By Shawn Dennis
Sitting at the 8th spot with a disappointing 29 points through 19 matches.
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea squad has been the definition of disconcertment. Speculation of Lampard getting the boot has been the team’s topic of conversation lately, being the team he played 429 matches for and holds the clubs record for most goals all time, 211. The Hall of Famer has always shown his emotions while playing on the field and has stayed true to his character as a manager with reactions that make you feel his pain every time an opponent scores. How much longer will we be seeing the Chelsea legend managing his beloved club?
If it wasn’t for the sake of Lampard being who he is, I believe he’d be sacked before Chelsea’s next game. Meaning, if any other manager was orchestrating this powerhouse then they wouldn’t have the time of day to turn things around. That’s quite a harsh statement to make considering the Premier League is only half way through its season, but Chelsea’s goals for this season have been nowhere near met and they have no remorse for any other former manager.
There’s still plenty of time for Chelsea to still make a run for the top of the league as they’re only 4 points from being tied with Tottenham at the fifth spot. However, with an offense that’s had an extremely difficult time with putting shots into the net, they’re going to end up with a ton of 1-0 and 2-0 defeats that could have easily been a tie or victory with one more goal.
So, what changes need to be made for Chelsea to live up to their expectations and how secure is Frank Lampard’s job? Aside from the obvious answer of winning more games, there are some key attributions that must transpire in order for Chelsea to get out of the hole they’ve dug themselves and for Frank Lampard to be given a real chance.
Scoring at least 3 goals each game for the the next 2 games
Of course this also means winning both of those matches, but the number of goals scored in them are just as crucial. A 3-0 victory for an ice cold Chelsea offense would do wonders for them, especially their German striker Timo Werner, who hasn’t scored since November 7 in a win over the last club in the table, Sheffield United.
Building confidence for young players like Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, Billy Gilmour, Kai Havertz, and Timo Werner is best served by scoring goals. Not by creating opportunities, making great passes, or the right plays, that comes with experience and time. By scoring goals, these young guys will feel as if their presence on the field is formidable when they score off strikes and can finish the chances created.
These next two matches both being at Stamford Bridge and both against teams in the bottom half of the table with Wolves and Burnley, they have to be marginal victories. Likewise, Lampard needs to push the offense as much as possible. Whether it be holding possession for as long as possible and facilitating Mason Mount with through balls down the middle of the pitch or taking from former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s handbook and having a heavy counterattack game, Chelsea has to score relentlessly.
Finding a formation and staying true to it
Chelsea’s identity has been lost this season. Lampard in the beginning of his management had changed the formation three times in two weeks to find the right squad on the pitch. The only way that Chelsea will stay consistent is having chemistry and knowing the roles that each player has.
They normally play a 4-3-3 formation, which by all means is both versatile and can be highly effective depending on how well the IX position is playing, but having 28 players on the roster, I believe is unnecessary.
Lampard has to make decisions that are best suited for getting his team wins and giving players that deserve the playing time, regardless of what their salaries are. Yes, the pandemic has a factor on the unknowingness of the performances that young players will have, but this is an issue that all teams have faced.
We often forget that this is only his second season as a professional manager, but the market and value of this team is at such a high price tag that there are no exceptions to being out of the top five during practically all points of the season.
Taking pressure away from Frank Lampard
Since 2003, Chelsea’s made 13 managerial changes for their club. How can you build trust and a relationship for a manager if you only give them a season or two to produce a winning team? It takes time for a relationship to grow and to form a bond between the players. Nobody wants to be in a place where there’s constantly a new boss in charge because the employees wouldn’t care to take the time to get to know or work hard for them. At the end of the day, players are being motivated and inspired from the words and actions of their coach just as much if not more than themselves and other players.
Lampard needs some sort of reassurance that he is here to stay for at least the rest of the season. If not, he may react in a few ways that could jeopardize his tenure even more.