Soccer tips: Brentford vs Chelsea - Back Blues to sneak into the semi-final

With both teams sharing a lengthy absentee list, strength in depth will play a decisive factor when Brentford and Chelsea battle for a place in the Carabao Cup semi-final.

Mounting injuries and COVID-19 infections caused chaos in the Premier League last weekend as six games faced postponement. However, as the show rolls on, it's the clubs with bigger squads who are expected to thrive in these difficult circumstances.

Chelsea are one of those teams, and they will be hoping their youth can do the business as the Blues look to bank a place in the final four of the Carabao Cup.

When, where and how to watch

When: Wednesday, December 22, 19.45 GMT

Where: Brentford Community Stadium

How to watch: Not televised in the UK

Follow this game live via our score centre

Best bets for Brentford vs Chelsea

Chelsea to win 1-0 at 6/1

Under 2.5 goals at 4/6

Christian Pulisic to score anytime at 12/5

Despite calling for a postponement to their Premier League match last weekend, Chelsea were forced to compete and once again endured a frustrating afternoon.

Thomas Tuchel's men have now dropped to third in the table as his side won just one of their last five competitive games.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel speaks to the media after the Premier League match at the Molineux stadium, Wolverhampton. Picture date: Sunday December 19, 2021.

The Blues arrive at the Brentford Community Stadium on the back of successive draws - one with Everton and most recently with Wolves. If lack of form wasn't enough, the European champions will also have to contend with a long absentee list which includes Ben Chilwell, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Romelu Lukaku, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner.

There are other players whose status is unknown and could also miss Wednesday's game. Those include Jorginho, Hakim Ziyech, Trevoh Chalobah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Brentford are in a similar boat and will also miss some of their key players. Thomas Frank's men will have to make do without Kristoffer Ajer, Joshua Dasilva, Julian Jeanvier, David Raya and possibly Mathias Jorgensen.

Brentford goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez (second left) waves to the fans at the end of the Premier League match at the Brentford Community Stadium, London. Picture date: Friday December 10, 2021.

Chelsea, unlike their opponents, have a big squad at their disposal and are capable of filling in the gaps. What's more, the Blues included eight academy players in their recent training sessions to supplement any further squad issues.

Brentford, on the other hand, will have the benefit of freshness considering they haven't been involved in a game since the beginning of December.

With that in mind, we're not expecting the Bees to roll over in this contest. On the contrary, Frank's men should give the Blues a good run for their money.

Nevertheless, we expect Chelsea's strength in depth to pay dividends, and we are backing Tuchel's side to win. As things stand, the Blues are priced at around 6/1 to sneak a 1-0 victory.

Last cup meeting

Chelsea 4-0 Brentford (FA Cup - January 28, 2017)

Antonio Conte and Dean Smith were the men in the dugout last time Chelsea and Brentford clashed in a cup fixture.

On that occasion, it was the Blues who prevailed as goals from Willian, Pedro, Branislav Ivanovic and a well converted penalty from Michy Batshuayi sealed a comfortable win at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea reached the final but couldn't get over the final hurdle as Arsenal lifted the FA Cup following a 2-1 win at Wembley.

Heavy changes means goals may be hard to come by

Brentford manager Thomas Frank

Considering both teams will be forced to make a host of changes, we're not expecting to see free flowing soccer at the Brentford Community Stadium.

Many of the players who are expected to take part are those who haven't been first team starters.

That lack of match sharpness certainly doesn't fill us with confidence when thinking about the goals market.

With that in mind, our second selection is to back the under 2.5 goals bet at around the 4/6 mark.

This bet landed when these two sides last met back in October. On that occasion, it was the Blues who celebrated a slender 1-0 win.

Last 10 head-to-heads

Brentford wins: 2

Draws: 2

Chelsea wins: 6

Brentford goals: 9

Chelsea goals: 19

Both teams to score: 4

Under 2.5 goals: 4

Brentford vs Chelsea goalscorer bets

Chelsea's Christian Pulisic following the Premier League match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester.

Our opening selection was for Chelsea to win 1-0 in the correct score market. With that in mind, who is going to score the winner for the European champions?

Mason Mount currently leads the anytime goalscorer market at 9/4 - an enticing price for a player who has bagged four goals in six outings.

While those number may look impressive, our selection is to back American forward Christian Pulisic.

The 23-year-old has not received a lot of playing time since his return from injury. However, as Tuchel begins to run out of options, this is the perfect opportunity for Pulisic to stake his claim for a regular starting shirt.

The player has been priced at 12/5 to score his first goal since late November.

From Brentford's perspective, it's Ivan Toney who leads the betting at around 21/10.

The 25-year-old missed Brentford's last two games with an injury but is expected to return this Wednesday night.

Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa are close behind having been priced at around the 16/5 mark in the anytime goalscorer market.

READ MORE: Finish strong or all goes wrong? How Premier League sides perform in the second half of the season

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