Chelsea have lost another home game against a weak team, a really worrying defeat that has just become the latest in a series of almost identical losses.
It’s hard to start with explaining where things went wrong for Chelsea, who once again couldn’t create chances for long periods, and had several players fail to perform in what should have been an easy game.
Where was the sparkling Willian from Sunday? Or the decisive and nimble Callum Hudson-Odoi from last season?
In defence, the counter attacks caused havoc against a back three that should have have the physicality and the nous to dominate this Saints side. Instead they were exposed, pulled apart, and then broken up as Lampard took off Kurt Zouma when it became clear that Chelsea needed more going forward.
That change did help, with Mason Mount, apparently only left out because of illness, adding drive and presence in the centre.
But by that point it was too late, with Southampton ahead and sitting deep, and Chelsea’s other attackers running out of steam and ideas worryingly quickly.
Mount still added an injection of speed into a game which saw the energy drained from Chelsea, but still we struggled to create chances from wide areas, or when Tammy was able to break away form his marker in the middle.
But Mount isn’t the finished article yet, as Lampard admitted himself last week, and with Mateo Kovacic also out, there was little offered to link the defenders and attackers.
The system looked totally broken without Mount or Kovacic on the pitch, and this may have been a game that pushes Lampard further towards seeking attacking January replacements.
Subbing on Pedro, who has barely played, seeing Callum Hudson-Odoi fail to perform once again while Christian Pulisic is rested following his own poor form… all these moves speak of a squad lacking a top level option somewhere between the lines or out wide, to add Champions League level class and help unlock those around him further.
It may prove difficult to buy someone of the class this team needs, but it’s not hard to see that an injection of creativity could help both Tammy score even more, and thereby take the pressure off a creaking defence that can’t seem to keep out the opposition, especially once the team are pushing forward looking to score.
It will be very very interesting to see who Frank Lampard targets in the coming weeks to help solve his increasingly critical problems. There’s no guaranteeing it will solve our problems, but it will certainly be a very tempting option now.