Premier League high-flyers Chelsea fell to an unexpected defeat to London rivals West Ham United this midweek, in what was their first points dropped after returning from lockdown. The west London club started the game in the ascendancy but were soon undone by their own errors. An apparent inability to defend set-piece situations added to a largely toothless front-line ensured that the home side kept all three points from the tie.
In terms of the premise, a victory could’ve meant a massive boost for the Blues as well. They were just one point off Leicester City in third, and the Foxes’ defeat meant that a victory against the Hammers could’ve launched Lampard’s men into the top three. Furthermore, three points would’ve helped the Pensioners maintain their five-point lead over 5th place Manchester United, who are now within a couple of points away from jumping to 4th. All of this means that the race for Champions League football has heated up a little bit more.
What’s On The Line For Lampard’s Chelsea Team?
The Blues have confirmed the summer arrivals of Hakim Ziyech and German superstar Timo Werner over the last many months. The promise of European football is undoubtedly something that would’ve been given to the players during negotiations. Although whatever happens next season is likely to be excused as this is still the manager’s first year at the club, the Blues will be eager to ensure that they’re playing in the Champions League again next season. Moreover, being in the UCL will also allow the London club to use it as a bargaining chip for any further summer acquisitions. The first challenge towards achieving that goal comes in the form of a Saturday night fixture against Watford.
Here Are Three Things Lampard Must Ensure To Win Against Watford:
Three Things Lampard Must Ensure To Win Against Watford
Sort Out The Set-Piece Defending
The Blues’ first three fixtures back from the lockdown were against Aston Villa, Manchester City and Leicester City. Although the tie against Villa was a close call, it could be put down to being the first game and the presence of a glaring lack of match-sharpness. In the games against Manchester City and Leicester City though, Lampard’s men defended perfectly well.
The set-piece defending against the Hammers was abysmal. In Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, Chelsea have two defenders who are capable of being physically dominant, and Lampard must ensure that both of them bring out their best on the weekend.
Pick Giroud As The First-Choice Striker For The Remainder Of The Season
Tammy Abraham was expected to make the return as first-choice when football initially returned, but to everyone’s surprise, Lampard opted to use Giroud instead. The Frenchman did a decent enough job leading the line, and if the Blues are to get the win against Watford, the World Cup winner must return to the starting eleven. Abraham started the game against West Ham, and the only word to describe the performance that he put in is ‘dismal’. Giroud offers a much stronger physical presence and can effectively bring others into the game as well.
Don’t Move N’Golo Kante From His Actual Position Again
Since the return of football, N’Golo Kante has been moved back into his former position as the main central defensive-midfielder. Sarri chose to use the Frenchman as a more advanced option last season, and Lampard similarly followed suit for the first half of the current campaign. If Lampard does decide to move him forward again, it could end up having dire effects. The destroyer has been extremely effective in his role since the restart, and keeping him in place for this fixture against Watford could prove to be the difference between three points and none.
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