This Chelsea outcast’s fate is sealed as he can’t even start in totally rotated team

Chelsea fans are very excited about some of the players getting a chance tonight – Saul’s second shot at a competent debut, Malang Sarr’s unexpected chance to play for the Blues, Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s return to the Bridge – but there’s one player who can’t even get into this mega-rotated lineup.

Ross Barkley looked so strong a year ago, starting a loan spell at Aston Villa so brightly that some were questioning the decision to let him leave at all.

Here we are a year later, and he can’t even get on the bench for this Carabao Cup game.

It’s pretty damning, even in a formation that uses just two central midfielders. A fit and firing Barkley could play in either of the two positions behind the striker, meaning 4 potential spots in the team for him – but instead Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Saul and Hakim Ziyech and are all ahead of him in the pecking order to play with N’Golo Kante.

Barkley may get some minutes as a sub for the Frenchman later, but that will make no difference. Tonight seems like the final nail in the coffin of his Chelsea career.