Once again, I took questions from you to pass on. Due to the quick turnaround needed for a midweek game, I didn't get the response I'd like. Be sure to keep those questions coming as I'd love to have other questions than my own.
CC: Lukaku is the player you have that I fear most (other than Baines on free kicks). He hit his head awfully bad though and claimed not to have remember the goal. He returned, but with all the worries of concussions do you expect him to play? If he doesn't are you confident with Jelavic up top? Might Kone get the start?
RBM: If there’s any risk that Lukaku isn’t 100% then he won’t be risked, I get the feeling that Martinez is more focussed on keeping our good league form going. Add to that the fact that Aruna Kone is working his way back from a niggling injury if he’s fit I expect him to start. In the longer term Lukaku will be our first start, and Jelavic has had his time. Martinez has been more than fair to him but he’s now starting to negatively affect the team.
CC: Leighton Baines. Wow. Please tell me Martinez wants to give him a rest and won't start him on Tuesday. Do you think Martinez is going to work in a lot of younger and second choice players?
RBM: I think there’ll be a mix, but with the emphasis on the first team players. We tried out a few of the backup players last time out against Stevenage but that nearly went badly wrong. I can see Baines being rested though as Oviedo has shown promise when he’s been given a chance. I also think we might see John Stones if Roberto fancies resting Jagielka or Distin. Beyond that we’re likely to see Deulofeu getting another start, especially after the lacklustre performance from Steven Naismith at the weekend.
CC: Martinez seems to have built a pretty good squad without spending a lot (how you guys always do that is amazing). How pleased are you with what he's started building?
RBM: He had a really good foundation to start with, and the weakness that he bought with him – a poor defensive record at Wigan – is mitigated by the quality and experience we have in our back line. Tim Howard and the back four are one of the best units in the league on their day, although the new passing style is causing them a few teething problems. The permanent signings have been solid, Joel Robles and James McCarthy are potentially excellent buys for the future, Alcaraz and Kone for the shorter term. It’s the loan signings that look likely to make the real difference this year though, Lukaku is an excellent capture, Gareth Barry might just be our most important player this season, and your Deulofeu has massive potential. Add to that the faith placed in Ross Barkley so far, and the way the team seems to be gelling and finding their feet after years under a different manager and it looks like an interesting season.
Key players, projected lineup, and score prediction
RBM: It’s difficult predicting a lineup for this one, if they play watch out for Deulofeu or Stones. I think they’re both going to be big players in the next couple of years. So the lineup; honestly who knows for a League Cup game, probably 4-2-3-1, maybe: Howard; Coleman, Oviedo, Stones, Distin; Gibson, McCarthy, Mirallas, Barkley, Deulofeu; Lukaku