Chelsea’s run of poor results towards the end of 2019 had a number of causes.
The young players that make up the bulk of Frank Lampard’s squad appeared to lose the energy that made them such a threat earlier in the summer, and as they slowed down they lost the ability to break teams down.
While still performing well against stronger teams that were willing to push forward, and in away games where the setup was similar, the Blues struggled against weak teams at home, when they were given a lot of the ball and pushed to break down their opposition with patience and precision.
Tammy Abraham was starved of service up top, the midfield lacked the ability to play the killer ball or the space to break lines from, and the defenders ended up passing aimlessly from side to side in an attempt to create holes.
The longer the games went on, the more Lampard pushed men forward to try and create overloads. This left us exposed, and we were repeatedly caught with men high up the pitch, conceding soft goals to teams we should have been beating easily.
Against Brighton, it would be easy to diagnose the same problem. But in fact, things were a little different.
In this game the home team were willing to come out and attack, leaving themselves fairly open at the back. This was especially true as the game wore on and they pushed for an equaliser.
Mason Mount, Willian and Tammy Abraham all had the space and time in the box or on the break that they lacked in those preceding defeats, and they simply weren’t good enough to make the most of them.
They were all guilty of taking the wrong decision, or playing a poor pass in the crucial moment, preventing us from taking the two goal lead that would surely have ensured victory.
Every player has a day like that, but it was worrying to see a lack of efficiency replacing a lack of creativity as our chief problem.
We need a setup that can cope with teams defending and teams pushing forward, allowing us to dispatch both with the efficiency that we see Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool putting teams from the very top to the very bottom of the league to the sword.
Frank Lampard has shown great tactical flexibility in terms of his formation this season, especially in recent weeks. He now needs players who can enact his ideas just a little more efficiently out there on the pitch.