Chelsea vs. Grimsby Town. Premier League vs. League Two. Top division vs. fourth division. One of the richest clubs in the world vs. club were a couple million is the difference between life and death. Such obvious mis-matches can be tricky to navigate. Only a dominant win will do, lest we risk Spursy embarrassment.
Traditional thinking in these situations is to play the kids and the backups, who should be eager and motivated to earn their places for higher profile matches. But as we’ve seen over the years, especially since the U23 side has been eligible to join the EFL Trophy, senior professionals in the lower leagues aren’t just pushovers. Grimsby Town may be fourth division, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know how to pass the ball, score a goal, and perhaps most pertinently, stick a boot in, legally or semi-legally.
Lampard knows all this of course, and is looking for the appropriate effort from his team today.
“The players must give their maximum. The fans will be there to support us and we must give them a spectacle to enjoy. 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.”
The League Cup may be the lowest priority of the four competitions we’re going to enter this season, but the intent will be to win it, just like always. Chelsea reached the final last season only to lose to Manchester City. The ultimate aim is to do one better.
“It will be an opportunity to blood young players in this game and it is a competition we want to be competitive in. It does give a good feeling. I saw Chelsea get to the final last year and beat Tottenham in the semi. I saw how Stamford Bridge was celebrating that, and the team was slightly unlucky to lose to Man City in the final. We will try to be competitive and at the same time as giving the youngsters a go, we will try to win, as a club like Chelsea should always do.
“I have nice memories of the two finals I won. It is a competition that is difficult to win but we have to give it everything.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
So say we all.