Will Mourinho really field a Chelsea Under-21 team against Arsenal in the next round of the Capital One Cup?
The Blues face their north London rival on Tuesday, October 29.
Chelsea’s congested fixture list has led Jose to consider playing a team of youngsters at the Emirates, although Matthew Glazier wonders if he’ll go ahead with it.
The cup competition has a fond place in the heart of Mourinho, with this being the first piece of silverware won as Chelsea manager when his side beat Liverpool in 2005, while he also saw a Didier Drogba-inspired Blues team beat Arsenal two seasons later.
Before the 2-0 victory against Swindon Town last week in the last round, there appeared every indication that Jose would be taking the competition seriously once again, with assistant first-team coach Steve Holland suggesting the squad's depth would make the team viable contenders for this trophy.
Holland said: "We have a big squad with fantastic players. The players want to play and need to play.
"The longer we stay in this tournament, the more games we provide for our squad between now and Christmas time."
However, the tune has since changed since the draw for the last 16 pitches Chelsea against Arsenal just two days after a Premier League tussle with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.
In protest, Mourinho appears to be considering fielding a team of youngsters for the London derby, with his comments last week suggesting that Nathaniel Chalobah, Josh McEachranand Lucas Piazon would all feature despite being nowhere near the Chelsea bench at the moment.
Asked about the timing of the fixture, Mourinho said: “My thought is that I have to make a decision, and my answer is the under-21 team will have a very good experience in the Capital One Cup. We play Sunday against Manchester City, and Tuesday against Arsenal when the people decide the fixtures.
“The players have ... two days. It's something I have to accept because I have no other option, but I have to prioritise, yes. The league is more important. After that we go to Newcastle, too, and probably it will be a good chance for the kids to play a good match.”
Even so, Mourinho virtually has two quality players for every position at Stamford Bridge without bringing youngsters to the fore, with Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta, Michael Essien, Demba Ba, Juan Mata, Andre Schurrle and Samuel Eto'o among the players who didn’t start at White Hart Lane on Saturday In a 1-1 draw against Spurs.
Jose’s love of silverware and the potential to have a trophy-laden season back at the Bridge will surely see a pretty strong team take to the field at the Emirates Stadium.
Matthew Glazier is the Managing Director of www.bettingpro.com