After Chelsea’s Premier League loss against Arsenal on Saturday, there was a feeling of déjà vu among Chelsea’s support. After all, it has been a recurring theme for Chelsea this season. They have struggled to beat any team in the top half of the table, with only the hard-fought win against West Ham, an exception.
Lampard’s team has not won against any of the “Big Six Teams” having lost to Liverpool, Arsenal, and drawn against Manchester United and Tottenham.
In their last four EPL fixtures, they have lost three and won only once with Everton, Wolves, and Arsenal getting better of the team. This worrying trend has got Chelsea’s support worried about their team’s chances of challenging for the Premier League title.
Before the meeting with Arsenal, it was Arsenal boss, Mikel Arteta that was under intense pressure. Arsenal has not won in their last seven Premier League fixtures. They have also lost eight of their first 14 fixtures. Chelsea was supposed to win given that the mood around Arsenal was depressing.
But it was Arsenal that began the game with the right tempo, renewed vigor, and purpose. They executed their game plan to perfection and Chelsea looked lost and directionless.
Arsenal’s relentless pressure led to Reece James tripping Tierney inside the box conceding a penalty in the process. Lacazette converted the spot-kick. Chelsea will go on to concede a free-kick outside the box. This time it was Ngolo Kante. Xhaka stepped up and converted the free-kick.
By the time Saka scored the third goal, Lampard was left scratching his head. Abraham gave Chelsea some form of hope in the 85th minutes with a goal. However, when Jorginho missed a penalty kick in the dying minute, Chelsea knew it was over.
From the look of things, it was obvious Arteta has learned how to outsmart his opposite number. He has won against him in the last two fixtures.
Is the Lampard’s Chelsea experiment really working?
Chelsea did back Lampard over the summer with a transfer outlay of around £220 million. Marquee signings like Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, and Ben Chilwell was balanced with less pricey acquisitions like Edouard Mendy, Hakim Ziyech. Thiago Silva came for free from PSG.
By the time the transfer window, Chelsea looked like a team that will go on to challenge for trophies. However, things have not gone to plans so far with inconsistency derailing their season.
Injuries, lack of season preparation, and slow adaptation to the Premier League are still affecting Chelsea’s new signings. Timo Werner and Kai Havertz seem the most affected. Kai Havertz looks lost and Timo Werner has since faded after an impressive start. He has not scored in nine games for both club and country.
Lampard made his frustration known to him by pulling him off at half-time against Arsenal. In his post-match conference, he accused Chelsea players of not putting in the effort.
Are the players to blame?
In as much as Chelsea players deserve to shoulder the blame for lack of effort and individual mistakes, Lampard needs to accept more of the responsibilities.
Lampard is yet to define his best first-eleven except for the defensive partnership. He has experimented with his line-up a lot all season. His insistence on playing Timo Werner on the wing even in the face of his poor displays raises more questions.
He also shunted Pulisic, arguably Chelsea’s best winger to the right just to accommodate Timo Werner on the left. This has nullified Chelsea’s attacking plays. Werner does not have the requisite skills to function as a winger as we have seen so far.
Chelsea has also become very predictable with the team offering less penetration from the middle. They have resorted to aimless crosses from the wing with little success.
Chelsea pressing has also looked so poor with the haphazard approach exposing them to counter attacks and easy penetration of their defense.
The onus is on Lampard to conjure a winning formula otherwise questions will be asked of him.