Who to play? Who not to play? That is the question facing Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho in the buildup to their Capital One Cup match at the Emirates scheduled for Tuesday between two of the form teams in England. The must-see match kicks off at 3:45pm ET on Tuesday, October 29.
Programming note: For viewers in the United States, the only place you can watch Arsenal against Chelsea in the Capital One Cup is on beIN SPORT. Even if you don’t have a TV subscription to beIN SPORT, you can access the channel live via an online streaming service DishWorld for $10/month. Read our review of DishWorld. And sign up for DishWorld via their website.
In the past, managers at big clubs such as Arsenal and Chelsea have used the League Cup to rest first team players while giving valuable playing time to reserve and youth academy players. But every now and then the fixture list throws a curveball at a manager.
Shortly after Wenger and Mourinho found out they were drawn against each other at the end of September, they undoubtedly checked their fixture list and started mulling over possible team sheets.
There have always been managers who complain about the fixture lists when it comes to mid-week cup ties. Mourinho has been the most vocal critic leading up to the Tuesday matchup in London. His complaints are valid. Chelsea are coming off a huge win over Manchester City on Sunday and now have to field a team 48 hours later at the Emirates.
Critics of Mourinho will say that Chelsea have a big enough squad to compete in these competitions no matter when the games are scheduled, and that would be true. But officials at the League Cup would have come off better had they granted the club an extra day of rest before scheduling the match.
After learning that his side would have to play twice in three days, Mourinho originally commented that he would field a squad of u-21 players against the Gunners. He has since backed off that comment and stated the following:
“We are going to give the game that the people that put the game on Tuesday want.” When asked if he was going to field a squad of youth players he stated, “It’s not the plan. We have to respect also our fans.”
The Chelsea team sheet should still have big names in it. More than likely the match at the Emirates will showcase Juan Mata and David Luiz. Strikers Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba should also see time, as well as midfielders Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel, and Willian. So viewers shouldn’t worry that Chelsea will be fielding a weaker squad.