Gilmour of Brighton sh*ts on Caicedo of Chelsea and *everyone* saw it coming

Will Ford
Gilmour Brighton
Billy Gilmour put in a faultless display for Brighton against Marseille.

Billy Gilmour produced a faultless display for Brighton on Thursday. He’s everything for them that Moises Caicedo isn’t for Chelsea, and *nobody* is surprised by their respective trajectories.

After half an hour at the Amex, having successfully completed all 30 of his passes up to that point, more than anyone on the pitch other than Lewis Dunk (40), Billy Gilmour drew ‘wheyyys’ of delight from the Brighton fans as he rolled his studs over the ball before nutmegging his opponent, seconds after making a superbly timed tackle in his own box.

He was running the show in the Europa League, almost exactly three years on from a Man of the Match display in the Champions League that was described as “outstanding” by Frank Lampard, who just about refrained from parroting what his uncle once said about him – a statement which would have summarised the sentiments of pretty much every Chelsea fan at the time: “He will go right to the very top!”

READ: Chelsea were Arsenal in December 2021: Boehly’s £1bn f*** up and how *anyone* could do better

For whatever reason, Thomas Tuchel didn’t feel the same way and Gilmour moved to Brighton, where most (bitter Chelsea fans chief among them) assumed he would be an immediate success. But in what must have been a frustrating and painful quirk of fate for Gilmour, Graham Potter – who had played a huge hand in luring him to the south coast – p*ssed off to the club the midfielder had just left.

Roberto De Zerbi had Moises Caicedo blocking Gilmour’s path to the starting XI last season, but now that he too has gone to Brighton’s de facto parent club, the Italian manager now champions the player thriving in his stead.

“The improvement of Gilmour is incredible,” De Zerbi said last week. “I completely love him, because now he is playing very much like a leader on the pitch. Big quality, big attitude, big player.”

Deep-lying midfielders as conductors is a hackneyed analogy in modern football, but Gilmour’s gesticulating, pointing and pushing when out of possession and control of the game with the ball at his feet is worthy of a comparison to someone with a baton in hand.

He knows better than anyone what De Zerbi wants from his side, and gives his teammates little option but to play in that style through the positions he takes up, playing passes in his mind before receiving the ball with his scanning head on a swivel like an owl on uppers surrounded by a field of dormice.

Gilmour being everything Chelsea had hoped he would become having left the club while Caicedo shrinks under the burden of his £115m price tag Stamford Bridge is something everyone saw coming.

Caicedo Chelsea
Moises Caicedo looks like a shadow of the player Chelsea spent £115m on.

Brighton is a club where talented players can’t help but realise their potential, while Chelsea has become a confidence vacuum of a football club, where belief is replaced by doubt in an atmosphere where expectation dwarfs reality and allows no space for freedom of expression.

By the end of what was quite possibly the most memorable game in Brighton’s history, as Joao Pedro’s 87th-minute goal against Marseille ensured they finished top of their Europa League group, Gilmour had completed all of the 93 passes he attempted, making three tackles and two interceptions.

It was a faultless performance from a midfielder playing at a peak that would have Chelsea sniffing over his nine-figure transfer would it not be soul-crushingly embarrassing to re-sign a player they allowed to leave for a pittance because they didn’t have the patience and fortitude to persevere with his development.

He would be back in the doldrums in no time if he returned to his boyhood club in any case.

Billy Gilmour isn’t a better footballer than Moises Caicedo, but Gilmour of Brighton sh*ts on Caicedo of Chelsea.