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Everton vs Salford City

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Everton continue their busy start to the new season with the first step of what they hope will be a long journey in the Carabao Cup as they host Salford City.

They finished in 11th place in League Two last season and sit in ninth having drawn their first match of this season ahead of their first ever meeting with Everton, a tie that will see ex-Blues midfielder Darron Gibson return to Goodison Park more than three years after he left for Sunderland.

Despite representing the obvious carrot of silverware and triumph in a competition they have never won in its 60-year history, winning the League Cup offers a pathway to Europe in 2021-22, although not to the Europa League but to the playoff round of the new Europa Conference League.

There are inherent dangers in making wholesale changes, as Everton managers have discovered to their cost over the years, but with the congested fixture list, the need to give playing time to fringe players or put others in the shop window, it is expected that Ancelotti will go with a very different side.

Buoyed by victory in Sunday's Premier League opener against Tottenham, the Blues will be looking to progress to the third round for the third season running (they received a bye in 2017 due to their participation in the Europa League) where Fleetwood Town would be their opponents following their victory over Port Vale.

Carlo Ancelotti, who takes charge of his first English League Cup tie in almost a decade since his Chelsea were beaten 4-3 at home by Newcastle United at the third round stage in 2010, faces the perennial dilemma for Premier League managers with designs on the top end of the Premier League table: how many changes to make to a winning team against lower-league opposition.

The question is a pertinent one given that the Blues travelled to London for a late-afternoon kick-off on Sunday, face West Bromwich Albion in the lunchtime game on Saturday and would be in action again a week from now in the cup again should they beat Salford.
For more news relating to Chelsea, visit our sister site Chelsea Live.
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