Chelsea v Luton (FA Cup): 5 things learned as the Blues progress to the 5th round

EDITORIAL NOTE: THIS ARTICLE ABOUT CHELSEA V LUTON WAS SCHEDULED TO BE PUBLISHED 25/01/20 HENCE THE REFERENCES TO FRANK LAMPARD AS MANAGER.

Chelsea’s FA Cup fourth round tie came at exactly the right time. In the middle of a horrible, potentially season and job defining run of form, the Blues well earned 3-1 victory over Championship side Luton Town was a welcome distraction. Even with the host of missed chances, Chelsea still looked vastly better than they had done four days earlier. Below are five things that we learned from the Chelsea v Luton FA Cup 4th round tie.

The Blues delivered a fine performance to progress to the 5th round of this season's FA Cup. Credit | Sky Sports
The Blues delivered a fine performance to progress to the 5th round of this season’s FA Cup. Credit | Sky Sports

Introduction

After the swirling wind at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday night brought a thunderstorm of pressure and rumours over Frank Lampard’s head, the team and fanbase could afford to be slightly more settled by Thursday evening. The time had passed that could have seen the club’s top goalscorer sacked and attention could, almost fully, be diverted to the weekend. The Blues ran out comfortable winners in the end. It also could and should have been more than the two-goal difference between the sides. Had Timo Werner converted his late penalty the score-line might have done the home side more justice.

1. Strike partnerships aren’t dead

Frank Lampard is learning still. He has been extremely rigid with his selection of the 4-3-3 this season despite it recently showing serious issues for the team.

In recent fixtures against Morecambe, Fulham and Leicester we have seen glimpses of a change though. The Englishman has tried to make more use of his depth up front by playing any two of Olivier Giroud, Kai Havertz, Tammy Abraham and Timo Werner.

This not only appears to give Chelsea more variety in attack, it has been billed the best way to exploit the goal scoring of their new German striker. Meanwhile, it may also be another way of bringing the best out of Havertz as well.

Lampard experimented against Leicester with a fluid-looking 4-2-3-1/4-4-2 with Havertz often playing as a shadow striker. In their game against Luton, it was Werner and Abraham that linked up.

In a perfect world the pair would both have gotten on the scoresheet. As it happened, Abraham walked away with the match ball and Werner was left to rue a missed penalty.

This partnership did look to get the best out of both of them though.

Chelsea’s line-up vs Luton. Chelsea FC/The Chelsea Social via Twitter

2. More of the Blues in a 4-4-2

Along with the duo up front, Chelsea also lined up with a new midfield pivot. Billy Gilmour was the ball playing anchor alongside the ever industrial, and captain for the day, Mason Mount.

Against a decent Luton side that did play with freedom and confidence, Mount and Gilmour shone. They ran the game in tandem. Gilmour displayed the passing range of those with double his experience and Mount was the high pressing, box-to-box general next to him. They complimented each other’s play style in perfect combination.

Although the question will be whether this pair, or even one of them alongside N’Golo Kante, has the balance and solidity to perform in the league. This Chelsea v Luton performance was one that deserved to excite fans and also give Lampard a selection headache.

The young academy products delivered a superb performance. Credit | Billy Gilmour via Instagram

3. Goal-scoring blues continue for Timo

This one is a trickier point to get your head around. This was probably Werner’s best all-round performance in a Chelsea shirt since his brace against Southampton in November. But, the German failed to score once again in Chelsea v Luton. He now has just one goal in 16 games and that came against League Two Morecambe.

However, we saw everything else from him today. Working well as the typical, smaller and quicker striker alongside the larger frame of Abraham. Werner looked more rejuvenated. Less aware of his surroundings and much more natural.

With the confidence of having a strike partner alongside him, Werner could freely make his runs in-behind and into the channel. Meanwhile, he wasn’t abandoning the post of lone striker.

He grabbed himself an assist and won a penalty as well. Despite the tame spot kick that resulted, this was better from Chelsea’s number 11.

Timo Werner, while bright in Chelsea v Luton, failed to dispatch his penalty he earned. Brighter times are hopefully around the corner for the German striker. Credit | Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images
Timo Werner, while bright against Luton, failed to dispatch his penalty he earned. Brighter times are hopefully around the corner for the German striker. Credit | Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

4. Billy Gilmasterclass

We’d better get started early. Maybe if we get the head scratching going now, it will save us when Billy Gilmour inevitably doesn’t play any league football in the coming weeks.

The young Scot can’t do much more though. He provided us with another dominant display. Controlling possession, dictating the tempo of the game. Gilmour has yet to fail a test this season. So, why isn’t he being trusted in the league?

Perhaps in a more physical setting and with Kante being the other obvious choice, Gilmour is up against it to get consistent first team minutes. Especially if Lampard does chose to stick with a more attacking line up, Chelsea may need more solidity in midfield which is arguably not the best of Gilmour’s traits.

If he does stay for the rest of the season he will be heavily used in the FA Cup and will have to hope that more league opportunities arise.

Gilmour checking out the surface before the match. Chelsea FC via Twitter

5. Mason Mount, Chelsea Captain

Perhaps the happiest story of the day was that Mason Mount captained his team for the first time. For a 22-year-old academy graduate to be named club captain is the greatest of honours. He didn’t disappoint either.

He has been Chelsea’s most consistent player this season and has come out of this poor run of results with more pride than any other player in the squad. His driving energy, never say die attitude and passion for the club is apparent.

Although for now it isn’t a long-term role, it is clear that he is ingrained in the club. He bares the badge on his chest and carries out the crooks of the philosophy trying to be instilled at the club. This is the first time he has captained the team but it probably won’t be the last.

He has captained the youth team to FA Youth Cup victories before and is playing his role as captain in the senior FA Cup as well.

Written by Tom (@tomcoley49)

Edited by Ross-John (RJ) Bonaccorsi (@RJ_Goodthings)


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