It has raised the prospect of four of the country's biggest sides convening in the semifinals next month, ahead of the season's first major final at Wembley Stadium in March.
Chelsea laboured during their 2-1 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday, but the victory means that they can move to the top of the table if they win at leaders Arsenal on December 23.
The League Cup has particular significance for Jose Mourinho, as it was the first trophy he won in his first spell as Chelsea manager in 2005.
He has confirmed that he will rest club captain John Terry for the trip to Sunderland, while Ashley Cole is expected to return to the side in place of Cesar Azpilicueta.
"It's great to be in the position we're in," said goalkeeper Petr Cech, whose side won 2-0 at Arsenal in the fourth round.
"We topped the group in the Champions League, we're two points off the Premier League leaders and we can be in the semifinal of a domestic cup."