It’s been just a few days since Frank Lampard was given the sack and what was perceived to be an exciting era under the former Chelsea player had turned into something like a nightmare, as Chelsea found themselves 10th on the table, level on points with the likes of Aston Villa and Southampton, and below Arsenal and Everton. No one expected Lampard to win the title, but owing to the massive additions to the squad, the least that was expected was to mount a challenge. However, Lampard failed to get the best out of his players, which led to his subsequent sacking and further appointment of Tuchel. But the question remains, how did Lampard not manage to do well with the team he had at his disposal?
Judging from the 18 months Lampard had been in charge, it was not clear what his style of play was. During Lampard’s first season in charge, he had Mount and Abraham play through the middle, pressing the opposition, and this became a key feature of Chelsea’s game, while Pulisic cut in from the left and Willian played out wide on the right. This season however Abraham was rotated more and more even when he was in good form, and Mount was played on the wings. Giroud started coming into the team, which made Werner play on the left and shifted Pulisic on the right and the high press transitioned into a mid-press. To accommodate his new signings, Werner, Havertz and Ziyech, Lampard introduced newer styles of play which totally unbalanced the team.
With the introductions of new signings, Lampard started playing a 433 system, to accommodate his players, but without realizing the players bought in weren’t suited for such a system. Havertz was forced to play deeper in a number 8 position, as compared to the one where he really flourishes, a shadow striker or a number 10, Mount’s position was changed several times, Werner was played as a lone striker rather than in a double striking role he is normally used to, or adept with. With brilliant wing backs in Ben Chilwell and Reece James, crosses were several in number, but with Werner drifting towards the wings and the 433 system not allowing for many players in the box, these crosses did not show any results. Looking back at the 4-0 win against Crystal Palace, Lampard employed a 4231, with Abraham leading the attack in front of wingers CHO and Werner, and Havertz as a number 10, something that worked well, with midfielders Jorginho and Kante performing the ball carrying and defensive roles they always do. Lampard however still went back to the 433 which is when they suffered a string of defeats versus Everton, Wolves and Arsenal.
“I don’t know if he was too young or whether it had come too early for him.” This is what Lampard said about Andre Villas Boas and ironically this is what applies to Lampard’s stint at Chelsea too. He might be the manager to take Chelsea forward, but with his prior experience being only one year at Derby, it might be prudent for him to coach lower league teams before taking the bull by its horns.