Billy Gilmour, 47, Midfield: 9
Billy Gilmour is everything Jorginho was supposed to be but isn’t. Gilmour’s variety of passing, the pre-planning that goes into every pass along with the moment of verification before he executes that plan or does something better, his vision to find the best combination of dribbling and passing to advance are all reminiscent of Frank Lampard or Cesc Fabregas. Gilmour’s diagonal passes to Ian Maatsen in the second half are the greatest vision of the future anyone could take away from the game.
More than just a pass master, Gilmour showed signs of the complete game. Grimsby Town man-marked Chelsea across the pitch when not defending in a low block in their final third. Gilmour was no exception. When Chelsea’s centrebacks had the ball, if Gilmour felt or saw himself being closely marked he would draw his marker out to the touchline, leaving space free up the middle for Zouma or Guehi to dribble the ball upfield. This simple movement enabled the centrebacks to drive the ball across midfield many times, and it is something Chelsea do not see from their usual pass-playing base midfielder. His defending also belies his slight frame. Perhaps we can add N’Golo Kante to the comparisons.
Gilmour is still working towards having a quicker release on some of his passes. He shows the “measure twice, cut once” approach to ball movement, which is a welcome philosophy, and it will take very little time for him to reduce the lag between the second measurement and the cut.
He is ready for the Premier League and Champions League immediately, as he would be an instant improvement on Jorginho.
Ross Barkley, 8, Midfield: 6
Ross Barkley was an odd choice to play in the double pivot alongside Gilmour, but in a way this slightly constrained the number of times he could let his worst tendencies get the better of him in the attack.
Barkley played the role often attributed to Willian: dribbling every Chelsea attack into oblivion. Once Barkley had the ball within 20 yards of Grimsby Town’s goal, he only had an eye to go it himself. No matter how many Mariners closed him down, no matter how many times he tried to check back towards the inside, no matter how many times any other player was open and calling for the ball, Barkley tried to do it all himself.
He was one of the more experienced players on the pitch, and did not act it. But at least he didn’t fight with Pedro over the penalty.