By Avenell Dave
The news that Jose Mourinho was planning on fielding a youth team in the League Cup game against Arsenal this evening received plenty of disdain and the Portuguese soon backtracked on his early assertion.
But given the thin nature of our squad, we could do with some substantial rotation if we are to focus on maintaining our place at the top of the table and being fresh for the Champions League next week.
Looking at the Arsenal website, we only have seven official defenders in the squad when we should probably have nine who can operate in defence.
Of course the problem is that we got rid of sub-standard defenders such as Santos and Squillaci in the summer and did not replace them when a versatile defender would have given the squad some more balance.
So with Vermaelen likely to start, who else slots into the middle?
Arsene Wenger has made a lot of noise about Isaac Hayden so maybe he will start but it does highlight the challenge we have defensively.
Maybe Mertesacker or Koscielny will play but really I wouldn't risk either of them with so many big games coming up.
The full backs choose themselves but in midfield we have another conundrum.
I think Wilshere will start because he has been off his game and needs playing time to get back up to speed, although the flip side is that his fragile ankle may take further battering.
I'd like to see Eisfeld start, especially as Zelalem is unavailable which is a real shame, but if not, I suspect Rosicky will play.
If there is another first teamer who could do with some playing time, it is Santi Cazorla. We all know how good he is, but if there is one criticism it is that he lacks some spark when he is coming back from injury.
When he is firing, he is superb and perhaps a game this evening will help him.
In attack, if TGSTEL starts and Gnabry, fresh from his new contract, is fit, Ryo is likely to play on the other side.
The fact that Chelsea will include Essien, Mata, Eto'o and Schwarzer must make them favourites and we all know that this is a game that will only shape our season if we lose players through injury or suspension.
But it's always nice to get one over a rival and a part of me really hopes we can get through, even if it is the least important of our targets this season.
Jenkinson Hayden Vermaelen Monreal
Gnabry Bendtner Ryo