For bigger clubs among the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea, the League Cup allows them to try out their youngsters, work-in previously injured players, or stir up line-ups to try something new.

Last night at Swindon, Chelsea FC were able to assess their assets and size up what had been referred to as 'fringe players', who haven't seen as much time as they would like.

Two major themes revolved around two of the Spanish Internationals who started - Fernando Torres and Juan Mata.

Fernando Torres showed up, outside of league play, which seems his trend, but nonetheless he was the bright spark in the Blues attack.

Torres has been under a microscope since his arrival and showed signs of his ability to fight for every ball, add flare on the dribble, and create goals. Torres was an integral part in both of Chelsea's goals after following Juan Mata's strike for a tap in, and shortly thereafter turning two defenders with a brilliant piece of skill to open the field up for the always moving Ramires to slot home a through-ball.

Torres' first half earned him a half-time handshake from Jose Mourinho which shouldn't go overlooked. He made a serious case to battle Samuel Eto'o for the top spot this weekend in the London Derby against Tottenham.

Secondly, Juan Mata was under the same sort of pressure as Torres when taking the field. It's been widely reported that Mata is not the favourite choice for the No.10 role in the midfield.

Mata was able to control the game for many different stretches, and played a very big role in the first goal that Torres was able to finish, however, he had some instances where he was outrun for balls or was seen playing less than stellar defence for his teammates.

In current form Oscar, who seems to be Mourinho's first choice over Mata at this time, has been playing on both sides of the ball extremely well. What Oscar doesn't have in size, he makes up for in fight by making tough tackles everywhere in the midfield.

This issue will continue to be a big theme within Chelsea until Mata begins defending with the same tenacity as Oscar or Eden Hazard.

Both stories will continue throughout the season as Torres and Mata still need to win over the favour of Mourinho to become true regular starters. Torres made a strong claim from a fantastic performance on both sides of the ball while Mata had both highs and lows.

At this point it seems clear that Torres is the clear choice for Saturday's match with Tottenham as Samuel Eto'o has failed to really make his mark on any match he's been involved in thus far.

The midfield battle is still in full-swing, and Mata has some ground to cover as the youthful Oscar has been in top form for the first six weeks of the season. While it may cause many Chelsea fans to pull at their hair, this competition and depth is inevitably a great stress to have as it will help build for European and Domestic dominance.

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Topics:
Football
Chelsea
Fernando Torres
League Cup
Juan Mata