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Stuart Dalgleish 18th Dec 2012 - 14:27

Chelsea are in for one El of a night

Leeds v Chelsea preview - Wednesday 19:45 live on Sky Sports 1

Leeds (16/5) will be looking to reach their first League Cup semi-final for 16 years as they take on Chelsea (5/6, draw 5/2) at Elland Road.

After a run of four wins from their last five games, the Whites will be confident of ending that run, despite the undoubted talent that Chelsea have in their ranks.

It looks like it is the perfect time for United to be playing the London outfit, after they have travelled 6,000 miles from Japan where they were competing in the World Club Cup.

Rafael Benitez simply won't be able to play his strongest XI as they will be fatigued from the weekend; it's not like Chelsea's reserves are rubbish, but the likes of George Saville (16/1 first goal) and Billy Clifford (20/1), should they play, are not going to strike fear into the hearts of Leeds like Juan Mata (11/2) and Eden Hazard (6/1).

It's a tough situation for the Spaniard though, as his team have fallen behind in the title race, they're out of the Champions League and they lost in the World Club Cup final, this is by far their 'easiest' route to silverware this season.

However, they will be up against not just a tough outfit in Leeds, but an extremely hostile atmosphere, the sort that several Chelsea players will not have experienced before.

It is a sell out in West Yorkshire, and Neil Warnock's men will hope to thrive on the crowd that has helped them in games against top flight sides Everton and Southampton already this season.

The likes of Michael Brown (25/1) and El Hadji Diouf (8/1) will not shirk a challenge and there could be plenty of bookings on the night - over 6 cards is a 13/2 shot and a red card to be shown in the 90 minutes is 9/2. (1/8 no red).

That man Diouf is featured in our Headline Offers for this huge game, we've enhanced the price of the Senegalese man scoring in a 90 minutes home win from 7/1 to 10/1. Benitez sold Diouf when he was in charge of Liverpool and I'm sure the forward will have never forgotten it.

For Chelsea, we've enhanced the price of Victor Moses scoring in a 90 minutes away win from 12/5 to 4/1. The winger/forward has chipped in with a few goals this season and will hurt United with his trickery.

The likes of Moses and Daniel Sturridge (9/2) will be key to the Blues in West Yorkshire as they can attack Leeds on the flanks, where they struggle the most - captain Lee Peltier (40/1) is a right-back by trade but has been playing at LB, whereas Sam Byram (25/1) has looked terrific in his debut season at RB but he looks like he will be better cut out as a right winger.

If the wide areas are where Chelsea should get most joy, the home team will try take advantage of what will be a makeshift centre-back pairing for the visitors.

John Terry and Gary Cahill are both unavailable, David Luiz (12/1) could operate there but he has looked impressive in the middle of the park recently, Paulo Ferreira (66/1) and Branislav Ivanovic (20/1) are the most likely options.

Michael Tonge (12/1) and Paul Green (16/1) will be the men trying to thread balls through the Chelsea back-line, but both could be worth a shout as an anytime scorer, 5/1 and 6/1 respectively, with Green in particular showing form with three in his last five.

It should be a really entertaining evening, and while it is tough to predict the line-up of Chelsea, I am going purely on the tiredness aspect and having a few quid on Leeds in the draw no bet market at 2/1.



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