Despite injuries, poor form, and the prospect of an Everton side on their way up, Chelsea turned in their most dominant league performance of the season, powered by an unlikely band of heroes.
Chelsea’s win over Everton had plenty of highlights, and, as always, some moments of panic and indecision, but the three points were well deserved at the end of the day. Most importantly, it’s a step closer to securing a Champions League spot. As always, there were a few big takeaways.
1. Billy Gilmour owns Merseyside
It’s been quite the week for the young Scotsman. After running the show against Liverpool in the FA Cup, Billy Gilmour picked up right where he left off against Everton. Despite having the physique of a man half his age, he turned in a virtuosic central midfield performance in a match that seemed a fair fight on paper before kickoff.
Gilmour may not have registered a goal or assist, but he was undoubtedly involved in most of Chelsea’s best moments. Chelsea’s first two goals both began with incisive forward passes by Gilmour, looking like a devastating combination of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic.
He even put in a tackle or two, taking a page out of the N’Golo Kante Book of Undersized Midfielders Winning the Ball Back (a working title).
If Gilmour continues to deliver these types of performances for the next two months, it might turn out that Jorginho’s penchant for hoovering up yellow cards saves Chelsea’s season.
At the most basic level, Gilmour offers a fresh set of legs in a midfield that is limping into the most important part of the season, as well as a sense of enthusiasm that this team has been missing for the last few months. His actual legitimate quality is a very nice bonus on top of all that.
Frank Lampard hasn’t been shy about handing out plenty of minutes to inexperienced players, so this certainly won’t be the last we see of Gilmour, even as some of the senior players return from injury. It can be easy to get overly excited when a young player turns in a sterling performance in a throwaway League Cup game, but that excitement is much more justified when one turns in back-to-back dominant displays against decent sides full of top-flight professionals.
Here’s to hoping this is the start of a long, glorious Chelsea career.