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Oct 31, 2012

Chelsea, United stars kept out of spotlight

Chelsea and Manchester United will take many of their stars out of the firing line when they renew hostilities for their Capital One Cup fifth-round tie on Wednesday.

Just four days after their tempestuous Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge - which saw United win 3-2 in controversial circumstances and Chelsea making allegations against referee Mark Clattenburg - the two clubs meet again in the competition that they have both won twice in the last eight seasons.

None of Chelsea main protagonists from Sunday's defeat will feature for Roberto Di Matteo's side. Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic are both suspended following the red cards they both received from Clattenburg, while John Terry continues to serve his four-match ban, but it is the absences of John Obi Mikel and Juan Mata that will be the most notable.

The two midfielders are the players Chelsea claim were subject to "inappropriate language" from Clattenburg during Sunday's game.

Clattenburg is expected to deny the allegations when he is interviewed by the FA as part of its investigations into the claims, while the Metropolitan Police announced on Tuesday that it had opened its own probe after receiving a complaint on the matter. Chelsea are also conducting their own internal inquiry.

In the absence of several of Chelsea's star names, young players such as Marko Marin, Victor Moses and Lucas Piazon will be given the chance to impress. Brazilian 18-year-old Piazon is set to make only his second appearance for the Blues, having played the full 90 minutes of the 6-0 hammering of Wolves in this season's third-round tie.

Speaking to Chelsea TV, the forward said of his debut: "I was just a bit upset after the game because I didn't score but I think it was good, my first official game for Chelsea, so I was happy anyway. I was feeling okay and the level was a bit harder, of course. The players are bigger, stronger."

United will also field a side full of young players, as they have done throughout this season's competition, due to the fact they have one eye on Saturday's home fixture against Arsenal. That means the likes of Michael Keane, Marnick Vermijl and Scott Wootton could all feature after impressing in the defeat of Newcastle in the last round.

"Obviously we will make changes for the Wednesday game," Ferguson said. "The squad that played against Newcastle will be in place again. You don't want to lose down there and we want to continue in the cup. Any game down there is going to be tough. There has been good progress there since Roberto Di Matteo took the job. They are big games - and big games are good for us."

One senior player who is expected to get a rare run-out is Nani. The Portuguese winger has only played an hour of first-team football over the past month, having come off the bench against Stoke in the league and Braga in Europe.

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