It turns out that Frank Lampard and John Terry are kind of old and broken and not the same great players they once were

EXTERMINATE! - Peter Taylor | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Yousa thinking yousa people gonna get old? BANG!

Happy happy birthsecond! You just got a second older! How does it feel? Sorry, we ain't got no cake.

NEWSFLASH, Cobham:

Frank Lampard & John Terry are expected to NOT feature in Sunday's FA Cup semifinal starting lineup!

Both senior England internationals have been regulars for their club at Wembley since it reopened, with Lampard having started all of Chelsea's 11 visits to the arena and Terry missing only one Community Shield in that time. More strikingly Lampard has played in 32 of the 34 semi-finals or finals of the Roman Abramovich era, missing only the two League Cup semis of 2008 with a thigh injury, with Terry playing in 27.

Shock! Awe! Mass hysteria. Baseball! Cats and dogs living together. OldGuardageddon! Hashtag, hashtag, OMG.

Newspaper editors all over the football world - i.e. England, because BEST LEAGUE IN THE WORLD (TM) - gleefully rubbed their hands together as they typed out the headlines. They were going back to the well of plenty. When John Terry and Co. aren't fit to serve as examples of everything that's wrong with modern football, they sure are fit to serve as examples of everything that's all about name recognition.

John Terry, right? He's that evil footballer, right? He's been around forever, right, with Chelsea? And now he's going to be DROPPED? Well I say, those animals! Them no good owners and clubs! LOUD WORDS!

It's a lovely headline to make the rounds, to get those eyeballs that have not been following Chelsea closely to take notice. All those double takes - those must be what editors dream of...

The pair have never previously been omitted [from Cup semifinals or finals] when fully fit [...] That scenario will now change with the two veterans, who only recently appeared undroppable, apparently accepting Benítez's policy of rotation ...

That's an odd definition of "recent". And by odd I mean completely wrong, of course. John Terry has been eminently droppable since his latest struggles with the law, footing, and football in general, while the clock has been ticking over Frank's head for even longer, the bells tolling ever louder after the club's marriage to the 4-2-3-1, 'til death do them part.

And then there are the injuries. Once you hit that magic threshold of 30, Carrousel begins and injuries stick like glue. Terry is on track to feature in just one-third of Chelsea's matches this season; Lampard is on track for just one-half. Terry will probably not hit 30 appearances in all competitions (currently on 23) for the first time since the 2002-03 season; Lampard will probably feature in less than 30 Premier League matches for just the third time in his Chelsea career (but second time in the last three seasons), and he would need to play in at least seven more to hit his usual standard of 48+ in all competitions.

The point is, one of those guys is 32, the other just a few months away from 35. Yes, they have experience. Yes, they're club legends. No, they're no longer automatic starters. Perhaps we should thank Interim for distracting us from yet another mid-season full of questions about Lampard's playing time and future.

If the Chelsea starting lineup on Sunday includes neither Terry nor Lampard, it will not be a surprising omission. Quite the opposite, it will be a normal occurrence, just like it has been in 45 of Chelsea's 59 matches this season.

For the record, here are the 14 matches (5W - 3D - 6L; 29:22) in which the guardiest of the Old Guard started together in 2012-13:

  1. Community Shield, Manchester City (N) - LOSS 2-3
  2. Matchday 1, Wigan (A) - WIN 2-0
  3. Matchday 2, Reading (H) - WIN 4-2
  4. Matchday 4, QPR (A) - DRAW 0-0
  5. CL Matchday 1, Juventus (H) - DRAW 2-2
  6. Matchday 7, Norwich (H) - WIN 4-1
  7. CL Matchday 3, Shakhtar (A) - LOSS 1-2
  8. FA Cup 4th round, Brentford (A) - DRAW 2-2
  9. Matchday 25, Newcastle (A) - LOSS 2-3
  10. FA Cup 4th round replay, Brentford (H) - WIN 4-0
  11. EL Quarterfinal Leg 1, Steaua (A) - LOSS 0-1
  12. Matchday 30, Southampton (A) - LOSS 1-2
  13. EL Semifinal Leg 1, Rubin Kazan (H) - WIN 3-1
  14. EL Semifinal Leg 2, Rubin Kazan (A) - LOSS 2-3

Now that is what I call an unimpressive resume.

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