Chelsea have now played three games since the beginning of the season. The first was a crushing 4 -0 defeat from Manchester United. The second, although not technically a premier league game, was against Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup, where they lost on penalties. The second loss was a bit easier to swallow, but it doesn’t change the fact that Lampard has led Chelsea to disappointing start to the season.
The third was a 1-1 draw against Leicester. As a local legend and fan favourite of Chelsea fans, they’ll want nothing more than to see him succeed, but favouritism can only give someone so many chances. If Lampard doesn’t start picking up the slack and winning games soon, he might find that the fans turn against him.
Lampard has played English football for the large majority of his career, so he definitely knows the ins and outs of the game, but it’s another thing entirely to apply that knowledge to a managerial position. Then again, during his short stint as a manager he managed to bring Derby County to the play-off finals for the Premier League, where they unfortunately lost to Aston Villa.
The difference between Championship Football and Premier League is completely different, but success is always a positive. I don’t think there are any doubts about Lampard’s potential as a manager, but rather about the suddenness of his appointment. With that being said, now that he is our manager, we have to place faith in him to make the right decisions going forward.
Room for Improvement
So, is there anything that Lampard can personally do to improve Chelsea’s performance in the 2019/20 season?
He was put in an unfortunate position coming back to manage Chelsea at a time when they have a transfer ban. The ban is meant to be enforced for the entire season, but Chelsea are trying to appeal this as we speak. This, coupled with the fact that Chelsea lost Eden Hazard to Real Madrid, means that Lampard is fairly limited in the impact he can make on the team going forward.
It all comes down to making the best of what he has, thinking strategically and trying to pick out the best first team possible. He’s already shown a willingness to change the team from how it was last season under Sarri, though it’ll take time to see how effective this will be.
The time factor is probably the biggest issue Chelsea are facing. They’ve had a tough start to the season with their first two matches, but the next few games should give Lampard a chance to let his team properly stretch their legs and show what they can do under a bit less pressure.
The opening games weren’t perfect, but there were foundations to build upon. Against Man United the game could have been completely different if the woodwork was a bit kinder, although some concerning weaknesses in the Chelsea defence were definitely highlighted.
However, the recent Liverpool game could have easily gone both ways. The defence was lacking once again, but the midfield and strikers performed as well as you could ask for. Lampard himself noted that there was room for improvement, but said that he had ‘nothing but pride’ for his team, and praised new signing, Pulisic for an inspiring performance.
It’s too early to say for sure, but the running theme for Chelsea seems to be a strong attacking mentality without the solid defence to back it up. Individual players like young midfielder Mason Mount, have been observed as lacking in the same crucial area of the pitch.
This doesn’t reflect at all on Lampard’s ability as a manager. Given the awkward circumstances in which he has been appointed, I think a place in the top four will be good enough for the fans this season. Even if he fails those expectations, I hope that the notoriously fickle board of directors at Chelsea give him another season to properly flex his managerial muscles and see what he can do with the right resources.