Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard was given the biggest lesson of his managerial career after a humiliating 4-0 thrashing against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, in his first Premier League game.
Although lots were expected from Lampard after enjoying an impressive preseason game where they defeated top teams like Barcelona, Salzburg to mention a few. However, Lampard failed to inspire his young team from kissing defeat.
This was an unfortunate start but there were positive signs. Having topped the table for hitting the woodwork last season, Chelsea began the new one really positively. Both Tammy Abraham and Emerson beat David de Gea but not the goal. Had either of those gone in the result could have been different. You can’t blame Frank for that.
This is Lampard’s first season in top-flight management. The Premier League is no picnic. However, Lampard has spent most of his footballing career within its confines and knows the ups and the downs.
Chelsea, through their own poor judgement, has found themselves unable to buy players for two transfer windows. There are clearly positions on the field that, despite a supply of decent youth players, that need strengthening. The transfer kitty is brimming (it’ll overflow once the bonuses start getting triggered) but the money is simply earning interest. You can’t blame Frank for that.
However, Lampard will still need to do with what he has and these are the things he will need to address following Chelsea’s poor start.
Focus on fixing the defence
One of Chelsea’s worst performers was Kurt Zouma. After suffering a horrendous knee injury he then played last season out on loan at Everton. However, upon his return to Stamford Bridge, he put in an extremely poor showing.
He looked out of his depth, giving a clumsy challenge which saw Chelsea give away a penalty. Marcus Rashford consequently scored before Zouma was then shown a yellow card later in the first half too.
And with that in mind, Chelsea will need Antonio Rudiger back as soon as possible. He has been out since April through injury but the 26-year-old is now back in training and could have been available for this match.
His fitness, however, can’t have been good enough as he was left out for the defeat. Yet, Lampard will need Rudiger fit and firing if Chelsea are to improve. Going forward, they had their moments and hit the woodwork twice against United.
We know how good Chelsea can be going forward but this display will raise question marks over their defence, particularly after selling David Luiz.
Olivier Giroud And Not Tammy Abraham Must lead the attack
It is quite obvious that Tammy Abraham still needs to be taught some attacking elementary lessons as far as the Premier League is a concern if he must succeed. His lack of positioning and inability to convert some of the few goal-scoring chances that came his way in the early part of the game at Old Trafford also contributed to Chelsea’s defeat.
This is where the presence of Olivier Giroud would have come handier for the team, in terms of experience and precision. Giroud would have done better than what Abraham did for the time he spent on the pitch.
That is why there is a big case for saying that part of Maurizio Sarri and Chelsea’s struggles last season were due to their lack of ruthlessness in both boxes.
If that’s the case again during Frank Lampard’s first campaign at the Blues, then they are going to be in trouble. Last season, Chelsea hit the woodwork 30 times in all competitions, 20 times in the Premier League, and yesterday they hit the frame of the goal twice.
Change of midfield
Mason Mount and Ross Barkley had been flip-flopping over the number ten role and the question was, who would start there?
In the end, Lampard made the decision to put Mount in that role, but drop Christian Pulisic and put Barkley on the left.
At this stage, Frank Lampard must introduce N’Golo Kante and Pulisic to the midfield pack in a bid to give the team more creativity and attacking prowess.
It was obvious that the combination of Mount and Barkley failed to drive any useful attack but instead gave the Man United midfield, the opportunity to stroll at will.