Does Chelsea need a fresh start? Where Lampard has fared wrong at Stamford Bridge

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He’s only been in charge since July 2019, but Frank Lampard’s reign as Chelsea boss appears to be under considerable threat.

Sunday’s 3-1 loss to Manchester City, a game in which Lampard said his team received “serious lessons”, was the Blues’ fourth loss in the Premier League since early December, when they briefly topped the table. .

Only relegation favorites West Brom (five) and Sheffield United (six) have suffered more in the same period.

The loss leaves them with 26 points, three less than they had at the same stage last season, and history shows that the West London team never finished above sixth when they racked up no more than that many points after 17 games.

It marks an unfortunate transformation in the fortunes of Lampard, who is the club’s top scorer and one of its most beloved former players.

Here, we take a look at what went wrong for the 42-year-old this season and assess who could replace him, should Blues owner Roman Abramovich decide a trade-off is required.

Big names don’t work

Lampard oversaw a spending of more than £ 220 million in the most recent transfer window, but his two marquee signings have not been fulfilled.

Timo Werner came from RB Leipzig on a £ 47m deal after scoring 28 goals and scoring eight for his teammates last season.

However, he has contributed four goals and the same number of assists in his 17 league appearances with the Blues this season, while his touches in the opponent’s area have dropped from an average of 7.65 per game in the 2019-20 season. at 5.29 with Chelsea.

He is not the only Bundesliga importer struggling though, and Lampard could do well with the real Kai Havertz on his feet.

Given that it cost Chelsea a fee of around £ 70m when he arrived from Bayer Leverkusen, the Chelsea manager would have anticipated more than one goal in his first 15 Premier League games.

Havertz’s role at Chelsea may not be exactly as it was at Leverkusen and the 21-year-old has had to deal with a COVID-19 attack, but spends most of his time in the same areas of the field and not reaching. with the same products.

He has only had two great chances compared to the 18 he enjoyed during his last campaign with Leverkusen, while his average of 2.5 touches in the opponent’s area every 90 minutes in the top flight in England is comfortably below the 5.1 he had. in his last season in Germany.

High profile trainers on the prowl

There are a number of big names waiting behind the scenes in case Lampard gets kicked.

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has been linked to the job in recent days and the Northern Irishman has strong ties to the club. He was named their head youth coach in 2004 before being promoted to reserve team manager two years later.

He guided the Foxes to fifth place last season, just four points behind fourth-ranked Chelsea, and has overseen an impressive start to this campaign, with the club third after winning 10 of their first 17 games.

Thomas Tuchel would likely also be at the forefront of the queue after his dismissal as Paris Saint-Germain boss in late December.

Maurizio Sarri was in charge before Lampard and the club could choose to return to Italy for their next man, with Massimiliano Allegri still out of work.

The 53-year-old left Juventus at the end of the 2018-19 campaign after securing his fifth straight Serie A title from the Bianconeri, the kind of record that is sure to turn Abramovich upside down.

Not all pessimism and sadness

While Lampard has the lowest point-per-game ratio of any permanent Chelsea manager since Abramovic took over the club in 2003 (1.67 per game), there is some reason for the former England midfielder’s optimism.

The Blues play teams from the bottom half of the Premier League table in five of their next seven top flight matches, while they can prepare for that streak with what looks like an easy FA Cup third-round clash against Morecambe, in the event of a tie at the weekend. even keep going as the League Two team grapples with a coronavirus outbreak.

Although the results have not been in their favor in recent weeks, Lampard’s team is scoring more goals and conceding less than last season. On average, they are scoring 1.9 goals per game this season compared to 1.8 last season and they are allowing 1.2 per game this time compared to 1.4 in the 2019-20 season.

There’s also the little matter of the Champions League knockout stages to look forward to after they came out on top of Group E with four wins in their six games.

Atlético de Madrid await the round of 16 and Lampard will sincerely hope that he is still in a position to put his wits to the test against Diego Simeone in the first leg on 23 February.

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