With just one point picked up from their first two Premier League games, Chelsea have found themselves in the unusual position of being near the bottom of the table. With a shattering loss against Manchester United and an anticlimactic home draw against Leicester City, Frank Lampard will know that he has limited time to ensure that he stays a Chelsea legend.
Although Chelsea have shown sparks of promise in each of their games this season, the results haven’t gone their way. Frank Lampard was welcomed as a returning hero at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, but things move quickly in football.
This is especially so as Lampard is the 11th Chelsea manager in just a decade. Here are ten things that Frank Lampard has to do to make sure that Chelsea don’t drop out of the top six.
1. Invest in Chelsea’s fitness
In all of Chelsea’s three games under Lampard, they have burst out of the blocks with some exhilarating football. This was shown in Sunday’s game against Leicester where their positive and attacking play quickly led to Mason Mount’s goal in the seventh minute.
However, Chelsea have shown that they can run out of steam surprisingly fast. Nowhere was this better seen than at Old Trafford where Lampard’s team fell apart in the second half and found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-0 Manchester United drubbing.
Hopefully Chelsea’s match fitness will improve as the season progresses. Whilst the team may have benefited from an intensive pre-season schedule, there was little doubt that Leicester looked like the fitter team in the second half of Sunday’s game.
2. Help Giroud find his goalscoring touch
The departure of Eden Hazard means that Chelsea are now without last season’s top goalscorer. Whilst Olivier Giroud showed plenty of excellent support play in the game against Leicester, his goalscoring record in the Premier League has been pretty abysmal.
With just five goals in 42 appearances for Chelsea since he joined from Arsenal in 2018, it’s clear that there is something going wrong up front. Giroud is strong in the air, has a decent shot, and is capable of holding up the ball to allow support to arrive, but something needs to be done to improve his goalscoring record.
This is especially so as Tammy Abraham still looks some way from being a fully developed striker. Although Abraham is just 21-years old, either him or Giroud will have to find their goalscoring touch soon or Lampard could be in big trouble.
3. Allow Pulisic to grow into the team
Although Chelsea have been hit hard by the transfer ban, they can take some comfort in the fact that they now have Christian Pulisic on their books. The 20-year old signed his contract with Chelsea just before the transfer ban came into force, and the attacking midfielder could prove to be pivotal this season.
There is plenty of hope that Pulisic will be able to work wonders in a way that Eden Hazard did last season, and his impressive form at Borussia Dortmund should inspire some confidence.
Although the expectations of Pulisic emulating Hazard are unfair, he showed that he could work hard in his first starting appearance against Leicester. But with a £58 million fee hanging over his head, he will have to start seeing much more of the ball soon.
4. Solve the defensive issues
The departure of David Luiz to Arsenal might be a mixed blessing for some Chelsea fans. Although his larger-than-life attitude might not be missed, his presence in defence was certainly absent in Chelsea’s 4-0 humiliation against Manchester United.
Players like Kurt Zouma seemed to be intent on giving the ball away recklessly, and even Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen looked to be outpaced in the second half against Leicester.
Chelsea have considered rushing Antonio Rudiger back from injury in order to bolster their defensive ranks. Although the German player’s knee injury was supposed to keep him out of the game until the Wolves match on 14 September, it’s clear that Lampard may require his services much sooner.
5. Alter the positioning of Kante and Jorginho
There’s also been a perceived lack of physicality in the Chelsea midfield. Whilst N’Golo Kante is arguably the team’s only world-class player, it has been felt that he could be better suited in front of the back four.
This would help a team who have looked dangerously shaky against a counter attack, and it would also provide Jorginho with more of an attacking role. Both midfielders were in great form against Leicester in the first half, but it looks like Lampard may have to rethink how he uses such important players.
6. Learn from mistakes of previous managers
Chelsea’s managers have a notoriously short shelf-life. Although Maurizio Sarri managed to win the Europa League, he failed to win over the Stamford Bridge faithful and soon found a much happier home at Juventus.
There is little denying Frank Lampard’s popularity as he was given a hero’s welcome at their home game on Sunday. But all Chelsea fans will fear that Lampard’s relative inexperience could easily be his undoing. Lampard managed to guide Derby County to the Championship play-off finals, but he is in much deeper waters in the Premier League.
As a result, it’s interesting to see how a fellow Chelsea legend, Ashley Cole, is reportedly set to have a coaching role in Lampard’s set-up. Such a move would help Lampard carry through his vision for positive and attacking play with Chelsea, and it’s hoped that their combined experience could work wonders with the new-look squad.
7. Utilise promising youngsters like Mason Mount
With the transfer ban in place, Lampard will have to work hard to make the most of Chelsea’s youngsters. He had already earned a good reputation at Derby for getting the best out of the team’s young players, and it seems that Mason Mount could a fixture in the Chelsea side.
The 20-year old was excellent against Leicester and his seventh minute goal was a dream start for the player. Mount had more shots than any other player on the pitch, his passing accuracy was commendable, and it’s going to be fascinating to see where he goes from here.
Once England internationals like Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi come back from injury, then Lampard’s squad will contain some of the most talented young footballers around. And with the likes of Christian Pulisic in the ranks, it seems as though Chelsea are making a good start in building for the future.
8. Build confidence against Norwich City and Sheffield United
Facing the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Leicester City in your first week of work is no easy task. Thankfully Lampard faces a slightly easier run of Premier League games in the coming weeks.
Chelsea’s next match is away to Norwich on Saturday 24 August. If the Blues can withstand the dazzling Norwich forward Teemu Pukki, then they should have a relatively easy task in taking three points from the Premier League newcomers.
This match will be followed by a home game against Sheffield United on Saturday 31 August. Although Chris Wilder’s team have made a decent start to their campaign, it remains to be seen how well they will travel away from Bramall Lane.
It’s not hard to imagine that Chelsea will pick up six points from these matches, and make up for lost time in what has been a difficult start to their season. This is all the more critical as the Blues’ next Premier League matches are against in-form teams like Wolves and Liverpool.
9. Allow for a gruelling Champions League campaign
Although European football can do wonders for a club’s fortunes, there is little denying the fact that it can wreak havoc with a Premier League campaign. Chelsea managed to win the Europa League last season, and it is incredible that they managed to do this and achieve a top three finish in the Premier League.
This means that Chelsea have booked their place in this year’s Champions League and will have to juggle their already thin squad for the group stages that start in the middle of September. The draw date for the group stages won’t be made until 29 August, and Frank Lampard will then know exactly what he is up against. All of which points towards a busy few months at Chelsea.
10. Be an inspiration for Chelsea
Lampard has already shown that he wants his team to play positive football, and hopefully their fitness will meet the manager’s expectations. But with just a handful of games for Lampard to prove that he is the right man for the job, it’s evident that it could be a tense few weeks at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea’s last season under Sarri was a fairly uninspiring time. Whilst the results were good, the team never really gelled. The exit of Hazard means that there is something of a void within the Chelsea ranks, and the players will be looking to Lampard for inspiration.
Thankfully Lampard’s playing record for the Blues means that he is still in good place to inspire the players to play some quality football. But unless he gets some points soon, then Chelsea could be the next Premier League team to look for a new manager.