TOUCHLINE MANDATE: Realistic Expectations for Chelsea’s Frank Lampard this season
By Udeh okoro Emmanuel
Six games played, three won, two lost and a draw; it has not really a bad way for Chelsea to Kickstart their dream start to the 2020/2021 football season.
Their 4-0 demolition of Crystal Palace on match day four is arguably a glimpse of an exciting season ahead for Chelsea fans.
But as the season gradually gets underway, it is time to set some realistic goals that we should expect this Chelsea team with club legend, Frank Lampard, at the helm to achieve.
The transfer window so far has shown that Roman Abramovich has completely backed Lampard to take his club back to the glory days with English and European success.
We too as writers are excited and believe this team with this management can achieve the success we crave. But, Frank Lampard did say that the rebuild will be slow and will need at least 2 years. So, how excited should we be? And how much should we expect? Let’s find out.
Chelsea are going to be a very exciting team to watch in the Premier League with a plethora of explosive attacking options in Pulisic, Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud, CHO, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz threatening to leave any defence that comes in their way in tatters.
But, last season showed us that the space between second place and third is not small. Chelsea have tried fitting in 3 transfer windows in one but it still is not going to be easy. It will take time to adjust and like salty Klopp pointed out in his recent interview, Liverpool and City will possess the advantage of having already worked with their present squads for a long time.
So, Chelsea’s rebuild has started and we will be a force to reckon with, but placing above City or Liverpool will be hard. Expectation: 3rd place, less than 9 points difference between 2nd and 3rd.
After our Carabao Cup exit on Tuesday, featuring a penalty shootout against Spurs, Chelsea now only have the FA Cup to fight for this season. Cups are a great way to stay relevant as a team. They also help boost morale and give opportunity for some players to go and perform and fight their way into the first team. As Cups are one off matches they sometimes cannot be predicted, but more often than not finalists are top Premier League clubs.
Chelsea with a very deep squad for the first time in a long time that we might even have two first team keepers should be expected to do well in these games. The players and Frank should be determined to bring home the FA Cup to a club that has now spent an entire season without a trophy which is very un-Chelsea-like. Expectation: One club trophy at least.
Frank Lampard secured a Champions League place in his first season which will mean that Chelsea will battle it out against Europe’s elite in the quest to win club football’s biggest prize in 2020-21.
Last season’s CL experience was a learning curve for many of our players and we should expect them to bounce back with intent along with our new signings for many of whom playing CL football for a club like Chelsea will be a dream come true. We must expect a good run in this competition as our team definitely has the potential to give top European teams a run for their money. But, the same reasons used for the Premier League is relevant here too.
The gap between top European teams such as Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, PSG and even Premier League’s City and Liverpool is big and will take time to close. Plus, we cannot take for granted that many of the players we have brought in are all expected first team players and that means it will take time for them to gel and sync. So, all things considered a run till the last 8 of the Champions League should be a reasonable expectation for Frank Lampard and Chelsea for the 2020-21 season.
Now that we have discovered our group for the upcoming competition, this seems possible. Expectation: Last 8
With the Team
Last season, Frank Lampard’s side went past expectations but the team was riddled with a few problems. These problems have potential to be solved this season.
Defence: The defence was one of our biggest problems last season from the very beginning as we only got our first clean sheet in our 10th game in all competitions against our game week 1 opponents this season, Brighton and Hove Albion. Frank Lampard got his wish with Ben Chilwell signing for Chelsea this window.
He also got a leading voice in Thiago Silva who led PSG to their first ever Champions League final a few weeks back. Talks about Declan Rice signing for Chelsea are not reducing and the signing of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy will also help in this department. With this upgraded defence, one half of the problem looks set to be solved.
Style: Frank Lampard has shown his ability to adapt his style of play as per the opponent. Unlike his predecessors, Sarri and Conte, Lampard does not have one style he stands by. But we did see that he likes to play fast, attacking football when given the choice.
Due to our defensive vulnerabilities and inconsistent attack he had to sometimes turn to a more conservative approach against top teams. With the new signings he has got and is expected to get before the deadline we can assume that he now has the resources to play more fast, attacking football against most opponents.
Motivation: Frank’s predecessors, Conte and Sarri, spoke about how it is hard to motivate the Chelsea team. Frank himself also admitted last season that motivation has been a problem.
With some top-notch signings who come with high ambitions, motivation can be something that can be better treated this season. Thiago Silva will give Lampard a voice of motivation and strength in the dressing room, which can help bring that winning mentality to this still relatively young squad.