The Blues fought like warriors to overcome an impressive Norwich side at Carrow Road but there were weaknesses everywhere for Frank Lampard’s side to suggest that it would be near-criminal if the likes of Everton and Leicester City fail to beat Chelsea to the league’s top six.
Against the Canaries, Chelsea were at their attacking best: Tammy Abraham scored a brace, his first for the Londoners, and Mason Mount scored yet again, picking up from where he stopped last week.
The output of his two youngsters should greatly delight Lampard who has showed tremendous faith in two U-21 players who are being offered an incredible chance to be super stars at a top Premier League club.
On the back of a performance that earned the club legend his first Premier League win as a manager, Frank would be justified to continue to put his trust in his talented young lads.
However, there are more lapses in this Chelsea team enough to drown any positivity that may have been noticed in the last two unbeaten games.
For one, Chelsea’s defending is not up to scratch. If a defence concedes four goals against Manchester United, it’s poor. If it ships two versus Norwich, it is terrible. If it’s the same defence across both games, like Chelsea’s, then it’s too pathetic to be among the best six teams in the land.
The Blues may have claimed four points after three matches but it is their goal against column – which currently reads 7 – that should worry the manager greatly.
Everton and Leicester City have displayed a more solid and robust defence that should afford them the platform to challenge Chelsea for that Europa League spot at the end of the season.
Blessed with the tireless Kante and pass-master Jorginho, the Blues have a solid midfield. However, there is not one midfielder out of Kante, Joginho, Barkley, Kovacic that can guarantee Lampard double digits in assists or goals.
Mason Mount may have begun brilliantly by scoring two goals in his first three matches but it is left to be seen if the Premier League rookie will be able to maintain such high standards for the duration of the campaign.
In attack, there’s nothing Chelsea has on offer that Everton cannot better. Whatever Tammy Abraham can produce, Moise Kean should match and what Christian Pulisic can deliver, Alex Iwobi should equalize. In Richarlison, Bernado, Walcott and Sigurdsson, Everton boasts more quality than what Lampard can call on at Stamford Bridge.
Without doubt, Man City and Liverpool are the two best teams in the country, the only sides to have found the perfect balance in attack as in defence. However, Manchester City and Liverpool aside, there are a few more teams better equipped than the Pensioners.
The next set of top teams are Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal. All three clubs appear more advanced in their team development than the West Londoners, with the Red Devils having already beaten the Blues 4-0. So they should end the league atop Chelsea comfortably.
Then there are Leicester City and Everton, two sides that have shown more quality and have a more settled setup.
With two experienced and top level coaches managing their issues, a more robust team and a forward line more potent than Chelsea’s, both Everton and Leicester City should fancy their chances of out shining the Pensioners.
But if Lampard is able to do the incredible and make the top six, then any manager whose team drops out – be it Unai Emery, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Brendan Rodgers or Marco Silva – should lose his job.