Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Chelsea Head Into The Winter Break In Fourth Spot: Three Things Lampard Must Achieve During This Interval

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Nikhil Vinodh
Nikhil has been an avid Chelsea fan for as long as the concept of time has existed and rumours say that he even bleeds blue. Having lived in the UK for 3 years, Nikhil is said to have an excellent understanding of the atmosphere surrounding the English game. His role model is the greatest manager of all time - Jose Mourinho.

Premier League giants Chelsea have had an extremely mixed season of football so far and currently find themselves clinging onto the fourth Champions League spot with a four-point difference between them and Tottenham Hotspur in fifth. Chelsea’s most recent fixture saw them pick up a vital 2-2 draw against fellow European challengers Leicester City, ahead of what promises to be an extremely tough month of football.

Frank Lampard’s next two league fixtures come in the form of home games against Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in that order, before they’re set to welcome Bayern Munich to Stamford Bridge for the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 encounters. Saying that these three fixtures could define the rest of the Blues’ season wouldn’t be overstating it, and Lampard is sure to be keen on getting maximum points from the remaining league matches.

Frank Lampard, Manager of Chelsea acknowledges the fans after the Premier League match between Leicester City and Chelsea FC at The King Power Stadium on February 01, 2020 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

How Has Chelsea’s Season Developed So Far This Year?

The Blues began the campaign in the worst possible manner, suffering a gutting 4-0 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Although they showed a considerable shift in form after that, things have fallen away at Stamford Bridge once again in recent weeks. The Blues’ inability to put the ball in the back of the net, despite creating a flurry of chances every time they take to the pitch, has been hurting them dearly, and Lampard now has the time to implement his ideas for the month.

Here Are Three Things Lampard Must Achieve During The Winter Break:

Integrate Olivier Giroud Back Into The Side

The French World Cup-winning striker was on the verge on multiple moves away from Stamford Bridge during the January window but ended up staying put owing to the Blues’ general lack of business over the period. The Frenchman could yet have a big part to play in the latter part of the season, especially considering that Michy Batshuayi has been far from his best whenever called upon off the bench. Giroud would offer a different striking approach to Tammy Abraham and could turn out to be an excellent last-ditch option for the remainder of this campaign.

Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic controls the ball next to Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante (R) during the UEFA Champions League Group H football match between Valencia CF and Chelsea FC at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia on November 27, 2019. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

Put In Extra Work To Bring The Injured Players Back

The absences of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Pulisic haven’t helped Lampard’s cause this season, and their returns will be seen as massive steps in the right direction. While the American sensation had been in good form before he picked up the unfortunate adductor injury, the return of Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be like a new signing, considering the sheer duration that he’s been out for. Both of them have the capability to singlehandedly turn fixtures with their dribbling and quality in the final third, and Lampard will do well to bring them back into the first-team setup at the earliest.

Find The Best Midfield Combination

Frank Lampard has experimented with a multitude of different midfield combinations so far this season and continues to mix things based on the requirement. N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Ross Barkley and Jorginho are the gaffer’s four options currently. Still, the return of the Loftus-Cheek as mentioned earlier could mean further selection problems for Lampard. Dropping a player of Kante’s pedigree seems like an impossible move from a manager’s perspective, but it’s one that the Stamford Bridge hero could be forced to make in the coming weeks.

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