Brentford v Chelsea
Wednesday December 22, 19:45
Bees can go for it
Brentford are currently 12th in the Premier League, which is at least four or five places higher than many would have thought at the start of the season.
What that means is that, although a relegation fight isn't out of the question, there's enough daylight between them and the drop zone to look at this fixture and think they should really go for it rather than worrying about their next league commitments.
And this isn't the sort of situation they're usually in. It's only the second time in their history they've reached the last eight stage of a cup competition.
They've overcome Stoke City, Forest Green and Oldham to get this far.
The Bees haven't been in action for 12 days with league games against Manchester United and Southampton both postponed because of Covid-19.
Lots of personnel missing for the Blues
Chelsea drew 0-0 at the weekend with Wolves, a match that manager Tomas Tuchel didn't want to play in the first place.
Jorginho, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Kai Havertz, Andreas Christensen, Ben Chilwell, Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Romelu Lukaku were absent either through injury or after testing positive for Covid.
We'll have to wait and see how many of those are fit to play here and, though Chelsea have a squad with lots of quality players, Tuchel won't be able to field anything like his best side.
They beat Aston Villa and Southampton to get this far, both on penalties.
Chelsea are 1.758/11 with Brentford 5.59/2 and the draw 3.814/5.
The Blues are worth taking on. The Bees put up a good fight in the league encounter, losing 1-0 to a Ben Chilwell goal in a game where they had seven shots on target. Chelsea scored from their only shot on target.
There's no doubt the visitors have a vastly superior set of players but it's also true that, as we've seen, they're missing lots of players and will have to once again play a makeshift striker with neither Lukaku nor Werner available.
It will also be interesting to see how seriously Chelsea take this match. They have a tricky away game at Villa on Boxing Day and as much as they'd like to bank a trophy early on in the season, the league is surely more important than this competition.
The Bees, well rested and looking to cause an upset here should make life very difficult for them.
And 90-minute wins for Chelsea in this competition are a real collectors' item.
Five of their last six games against fellow Premier League teams in the League Cup have gone to penalties.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if this match went down the same route. But either way, I think the odds-on quote is worth laying.
So far, it's been a strange sort of season for Mason Mount. He didn't score till his ninth match of the season when he got a hat-trick against Norwich in a 7-0 win.
He was then out of the side for a while and there were murmurings about his discontent with a view to a new deal he was offered.
But the last month has been very productive for Mount, scoring in four matches in a row before his run came to an end in that 0-0 at Wolves.
It's now five games in a row that he's played the 90 minutes so he may be rested here but then again, he may not. He may also be on penalty duty if master spot-kick taker Jorginho misses out.
All of which makes the 2/1 that Mount scores quite appealing. But that's a price that's only worth taking if he starts, obviously.
As for Brentford, you can back their main man Ivan Toney at 11/5. He's got five goals in 15 games this season, including one against Stoke in this competition.
But their go-to man in this Cup is Marcus Forss. Across 10 starts in the League Cup, he has a remarkable record of nine goals, to go with one assist. This season alone he has five goals in the competition, mostly thanks to grabbing four at home to Oldham in a 7-0 win.
He rarely gets in a look-in when it comes top the league but obviously saves his best for this competition. It's 10/3 he scores another here.
In the world of Bet Builders, you can go with both teams to score at 9/10. That would have paid out in six of Brentford's last eight games and if this proves to be an open Cup tie, could well pay out again.
Adding an Ivan Toney goal (11/5) to the equation gets your double up to 3.74.