TERRACE TALK: Missing forwards, Gilmour loan view and Chelsea weakness
- Credit: PA
Ahead of Norwich City's daunting trip to Stamford Bridge, CONNOR SOUTHWELL caught up with Chelsea fan and YouTuber Daniel Childs.
Q: We're chatting just 24 hours after Chelsea thumped Malmo 4-0 in the Champions League. The big talking point surrounds the injuries to Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner. How big a blow is that ahead of this game?
A: "It is a concern, I think. Especially going into this run of more favourable fixtures for Chelsea, not to disrespect Norwich.
"After a difficult start to the year, there was hope that Lukaku could use the next couple of Premier League games against the current bottom three to find some goalscoring form. The same for Timo Werner.
"It's a blow because we're not really a team that is creating top quality opportunities on a consistent basis and that is something that is making me wonder how sustainable our current form can be in terms of competing with Liverpool and Manchester City at the top of the league.
"We have good attacking options and it's an opportunity for someone like Callum Hudson-Odoi or Kai Havertz to show what they can do. It's a chance for them to really kickstart their individual seasons."
Q: From a Chelsea perspective. What is your view around how the loan for Billy Gilmour at Norwich City has gone so far?
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A: "There's been a lot of debate amongst Chelsea fans about the loan players and what makes a decent loan for a young player.
"The likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Reece James - a lot of them played in the Championship and done really well. The debate sometimes is that although there can be a more glamorous loan playing Premier League football as a youngster, maybe going to a Championship club is better for their development.
"I guess the weird thing with Billy is that he already has a level of notoriety at Chelsea with his performances under Frank Lampard with performances against Liverpool and at the Etihad as well as his performances for Scotland.
"He's seen as a gem of a player. He isn't a hidden gem anymore and I thought this loan move was a really good one for him given Farke's relationship with Thomas Tuchel from their time at Dortmund together.
"I felt the style of play suited Billy as I thought Norwich would look to play an expansive game so Billy could sit at the base of midfield and look to dictate the play. They need to go through hardships and I think it's good for his mentality but if he isn't playing then it isn't great for his development."
Q: What is the solution? Would you recall him? Keep an eye over the next few months or see how it plays out this season?
A: "My instant response is to give him the season.
"If he returns in January then he probably doesn't get off the bench with the options we have. He probably doesn't want to return to a Chelsea side competing for the Premier League title - Tuchel knows his best formation and best midfield pairing.
"Being at Norwich as a quality midfielder and as one of those midfielders who is tipped to do incredible things in the future, I think that is better for him. But if we get to the winter months and he still isn't playing, then it might be time to reconsider and maybe get him out on loan elsewhere.
"I would veer in the direction that I want him to stay at Norwich for the season."
Q: Chelsea are top of the league, European champions and have only conceded three goals so far this season. Are there any weak areas that Norwich can exploit this weekend?
A: "I think Norwich will be hoping that Chelsea's lack of creativity hurts them. We've been playing on very thin margins.
"I'm someone who likes to look at xG and analyse the quality of our chances. Our win over Brentford was the second lowest expected goals of the season and since Tuchel has been in charge.
"Chelsea have really had a problem of creating high-quality opportunities and breaking down teams. Norwich, as they did in Project Restart, set up really defensively in a low block and Chelsea sometimes struggle against that. Without Lukaku, they could be stifled.
"Their defence has been incredible, no matter what Paul Scholes tries to say. Edouard Mendy has saved a lot of goals. Defence is the strongest part of what Tuchel has built at Chelsea."
Q: How do you see this game will go and let's have your score prediction as well.
A: "Off the back of that 4-0 win over Malmo, and I think Norwich are probably a better side than them, and simply saying 'that is going to happen again' is a bit naive.
"It's all about Chelsea starting well and the pressing was much better. They are the fundamentals under Tuchel. If they get a goal early, that will be crucial and could lead to our best attacking performance of the season.
"My heart wants it to be four or five-nil because I'm going to the game and I want to see a comfortable, confident performance as we head into this run. My head is thinking more of a dominant two or three-nil win. It would be a surprise for me to see us win 6-0 under Tuchel, I just don't see it happening."
- You can watch the latest episode of Terrace Talk, previewing Norwich City's trip to Chelsea this lunchtime, in the video above