Chelsea begin a stretch of four games in eleven days with a showdown against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, although it is quite likely that neither team will be fielding anywhere close to a first-choice lineup.
Undoubtedly, both Frank Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer will want to advance as deep as possible in the competition — and Lampard had spoken along such lines before — but it’s unlikely to come at the expense of their Premier League or Champions League ambitions.
Basically, rotation will be expected, from youth to more youth or from youth to veteran backups. Conceivably, the two teams will be quite similar situations in that respect.
For Chelsea, rotation is almost necessary as well given the fact that Lampard has been relying on a very steady core of 8-10 players in recent weeks. Many of them may be young, but they still need a breather at some point, especially when Lampard wants them to play a high energy, aggressive, up-tempo style.
Previously injured Antonio Rüdiger, Andreas Christensen, N’Golo Kanté, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are set to miss out, but Ross Barkley could be ready to return from the minor ankle injury he picked up ten days ago. Youngsters such as Billy Gilmour, Marc Guehi, Ian Maatsen, and Tino Anjorin were involved in our last League Cup match, and would be at the top of the queue for extra youth involvement this time around as well.