Chelsea will be hoping to continue their unbeaten run in all competitions this season, when they host championship strugglers Bolton wanderers on Wednesday in a 3rd round fixture of the league cup.
Bolton wanderers are currently 21st on the Championship table, with a real need to improve on their inconsistent form sooner rather later. Considering this, it does however seem harsh that on the back of a defeat to Wolves in a league fixture, they’ll be facing a side currently topping both the Premier League and Champions League group table.
The Blues will most likely be prosecuting this match with the intention of giving a couple of fringe players a run out, which is usually the norm with Clubs participating in the Champions league.
Jose Mourinho’s second coming unlike his first, was one that saw the 51 year old promise to help nurture the promising youth players at the club.
Notwithstanding, the Portuguese manager is famous for taking every competition as seriously as he can. So despite the assumption that the Chelsea’s first team may not prosecute the match, we are likely to see what will be a mix of youth players, fringe players and the first teamers.
One indication of which players might be prosecuting the match will be the first eleven absentees in the most important game Chelsea has played so far this season. The Blues boss will be hoping to include first team players who didn’t take part in Sunday’s match and as such give them a much needed mental boost.
Another likely set of players to be selected for the midweek tie would be first team players who have yet to kick a ball in competitive matches this season.
The third set of players likely to feature, albeit from the substitute’s bench, are youth team players that were a big part of Chelsea’s preseason.
Getting as many fringe players involved in as many games as possible is good for moral, it also further ensures that they are fit and psychologically ready to compete when called upon in more important games.
Here are 5 likely changes Jose Mourinho will make for the League Cup tie.
JOHN OBI MIKEL FOR NEMANJA MATIC
The towering Serbian has played every minute of Chelsea’s campaign this season and has shown signs of fatigue in his recent outings. In contrast, the Nigerian has shown a bit of rustiness and will need game time to get back in shape.
MOHAMMED SALAH FOR EDEN HAZARD
The Egyptian has already gotten some blame from his National team coach for his lack of fitness during his country’s African nations cup qualifier. The talented winger will need to get some time on the pitch, if he’s to contribute meaningfully with his national team in the future.
FILIPE LUIS FOR CESAR AZPILICUETA
The Brazilian full back was arguably the best player in the Champion’s league match against Schalke and the manager will be looking to reward him for his hard work.
KURT ZOUMA FOR GARY CAHILL
The English man has struggled in recent games, due to Chelsea’s change in style. He’s sub par performances thus far, will mean that the highly rated young center back Kurt Zouma will be taking his place for the cup tie.
PETR CECH FOR THIBAUT COURTOIS
The fans might have expected Chelsea to follow Real Madrid’s lead by playing Cech in the Champions League and Courtois in the League. This didn’t materialize and will most likely mean that Cech will be used for both FA cup and League Cup clashes.
LOIC REMY FOR DIEGO COSTA
With Jose Mourinho already confirming Costa’s absence for the Bolton tie, the out of favour Loic Remy, is likely to play ahead of Drogba who has seen more time on the pitch, compared to the speedy Frenchman.
No matter the number of fringe players Chelsea trot out, they will still be favorites to win against a side in a lower division, who have lost all their away matches so far.