Chelsea manager Frank Lampard could call upon Billy Gilmour once again as the Blues face a selection crisis ahead of their clash with Everton at Stamford Bridge on Sunday (2pm).
Chelsea youngster Billy Gilmour could be set to make his full Premier League debut when the Blues face Everton this weekend. Frank Lampard is faced with a serious selection headache and could turn to the teenage midfielder with a host of his usual first-team players sidelined.
Gilmour caught the eye with a superb performance during Chelsea’s FA Cup victory over Liverpool on Tuesday night.
The 18-year-old put in a Man of the Match display during the 2-0 win, helping the Blues to book their spot in the quarter-finals.
And Lampard could be left with little choice but to call upon the youngster again this weekend as Chelsea struggle for midfield options.
Gilmour has previously only made two Premier League appearances, stepping off the bench for late cameos against Sheffield United and Crystal Palace.
However, his display against Liverpool – coupled with impressive Carabao Cup outings against Grimsby and Manchester United – may see the youngster start alongside Ross Barkley or Mason Mount in midfield.
The duo are Chelsea’s only fit and available senior players in that position, with N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic injured while Jorginho is suspended.
The Italian picked up his 10th yellow card of the Premier League campaign last weekend in the 2-2 draw with Bournemouth, immediately triggering a two-match ban.
Meanwhile, Kante is still struggling with a thigh injury while Kovacic limped off against Liverpool following an Achilles issue so the Croatian is ruled.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has returned to the matchday squad in recent weeks after recovering from a serious ACL injury, but the midfielder is yet to clock up any minutes in the senior side this season and is not expected to be risked from the off.
Meanwhile, Willian is doubtful after he also picked up an Achilles injury and the Brazilian will be assessed ahead of kick-off.
Callum Hudson-Odoi has suffered a set-back during his recovery from a hamstring problem and will not feature, Tammy Abraham is also still on the sidelines with an ongoing ankle problem and Marco van Ginkel is short of match fitness but would not have featured anyway.
There is better news for Chelsea fans regarding Christian Pulisic, with the winger posting on Instagram that he is ‘super close’ to a return from a groin problem which has ruled him out since New Year’s Day.
However, it is unlikely that he will be fit enough to feature against Everton with Lampard confirming both Pulisic and Loftus-Cheek played an in-house match earlier this week.
But Andreas Christensen should be contention to feature, having missed the clash with Liverpool due to a minor issue.
The Dane could still miss out with Antonio Rudiger likely to be recalled alongside Cesar Azpilicueta and one of Kurt Zouma or Fikayo Tomori in a back three.
Reece James will therefore occupy a right wing-back role while Marcos Alonso should be secure in his starting berth considering his two goals last weekend.
Barkley is most likely to start alongside Gilmour in midfield with Mount pushed forward in a more advanced role.
Willian’s injury means Pedro should start out wide while Olivier Giroud will continue to lead the line after the Frenchman revealed the is keen to stay at Stamford Bridge next season.
Finally, Lampard has a big decision to make regarding his goalkeepers with Kepa Arrizabalaga excelling after being recalled to the starting XI against Liverpool but Willy Caballero has played the last four Premier League mathes and is currently considered first-choice.
Everton remain without Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Morgan Schneiderlin while Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman are both doubtful but Carlo Ancelotti will be in the dugout against his former side after escaping a touchline ban despite being sent off after the final whistle against Manchester United last time out.
Chelsea predicted line-up vs Everton – Premier League
(5-2-3): Arrizabalaga; James Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Zouma, Alonso; Gilmour, Barkley; Pedro, Mount, Giroud