Chelsea’s recent 3-1 defeat against Manchester City has put Frank Lampard’s job under serious pressure. The club have now lost 4 of their last 6 games in all competitions. Following Southampton’s win against Liverpool yesterday, Chelsea are now 9th in the Premier League table. They gave only gathered 26 points from their first 17 league games.
Roman Abramovich will definitely not be pleased with the way things are going. Lampard has a win percentage of 49%, which is less than any other manager under the Russian’s ownership, except Andre Villas-Boas (whose win percentage is 48%).
Considering the amount of money Chelsea spent in this season’s summer, one cannot help but increase the level of expectations for the club and a manager to perform consistently. However, Frank Lampard’s side have let many fans down. With the acquisition of the likes of Thiago Silva, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Ben Chilwell, it is totally justifiable to demand better football and better results.
There are many things worth talking about which have led to Chelsea’s underwhelming season so far.
Lack of creativity in midfield
Frank Lampard prefers to use a three-man midfield in a 4-3-3 formation. His favoured midfield choices this season have mostly been Mason Mount, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic. Unfortunately, none of these players have been good at being creative since that is what they cannot do naturally.
Chelsea usually have a hard time whilst progressing the ball forward. Jorginho should be an ideal choice in that regard, but his lack of defending ability makes the English manager refrain from picking him.
Back in February 2019, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri said that N’Golo Kante cannot move the ball fast enough. It turns out that he was right after all. The French midfielder is excellent at winning the ball back, but ball progression is definitely not his strength.
New signing Kai Havertz hasn’t had a very good start to this life in London either. The young German midfielder has failed to impress so far. Frank Lampard has mostly been using him as an impact substitute lately.
The lack of creativity will have to be fixed as soon as possible, since Chelsea don’t really look that good on the centre of the pitch.
Poor defensive shape
Chelsea have conceded 21 goals in 17 league games this season. They were expected to perform much better defensively this season, considering the fact that they signed Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell to bolster their defensive. Poor defensive organisation has been one of the main reasons for this issue.
Manchester City massively exposed Chelsea’s faulty structure on Sunday. Acres of space was given to the City players to build up attacks. The pressing structure was non-existent which made it very easy for Pep Guardiola’s side to control the game.
In the above picture, Ilkay Gundogan was given tons of space. After receiving the pass, he took the advantage and made a turn to score Manchester City’s first goal.
In the second picture, Phil Foden can be spotted completely unmarked. Kevin De Bruyne found a pass and the Englishman put the ball into the back of the net to score City’s second goal.
Poor organisation, structure and shape at the back and mistakes like these are costing Chelsea massively this season.
Lampard’s inability to adapt
Looking at Frank Lampard’s team selection, one could make a very good point that the Chelsea manager can be way too predictable at times. Many teams have been successful at shutting down Chelsea this season. Overplaying Mason Mount, playing Timo Werner as a left-winger, refusing to start Callum Hudson-Odoi and other decisions like these have made many fans question their former player.
Lampard has also been criticised for his inept style of play, favouritism and inability to adapt to different situations and tactical systems. Many might argue against this considering his lack of experience as a manager, but things like these should be unacceptable for the club of Chelsea’s size.
With the team’s poor form and many players underperforming, it is safe to say that Lampard has failed to get the best out of the resources he has (and has been given) this season.
Lack of quality goalkeepers
Chelsea have a bunch of talented players in almost every position. However, goalkeeper is one position the club are lacking quality in. Kepa Arrizabalaga had proved to be extremely error prone last year. As a result, Chelsea signed a 28-year-old Edouard Mendy from Stade Rennes to provide the Spaniard some competition.
Mendy had a great start at Chelsea. The Senegalese goalkeeper has been featuring regularly for Lampard’s side lately. Despite performing okay, he has still been conceding a lot of goals and has been slightly inconsistent lately.
The current weakness in this position has cost Chelsea many times, and the only way to solve this problem is to sign a first-team goalkeeper who is consistently good at what he does.
Possible replacements for Lampard
In spite of the poor run, the Chelsea board are still currently backing Lampard. However, in case things go from bad to worse, there might be a chance for Lampard to get sacked, considering how ruthless Roman Abramovich can be when it comes to getting rid of managers.
There are a few ideal candidates who can take over Frank Lampard. Mauricio Pochettino is out of contention now that Paris Saint Germain have appointed him. Thomas Tuchel is back in the market following his sacking from the same club.
Another great option is Massimiliano Allegri, who has been in the market since leaving Juventus at the end of the 2018-19 season. Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann has also been rumoured to be in Chelsea’s shortlist, but his contract expires in 2023.
As for the vacant choices, Thomas Tuchel and Massimiliano Allegri seem to be the best candidates and will be most likely to get the job if Lampard gets sacked this season.