TCC View: If ‘Xavi’ like Chelsea midfielder doesn’t start vs Luton, when else will he?

All eyes will be on Chelsea this weekend and whether or not Billy Gilmour makes an appearance as they take on Luton Town.

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It could be a make or break fixture for Frank Lampard as his managerial position dangles perilously from a cliff edge.

This FA Cup fourth-round tie provides a welcome pause from the Premier League scrutiny Chelsea have been suffering in the past month.

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However, they cannot sit back and relax as Lampard knows full well an unfathomable defeat would all but confirm his departure from Stamford Bridge.

His team selection will highlight how much a win is needed. Although fringe players will be inducted, the quality in Chelsea’s team should be lightyears ahead of their Championship opposition.

Perhaps the key talking point is whether Gilmour will be awarded a rare run-out. The 19-year-old has only played seven times this season having been out for the majority with a knee injury.

Other than a full 90 minutes in the previous stage against Morecambe and the same away to Krasnodar in the Champions League, Chelsea fans have rarely been given a glimpse of their talented midfielder.

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 It was almost a year ago in this exact competition that the Scotsman made a name for himself with a Man of the Match display in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Liverpool.

This prompted Johnny Giles to call him ‘the best midfield player I have seen in a long time’ and compared his skills to ‘Xavi’, ‘Scholes’ and ‘Modric’ (Off the Ball).

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Lampard now has the dilemma on his hands. Does he place the responsibility of this huge game into the hands of Gilmour or rely on more experienced members of his squad?

If he chooses the latter because the stakes or too high, then there seem to be very few other opportunities for Gilmour to get a look in.

Gilmour has only played 34 minutes in the league this term, hinting that Lampard doesn’t yet think he’s up for the task when it matters most.

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Wolverhampton Wanderers, Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur lie over the horizon for Chelsea. Where Gilmour fits in is another difficult issue.

The Blues need to be careful not to lose another of their incredibly gifted youngsters because of limited openings.

Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.