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Chelsea vs. Grimsby Town, Carabao Cup: Preview, team news, how to watch

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Chelsea’s 2019-20 League Cup campaign begins

Grimsby Town v Chelsea - Canon League Division 2
Pat Nevin takes on a Grimsby Town defender, May 12, 1984
Photo by Hugh Hastings/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Games don’t get much easier than this, at least on paper. Grimsby Town, currently mid-table in League Two (i.e. the fourth division), coming to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea, currently mid-table in the Premier League. For a team and a manager looking for an overdue first home win of the season, in any competition, opportunities won’t come any better.

The only other alternative is shock, embarrassment, and ridicule, just like ones Spurs are facing right now after losing away to Colchester United on Tuesday. Colchester are one position below Grimsby in League Two.

Cups are made for giant-killings. It’s the Magic of the Cup™. The nights on which it has happened at the Bridge live long in memory. Bradford, 2015. Burnley, 2008. So let’s not add to those.

Date / Time: Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 19:45 BST; 2:45pm EDT; 12:15am IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Keith Stroud — experienced official from the lower leagues, he’s taken charge of two Chelsea matches in his career, the 3-2 win over Bristol Rovers in the 2016-17 League Cup Second Round and the aforementioned home loss to Burnley on penalties in 2008 in the 2008-09 League Cup Round of 16.
Forecast: Rainy, windy, giant-killingy

On TV: none (UK); none (USA); none (India); elsewhere
Streaming: ESPN+ (USA, affiliate link); JioTV (India); Chelsea TV (audio commentary only; int’l)

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Chelsea team news: With a trio of defenders ruled out — Antonio Rüdiger, Andreas Christensen, and Emerson — we could be seeing debuts for the likes of Marc Guehi and Ian Maatsen as Lampard is expected to ring the changes and rotate the squad. The boss already confirmed that Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James will see action, probably from the start, while Billy Gilmour is likely to get the nod in midfield as well. The rest of the starting lineup should be filled with the players recently stuck on the fringes of the first-team, such as Christian Pulisic, Michy Batshuayi (or Olivier Giroud), and Ross Barkley.

Regardless of who starts, Chelsea will be expected to win and win easily.

“The young players who are involved on the night plus players who are not so young but pushing for regular starts have a nice pressure so hopefully the fans will see a team that is really firing.

“What is crucial is the mentality of how you approach the match. You have to be absolutely professional, with a desire to win the game and a respect for the opponent. Grimsby are bringing a lot of fans. It is a huge game for them and rightly so and we have to respect that completely and get our end right, which is firstly how we prepare for the game and then how we approach it, and that is what we will do.”

-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC

Grimsby Town team news: The Mighty Mariners are bringing over 5000 fans to this game, which is more than their average attendance at Blundell Park. As Lampard mentions, this is a massive game for them, with absolutely nothing to lose. That’s a cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason. Miracles happen, and they will be hoping for one.

Grimsby Town currently compete in League Two, but they’ve spent time in each of England’s top five divisions, including a long spell in the top tier in the 1930s. Ten years ago, they managed to complete a swift and steady decline from the second division by dropping all the way out of the Football League, but returned in 2016 and have remained in the fourth division since.

They beat Doncaster Rovers and Macclesfield Town in the first two rounds of this year’s League Cup to book the trip to Stamford Bridge.

Previously: Chelsea needed a replay last time we faced Grimsby Town, which was in the fifth round of the 1996 FA Cup, the Blues romping to a 4-1 win at home after a 0-0 draw away. Prior to that, Chelsea secured promotion from the second division with a 1-0 win at Blundell Park on May 12, 1984. Kerry Dixon scored the only goal. Overall, this will be meeting No.44 between the two sides, most of which happened before the Second World War.