his red card in Derby’s defeat to Middlesbrough on Saturday, with Jake Buxton expected to take his place.
Jose Mourinho has vowed to select a strong side for tonight’s clash as he aims to guide his side through to the semi-finals so Cesc Fabregas should be on course for a recall following suspension. Courtois is still struggling with injury so probably the best backup keeper in the Premiership, Petr Cech, will play for Chelsea.
Striker Chris Martin and his Derby teammates know they will have to live up to being joint top scorers in the cup this season if they are to keep up with the Chelsea juggernaut.