Chelsea predicted XI vs Middlesbrough as Mauricio Pochettino recalls 39y/o star for League Cup semi-final

Chelsea will be without French forward Christopher Nkunku for the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg but Thiago Silva could return to the starting line-up.

Chelsea will travel to the Riverside Stadium without a dozen of their first team players with Mauricio Pochettino confirming Christopher Nkunku picked up a hip injury in training and won't be involved. 

The former RB Leipzig forward now joins the likes of Ben ChilwellReece James, Carney Chukwuemeka and Benoit Badiashile on the treatment table. 

On Nkunku, Pochettino said ahead of the game tomorrow night: "I think we'll have the same squad for the semi-final - nothing new. Christopher Nkunku's injury? It's not related to his old injury. It's a different problem - an issue in his hip. He won't be involved tomorrow; we will see if he is available for Saturday. We have to be cautious. I hope it is not a long period, but at the moment he is not training and he is recovering. But it's not a big issue."

Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick was a young player at West Ham when Boro, the club he had joined on schoolboy terms as a nine-year-old, won the League Cup to claim the first major trophy in their history in 2004.

Boro are huge underdogs in this with Chelsea winning their last three games and looking like they are just beginning to pick form. But the history of this competition is that of the ultimate outsider upsetting the odds, so expect Chelsea boss Pochettino to go with his best team and try to create a mountain for Boro to struggle with in the second leg at Stamford Bridge

Now with everything that has been said ahead of the game, this is how we expect the Blues to line up:

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