We had one of the tougher draws of the third round of the Carling Cup, drawing Fulham at home tomorrow afternoon. In years past we've seen mangers approach the competition like they would any other, playing the first choice 11 in the opening rounds. Villas Boas seems to favor more of a squad rotation system, and it appears this match will be no exception. AVB seems to be adopting a policy of allowing the youth to play in the Carling Cup,and during a press conference on Chelsea TV today Villas Boas confirmed that Josh McEachran, Romelu Lukaku, Ryan Bertrand, and Oriol Romeu will all be handed starts. I'd also expect to see Jose Bosingwa be given a rest given the amount of time he's spent on the pitch so far, so in all liklihood Paulo Ferreira will be making his first appearance this season. Also worth noting is the fact that Didier Drogba will be available for selection.
Lukaku seems genuinely excited for the opportunity at hand. Since he was not included in the roster for the Champions League, the Carling Cup is probably his best chance initially to display what kind of force he can be on the pitch. Ryan Bertrand finds himself in the same situation, as this will be a great chance to prove to both AVB and the fanbase that he's capable of giving Ashley Cole some rest against some of the lighter competition in the Premier League. Romeu and McEachran will be a very interesting pairing to watch in the midfield, as they may be two of the more composed youngsters I've ever seen when on the ball. While it's a bit tough to guess who else will be playing, it wouldn't surprise me to see the Brazilian connection of David Luiz and Alex paired in the center of the defense, and Frank Lampard rounding out the midfield with Malouda and Kalou on the wings. I'd actually be a big fan of that lineup, but I'm sure there will be those who object to seeing Chelsea change course from their old ways. Feel free to leave your thoughts on how we should be approaching this tie in the comments below.