Frank Lampard’s Chelsea return to Carabao Cup action on Wednesday evening as they welcome Sky Bet League Two strugglers Grimsby Town to Stamford Bridge.
Last season’s runners up had to face stern competition at the same stage a year ago, when The Blues narrowly defeated European champions Liverpool to progress to the fourth round.
Despite what looks to be an easier route for Chelsea, this is the furthest The Mariners have come in the competition since 2005/2006 so they could be forgiven for wanting to inflict a cup shock upon The Bridge.
It would not be the first time that Grimsby Town have surprised in the cup, when in the 2005/2006 season they saw off Tottenham Hotspur before losing to Newcastle United.
But The Blues have not lost in the third round of the Carabao Cup since they were defeated at Newcastle United back in the 2010/2011 campaign, so on paper the tie already looks to be on Chelsea’s side.
With the introduction of young talent this season with the likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori, Frank Lampard could be compelled to hand the opportunity to other youngsters that are on the fringes.
The obvious pick would be Billy Gilmour. The 18-year-old has already featured in the league under Lampard and despite his age, will be hoping to grab any opportunity that comes his way under the youth revolution.
Other candidates to feature in the game are Ian Maatsen and Marc Guehi, with the latter already being involved in first team plans after he was an unused substitute in the defeat against Valencia in the UEFA Champions League.
Injuries seem to be part and parcel of this season, with the list piling up after Andreas Christensen and Emerson had to be forced off in the defeat at home to Liverpool in the English Premier League, although that list could soon be cut down.
Callum Hudon-Odoi and Reece James have both featured for the Development Squad recently and have been confirmed to be returning to the squad for the game against Grimsby.
This also provides the chance for the out of favour Blues to stake a claim for themselves. Record signing Christian Pulisic has struggled for minutes over the last few games, so this would be the perfect opportunity to settle himself in more to life in England.
Marcos Alonso has mainly been used as backup under Lampard but the injury to Emerson would more than likely see him appear in the first team regularly until at least October.
Pedro has featured just once in the past month due to injury. Michy Batshuayi has arrived back on the scene having more recently being used as a substitute, and Olivier Giroud will also be looking to challenge for his place alongside Abraham and Batshuayi.
By Darion Westwood