When it was first announced that former Stamford Bridge hero Frank Lampard would be taking over as the head coach of Chelsea prior to the 19/20 Premier League campaign, a multitude of question marks were raised about the Englishman’s credibility as a manager, and whether he had what it takes to succeed at a European behemoth like Chelsea. If there’s one thing that can be said about Lampard with confidence right now, it’s that he has gradually managed to prove a majority of the doubters wrong.
Having started the campaign off in questionable fashion against Manchester United, not many expected the Blues to be anywhere near the top four race at the tail end of the season. Since then, despite all the inconsistencies, the West London side have looked like a force to be reckoned with in attack. Their quarterfinal win against Liverpool was an inspired display, while the semifinal triumph over Manchester United covered them in glory. Having set up a final against London rivals Arsenal, Lampard has the opportunity to make history by winning the FA Cup so early into his short managerial career.
The Blues come into the FA Cup final with a Champions League spot for next season already in the bag, which means that the Blues’ driving force on Saturday will be simply to get their hands on the coveted trophy. A trophy in his first year at the club would be the ultimate dream for the gaffer, and the opportunity to do it against one of their fiercest rivals in Arsenal will only make the occasion that much sweeter. Arsenal, on the other hand, finished the league campaign in 8th place, and need to beat Chelsea on Saturday if they have any hopes of playing European football next season.
Here Are Three Decisions Lampard Must Take For Chelsea To Beat Arsenal:
Three Decisions Lampard Must Take For Chelsea To Beat Arsenal
Stick With The Back Three
Lampard’s decision to move into back-three against Manchester United in the last round of the competition paid massive dividends. Despite an embarrassing result against Liverpool playing the same formation, it’s safe to say that they look a lot more defensively secure with three centre-halves across the back. Not only does this help in the defensive phase, but it also helps bring the best out of some of the players in attack, as Cesar Azpilicueta, the right-sided centre-half, tends to operate as a full-back while going forward. Moreover, it would provide the goalkeeper with an added layer of security before he’s actually forced into making a save.
Start Willy Caballero Over Kepa Arrizabalaga
The Spanish stopper has looked extremely vulnerable in between the sticks for the Blues over the last many weeks, and this is arguably what had prompted Lampard to play the Argentine veteran in his stead for the Premier League game last weekend. The former Manchester City man offered a much more assured presence at the back for the Blues, with his confidence and command over the box being picked up by the defenders in front of him as well. With Kepa in goal, an alarming lack of comfort seems to develop within the defenders, and that’s the last thing Lampard will want against an unpredictable team like Arsenal.
Bring N’Golo Kante Back
The Frenchman has missed the last few fixtures with a slight injury, but he could be back in time for this fixture. Although the initial assessment revealed that the World Cup winner is only likely to miss a couple of games, he hasn’t featured for the Blues since. A return against Arsenal for the FA Cup final, as he did for the Europa League final last season, would come as a massive boost to Lampard’s men. His combative nature and sheer work-rate simply cannot be underplayed, while his ability to drive forward with the ball at his feet could be extremely useful during this tie too.
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