Paul will be here shortly. In the meantime, here's Jamie Jackson's match preview:

Roberto Di Matteo and Sir Alex Ferguson will make significant changes to their Chelsea and Manchester United sides for Wednesday evening's Capital One Cup tie at Stamford Bridge, where they meet three days after their controversial Premier League game.

United's 3-2 win in west London was followed by Chelsea's official complaint that Mark Clattenburg, the referee, had aimed allegedly "inappropriate" language at Juan Mata and Mikel John Obi, with the club claiming that the latter was the target of a racial slur. Clattenburg denies the allegations.

Although Chris Smalling is not yet fit enough to be in contention, he should be available for United's Champions League trip to Braga next Wednesday after the groin and metatarsal injuries that have ruled him out so far this season. Smalling's fellow central defender Phil Jones is yet to return to football training as he recovers from a knee problem.

Ferguson told MUTV: "We will try to push Chris on quickly. I don't think he will make Wednesday's game but I am sure he will be ready for the following week. There was some hope both he and Phil would be back for this busy schedule. Phil will be starting football training next Monday. He still has some running to do. The good news is they are not far away."

After the visit to Stamford Bridge, United host Arsenal in Saturday's early kick-off, then fly to Portugal for their Champions League group game before travelling to Aston Villa the following Saturday.

With this busy 10 days in mind, Ferguson will rest key players at Stamford Bridge. "Obviously we will make changes for the Wednesday game," he said. "The squad that played against Newcastle [United, in the previous round] 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."

For the 2‑1 win over Newcastle in late September, Ferguson handed full debuts to Michael Keane, Marnick Vermijl and Scott Wootton in a side completely different from United's previous outing, a 2-1 win at Liverpool.

Di Matteo's challenge is to try to ensure his side retain focus following Sunday's post-match events. Although Mata and Mikel are in the match-day squad, the manager may elect to rest both. Di Matteo is also without the suspended John Terry, Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic, and the injured Frank Lampard.

"We are looking to freshen the team up a little bit, for sure, and also put a couple of youngsters in," Di Matteo said. "We always talk about developing and giving youngsters a chance so this type of game is a good opportunity for some of them."

Daniel Sturridge, César Azpilicueta and Lucas Piazón look certain to start. They could be joined by Victor Moses, Marko Marin, Oriol Romeu and Ryan Bertrand.

Preamble:
If the last few days of Circus Football have taught us anything, it is that there is no point previewing matches. You could publish 45 mighty leather-clad volumes discussing facts, form and scenarios ahead of tonight's big game – and Chelsea and Manchester United could still contrive to serve up something you hadn't thought possible. Barmy errors, outrageous skill, breakneck attacking, inexplicable decisions, phenomenal comebacks, hilarious celebrations, racist storms, chauvinist showers, friendly whirlpools – we could get all or none of these tonight, and plenty more besides. Brace yourselves.

Or, of course, we could get a torpid 0-0 draw, though even then we would still savour the drama of a penalty shoot-out because, as Olivier Giroud and Francis Coquelin now know, there are no replays in this here competition. There'll be treats tonight, then, and possibly lots to tricks too.

Here is tonight's cast:

Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz, Bertrand, Romeu, Mikel, Moses, Mata, Piazon, Sturridge

United: Lindgaard, Rafael, Keane, Wooton, Buttner, Giggs, Anderson, Fletcher, Nani, Hernandez, Wellbeck

Person hoping this is the mention he gets: Lee Mason

Some footballers who should be playing tonight: John Hellins, Peter Gorey, Paranormal Whiteside and ... you can do better, can't you?

Before the game, let's all take a moment to laugh at Nails McCluskey, an Arsenal-crazed chum of mine …. who missed last night's extravaganza at the Madejski because he locked himself in a car park. It is right and just to bring this to wider attention.

7.42pm: United fans have just unfurled a large banner reading: "Clattenberg, Referee, Leader, Legend". There'll be needle in this game and no mistake. Meanwhile, Ally Fogg recommends "Andy Witchie" as a participant in tonight's proceedings.

1 min: And they're off: and at a cracking pace to boot. The United fans are belting chants about John Terry which, alas, cannot be repeated here for legal reasons and so on.

3 min: United have settled quicker, looking more comfortable with the high tempo. Even Andersen has just accelerated past Mikel ... before being curtailed by David Luiz, who launches a counter-attack and then, since no one comes to challenge him, decides to unleash the game's first shot. He wellies it way over from 25 yards.

5 min: Fletcher gives the ball away to Sturridge, who tears towards the Chelsea backline ... but then loses his cool and attempts a rash pass to Mata. Interception. "How about Jurgen Pumpkinsmann?" howls Gary Naylor. "Actually, that's terrible, isn't it?" Yes, it is, Gary, but perhaps its very ghastliness makes it the most appropriate suggestion of all?

7 min: There's only one thing to say about what has just happened: hahahahahahahahahaha! You see, Moses found Sturridge with a wonderful pass from the right and the striker, having eluded the United defence, took it down 15 yards from goal ... and then fell over! "Are you Torres in disguise?" crow the United fans. It really was that bad.

9 min: It's pleasingly helter-skelter. THe quality is not especially high so far but you can feel that the stakes are. Meanwhile, Eddie Munro recommends two more United legends who could do with an outing tonight: "Neal Webb and Jonathan Spectre."

11 min: The first booking of the game goes to Romeu, for a lazy trip on Buttner. In other news, I'm glad so many emailers picked up on the fact that Andy Witchie played for United. Just, um, making sure you're paying attention. "Instead of Keey Dixon, how about Scary Vixen?" contorts Justin Kavanagh. "He would surely be a bewitching striker for Chelsea. Especially in that all-black Chelsea away strip."

14 min: Decent interplay betwene MOses and Azpilicueta down the right before the Nigerian is penalised for being blocked off by Welbeck, which seems harsh. "Here's one: Mark FrankenStein," bellows Huw Alexander. "I'll get my broomstick."

16 min: Easy save for Cech from a Welbeck shot from 16 yards. United, though, still look marginally more dangerous than the hosts.

18 min: A foxy flick from Bertrand, followed by another by Sturridge and suddenly Moses is racing into the box with only Wooton to beat ... and then he too falls over! Has someone put a hex on Chelsea's players? "How about Fright Yorke partnering Andy Ghoul, against Dan Ceausescu and Mario Satanić?" Top marks to G Ujang.

20 min: Romeu, who is already on a yellow, concedes a freekick by tripping Nani about 30 yards from goal. If he were daring the ref to send him off, that's pretty much how he'd go about it. Lee Mason decides to be lenient.

GOAL! Chelsea 0-1 United (Giggs 22') The farce begins! Cech rolls a short goalkick to Romeu on the edge of the area. Giggs and Andersen immediately converge on the midfielder, who coughs up the ball to allow Giggs to rifle it into the net from 18 yards!

24 min: Chelsea fans vent their derision at the ref after he waves play on when Piazon is shunted to the ground on the edge of the United box by Rafael.

25 min: Mikel is booked for a late trip on Welbeck. It was a thoroughly justified decision but such is the ire of the locals that they immediately begin bellowing "You're worse than Clattenberg". They sure know how to endear themselves to officials down at the Bridge.

27 min: Splendid skill by Welbeck on the left, dinking the ball over one opponents and then reverse-flicking it past another. He really is a deceptively fine player.

30 min: Penalty! An easy decision for Mason as Buttner clatters into the impressive Moses, who was making another burst into the box.

GOAL! Chelsea 1-1 United (David Luiz pen, 31') Spot-on spotkick from the Brazilian, who hammered the ball low and hard into the corner. Lindegaard went the right way and got a touch to it but the shot was struck with too much power for him to stop it.

33 min: Mikel flights a long ball over the top. Sturridge again gets away from the United defence to collect it ... and then shows a distinct lack of composure to smash the ball wildly into the stands. He had time and space to do virtually anything but instead demonstrated that his decision-making is seriously in need of improvement. Meanwhile, here's another Halloween footballer: "Dark Mata?" proposes the cosmic-minded J Kadlard

35 min: The ref orders a short break in play for reasons that Sky do not want to tell us about: the fact that some stewards at the United end are looking quite agitated suggests there may be some manner of mayhem afoot ... in fact, there are now claims on twitter that fireworks were thrown. Let's hope nothing more sinister develops.

37 min: Order appears to have been restored in the stands, and play resumes, with Welbeck firing in another shot from 20 yards. But again it was not good enough to trouble Cech.

39 min: David Luiz, for once eschewing the complicated, smashes the ball miles out of play as Hernandez closed in on him. "It's less fun than riffing on Halloween puns (Rafae-Hell?), but surely Buttner's immediate finger wagging denial of a clear penalty is trying to con the ref in exactly the same way that divers are trying to con the ref?" Matt Dony, who may not have a firm grasp of the meaning of 'exactly' but has a point all the same. "Where's the high-horse brigade on that?"

GOAL! Chelsea 1-2 United (Hernandez 42') This time David Luiz spurned the straight-forward ... and coughed up possession on the half-way line. United punished him emphatically, with Hernandez showcasing his lethal predatory skills again, taking Nani's pass with one sure touch before firing past Cech from the edge of the box. Give him an inch and he'll take a goal.

45+1 min: Moses again rips down the right and delivers a cross that United divert behind for a corner. But it comes to nothing.

Half-time: It's been frantic. Two Halloween howlers have helped United take the lead but Chelsea have flickered - notably through Moses - and there's plenty of sparks left in this one. "Regarding Matt Dony's point [39 mins]," blurts Rob Edwards. "Does he mean exactly the same way in which every player in the Premier League ever claims for a throw in? It's a CHEATING EPIDEMIC I TELL YOU!"

Substitutions: Powell is on for United instead of Buttner (apparently because he has picked up a knock, and not, then, because he was being given the run-around by Moses), so Rafael is going to left-back and Fletcher will try his luck at right-back. Chelsea, meanwhile, have replaced Mikel with Ramires.

47 min: Powell makes an immediate impression, collecting a ball from Anderson about 25 yards out, then making space for a shot and tonking in a low swirler that Cech pushes awkwardly behind for a corner.

49 min: Sturridge, Sturridge, Sturridge! Usually he is too hasty but this time, after being put through by Mata, he was guilty of taking far too long to do anything useful, leisurely trying to manouevre the ball on to his left so that he could pick his spot from eight yards. United got back to stick the ball out for a corner; then they dawdled as Chelsea took a quick one ... and now Sturridge was back to his usual rashness, attempting an extravagant flick from six yards when he had enough time to control the ball and bang it into the net. At this rate, Torres will remain the most effective striker at Stamford Bridge, which is alarming. "Twitter claims that some United fans are flying the banner 'Chelsea - standing up to racism since last Sunday'," notes Peter McMurry. "Please, please tell me this is true." I've not seen it, Peter, my vantage point in a bunker several miles from the stadium restricting my view to what Sky want to show me.

GOAL! Chelsea 2-2 United (Cahill 51') Perhaps Chelsea should stick Cahill up front instead of Torres and Sturridge? That's his fifth goal of the season, coming courtesy of a powerful header from a corner. Rafael tried to keep it out but he was behind the line when he connected with it and the referee rightly awarded the goal.

Chelsea substitution: Piazon off, Hazard on.

57 min: Mata and Hazard combine in familiar fashion before the Belgian slips the ball through to the overlapping Bertrand. Lindegaard dives to cut out his dangerous low cross.

GOAL! Chelsea 2-3 United (Nani 59') A beautiful goal, created and converted by Nani! The Portuguese winger initiated a counter-attack with some flamboyant skill in his own half and then arrived at the end of the move to swap a slick one-two with Hernandez and then dink the ball over the out-rushing Cech.

60 min: Play is hurtling from one end to the other and at this point you would not totally rule out a repeat of last night's 12-goal fiesta at the Madejski. Hernandez, in fact, should have added the sixth of the game after being teed up just now by Anderson, but he smashed the ball over from the edge of the box. Give him an inch, and he might take a goal, then. "Here's a picture of that banner for Peter mcMurry," offers friendly Liam Godinho."

64 min: Wootton booked for clonking into Sturridge on half-way.

65 min: Azpilicueta, who has shown tremendous enterprise from right-back, plays a snappy one-two with Mata before a shot is deflected out for a corner. Chelsea take it short and then cross towards the penalty spot, where Moses heads inches over the bar.

67 min: Chelsea play their way from back to front with sweet passing and movement, and then Ramires goes and bogs the ball way wide from 20 yards. Meanwhile, for those who care, Gareth Bale has put Spurs 1-0 up at Norwich, while Swansea lead by the same score at Anfield thanks to Chico.

69 min: A great chance missed! Mata jinked his way to the by-line and then clipped the ball to the back post, where Azpilicueta arrived at speed .... and headed over!

71 min: The League Cup matters to Roberto Di Matteo: he proves that by withdrawing Romeu and throwing on Oscar, meanign the Tricky Trio is now intact.

72 min: Chelsea cry for a penalty but the ref turns them down! The ball clearly hit the defender's arm from Mata's attempted shot but the official seemingly ruled that it was inadvertent. We'll get a replay if there is a break in play, which could be a while given how fast this match is careering from one end to the other...

75 min: Oscar lets fly from from 20 yards and the ball goes high and wide, which gives u a chance to have another look at the penalty appeal: sure enough, Mata's shot hit Keane's arm, which was positioned in a way that made that outcome probable.

76 min: Another fine move by Chelsea, who are chasing the equaliser with giddy abandon. Bertrand plays in Sturridge, who cuts it back for Moses, who lashes a low shot at goal from 12 yards .... well held by Linedegaard.

79 min: A wayward pass by Sturridge allows United to relieve pressure and raid forward. When they get there, Giggs shows the sort of composure that Sturridge badly lacks and slows play down. United circulate the ball at their leisure ... before Anderson attempts to thread a cunning pass through to Welbeck. Cahill just gets a toe to it to abort the danger.

81 min: After Welbeck narrowly fails to meet a Rafael cross, United make another change, taking off Anderson, who has had a fine game, and introducing Tunnicliffe.

82 min: A little shuffle from Hazard fools Wootton, who blunders into the Belgian to concede a freekick about three yards outside the box (but Wootton avoids a second booking). Mata curls a reasonable effort over the bar.

84 min: United are having to resist a gathering storm; Lindegaard makes another save, this time from Sturridge following a slinky backheel tee-up by Hazard.

85 min: Lovely effort by Oscar, well parried by Lindegaard. With a quick shimmy the Brazilian made room for a shot and then dispatched a swirler from 25 yards, but the keeper kept his focus and batted it away. Meanwhile, Norwich have equalised against Spurs thanks to an own goal by Vertonghen.

88 min: Chelsea keep coming. And they keep missing, this time Cahill booming over after decent work by Oscar. Meanwhile at Carrow Road, Simeon Jackson has put Norwich 2-1 up against Spurs.

89 min: "Time to blame the referee!" chant the traveling fans.

90 min: Tunnicliffe throws himself in front of a Mata shot to preserve his team's lead. But Chelsea regain possession and come again.

90 min: There will be at least three more minutes, which, if last night is anything to go by, could mean anything. At Anfield, meanwhile, there is unlikely to be extra-time as Nathan Dyer has put Swansea 2-0 up. It really is looking like a good night for United fans ...

90+2 min: David Luiz booked for showing excessive zeal - or downright ineptitude - in his attempt to dispossess Hernandez.

90+3 min: Penalty! With the ball bouncing aroudn the United box, Ramires seemed set to spin and shoot ... but Wootton barged him over!

GOAL! Chelsea 3-3 United (Hazard pen, 90+4') It was never going to end on time, was it? Hazard coolly strokes the ball down the middle as Lindegaard flops to his left. Cue extra-time (during which United will have 11 men, as Wootton again escapes a second yellow).

ET 1: The show continues. Chelsea zip the ball around nicely for the first minute. With the momentum in their favour and most of their first-team on the pitch, the home side must be favourites to prevail here. But you'd be a fool to bet on that.

ET 3 min: Apparently all this excitement is too much for my email system, which has now crashed. So don't bother sending me anything, unless it's abuse, of which you can spew as much as you want while I can't read it. In other news, Sturridge's decision-making is not improving: after beating Lindegaard to a through-ball, he could have crossed to a team-mate in the centre who would have had a great chance to score, but instead he went for a shot himself from a preposterous angle. You know how that story ended.

ET 5 min: Federico Macheda is still at Manchester United. I know this because the camera has just shown him warming up. Looks like he's going to replace Welbeck, who seems to be in some discomfort.

GOAL! Chelsea 4-3 United (Sturridge ET 7') Give him 10 chances and he'll make you pay! A botched back-header by Wootton presented the ball to Sturridge and this time the striker finished with class, putting the keeper down with a sly feint and then rolling the ball into the net. Chelsea are in front for the first time.

ET 9 min: A skirmish breaks out between Oscar and Nani, featuring all the classic ingredients of a football fight: shoving, stropping and general half-arsery. The ref rightly books them both.

ET 11 min: Giggs, still going strong in the 100th minute and his 100th year, chases back to dispossess Mata just as the Spaniard shaped to shoot. United tear forward but the move founders on Macheda.

ET 13 min: Cahill the Goal Machine malfunctions, flashing a header narrowly wide from a Mata freekick. Elsehwere, De Guzman has made it 3-1 to Swansea at Anfield. The holders are about to be chucked out.

ET 15 min: Keane booked for pulling over Sturridge as the striker broke clear. Why that wasn't a red card I don't know. Chelsea will attempt to dispense justice from a freekick ... and it's a quite brilliant effort from David Luiz! He sent a freakish wobbler over the ball and it crashes against the crossbar! And that's the last kick of the first half of extra-time.

ET 17 min: Chelsea launch a lightning break, which concludes with Sturridge thundering a shot fractionally over the bar from 18 yards.

ET 19 min: Chelsea stream forward again. Sturridge takes the wrong option again, sending an ill-advised shot high and wide when well-placed team-mates were soliciting a pass.

ET 21 min: Tunnicliffe catches Sturridhe-itis and goes for a flash volley from the edge of the area. Way, way over it goes.

ET 22 min: Moses spurns a chance to kill United off! Sturridge, it should be noted, set up the opportunity with a well-chosen and well-executed pass, then Moses took it down and fired at goal from 12 yards. But Lindegaard scrambled it away with his feet.

ET 24 min: Ramires sees yellow after a lunge on Keane.

GOAL! Chelsea 5-3 United (Ramires ET 25') Chelsea cleared a Giggs corner and suddenly launched forward through Hazard, who played in Ramires and the Brazilian finished beautifully. With a shuffle he laid down Lindegaard and then walked past him and slotted the ball into the net. That should settle it.

ET 28 min: Giggs gets yellow for a frustrated boot at Moses.

ET 29 min: Penalty to United! Perhaps things aren't settled! It was the right decision again by the ref, Azpilicueta having clumped into Hernandez.

GOAL! Chelsea 5-4 United (Giggs pen ET 29') Giggs sends Cech the wrong way to score and set up who knows what.

ET 30 min: There will be at least two more minutes.

Full-time: The mayhem end, Hazard hitting the post with the last kick of an exhilarating game. Ultimately the introduction of Hazard, Oscar and Ramires turned the game in Chelsea's favour, giving them too much quality for an under-strength United side who nonetheless contributed largely to a delightfully entertaining game. Not too sure what the point of the League Cup is but it's proving great fun ... which, of course, should be the only point that matters.