Billy Gilmour

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Lampard happy after young lineup clobbers League Two’s Grimsby Town

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Chelsea boss Frank Lampard knew he had a golden chance to blood some youngsters with a League Cup visit from League Two side Grimsby Town on Wednesday.

The Blues players then turned the blooding into a bloodletting, scoring seven times in a blowout defeat of the Mariners at Stamford Bridge.

[ RECAP: Chelsea 7-1 Grimsby Town ]

Billy Gilmour superb, Marc Guehi solid,” Lampard said of two of his youngsters, via Football.London. “Now it’s about where they go with this. It says a lot about the academy, the chance to mix the team was something that I had to take up. It says that we have good young players, but now it’s about confidence and their levels. I wasn’t happy at half-time, the goal was a disaster, I showed them a video of the danger, and that could cost you.”

Guehi was dragged out of position in the concession, a Chelsea specialty this year as the Blues have struggled to keep clean sheets, but was otherwise solid (and Marcos Alonso did just as poorly on the goal).

In addition to Guehi and Gilmour starting, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi scored pretty goals. Seventeen-year-olds Faustino Anjorin and Ian Maatsen debuted for Frank Lampard, and fellow young bucks Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori didn’t even have to dress.

Heck, Christian Pulisic was almost an elder statesman (The American had an assist on the night).

After a pair of second half subs took out Pedro and Alonso, the Blues’ XI average age would’ve been under the American drinking age were it not for Wily Caballero.

Lampard was especially happy for Hudson-Odoi, who scored in his first senior appearance since a long-term injury and new contract:

“I think he is going to be a big player for this club,” Lampard said. “If he shows his real qualities. To get Callum signed up is good. First half not so sure, in the second half it was in better positions. It was about getting behind people, that’s what it’s about.”

Chelsea has a forgiving run of fixtures ahead, and Lampard’s challenge will be finding the right mix and the right amount of playing time. If he does that, the Blues will likely be in very good shape for a Top Four battle in the second half of the season.

(Even) Young(er) Chelsea smashes Grimsby Town 7-1

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Chelsea battered League Two side Grimsby Town 7-1 on Wednesday, with Christian Pulisic going 90 minutes and registering an assist for the Blues at Stamford Bridge.

Michy Batshuayi had two goals and an assist, Pedro and Kurt Zouma a goal and an assist, while Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi make season-opening statements with goals. Ross Barkley also scored for Chelsea, while Matt Green was Grimsby Town’s scorer.

Pulisic was a relative veteran in a Starting XI with Marc Guehi, Billy Gilmour, Reece James, and Callum Hudson-Odoi. Longtime Blues heroes Pedro, Marcos Alonso, and Ross Barkley started, with Wily Caballero, Kurt Zouma, and Michy Batshuayi filling out the eleven.

[ MORE: Premier League Club Power Rankings ]

The subs were just as young, as 17-year-olds Faustino Anjorin and Ian Maatsen debuted for Frank Lampard.

The sequence that produced Chelsea’s opener started with a Pulisic shot blocked in the left of the box, but the Blues quickly regrouped and went through the right for Barkley to drill a low shot past Mariners goalkeeper James McKeown.

The second goal saw Pedro, Pulisic, and James pull off a one-touch clinic, with James taking the feed from the American to set up Batshuayi for 2-0.

But hold on: Green scored a wonderful goal when he out-raced Marcos Alonso to a flick. Green is 32 years old and was in the National League as recently as last season. He’s scored exactly one goal in 16 appearances above League Two level. Well, two, we guess!

Pulisic won a dangerous free kick by dribbling a pair of Mariners in the 28th, but Batshuayi just missed heading Hudson-Odoi’s chipped free kick inside the far post.

Zouma was at the heart of Chelsea’s third and fourth goals. He won a penalty for the Blues in the 42nd minute off a corner kick, and Pedro dispatched the third goal to the back of the net.

The center back then was at the back post to take care of a fine cross from James. 4-1.

In fact, Batshuayi and Pulisic were often living in the same zip code in search of goals.

James made it a deserving 5-1 with a beautiful strike in the 82nd minute, and Pulisic laid off to Batshuayi for Chelsea’s sixth.

Batshuayi then set up Hudson-Odoi for the feel-good moment of the match, the icing on the cake if you will, with a near post finish past McKeown.

Pulisic’s stats: 90 minutes, 52 touches, 1 key pass, 2 shots, 4-of-8 in ground duels, 1 of 1 in the air.

Pulisic darted in front of Batshuayi to dribble on goal and rip a shot just wide of the frame in the 66th. He was unable to score from a tight angle in the 72nd after a terrific run to meet a clever Barkley pass.

Overall, it wasn’t a great night on the whole for Pulisic who, like Ross Barkley seemed driven to take the bull by the horns to the point of excess. He was fouled twice and showed he wouldn’t be bullied by the physical Mariners.

Lampard baffled by Chelsea draw: “It was under control”

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Frank Lampard is having trouble wrapping his mind around Chelsea’s problems getting anything comfortable out of its leads.

The Blues have led in each of their last three matches but taken just five points from Leicester City, Norwich City, and Sheffield United.

[ RECAP: Chelsea 2-2 Sheff Utd ]

On Saturday, Chelsea led 2-0 before drawing the newly-promoted Blades 2-2 at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard mentions the youth of the players, but perhaps should consider the relative inexperience of the manager as his team lost points at home to Sheffield United that  most teams — let alone most contenders — will not. From the BBC:

“It was under control, it is our fault for gifting them a goal in the first minute of the second half. It’s a similar story already. The game should have been comfortable and we have dropped two points. We want to win games, the emergence of youth is one thing but winning games is another. When you are 2-0 up at half-time you should win the game.”

Lampard said there should be “no chance” a game could swing in the way it did, but here Chelsea sits in real danger of being bottom half at the international break.

Lampard’s subs in this match were all focused on scoring goals, not preventing them, with the exception being 18-year-old midfielder Billy Gilmour coming on for 2-goal man Tammy Abraham in the 84th minute. Gilmour was making his PL debut, however.

Chasing the restoration of your 2-goal lead at home is a fair aim, but he finished the game with Andreas Christensen and Marcos Alonso on the bench. Heck, even Olivier Giroud would’ve been an experienced choice over Gilmour (whose debut is terrific and wasn’t at fault for the draw).

Our take: Lampard thought the game was in hand. It obviously wasn’t.