Sunday, October 2, 2022

Does Chelsea’s Newly-Found Defensive Security Now Officially Make Them Title Contenders?

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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.

When Frank Lampard arrived at Stamford Bridge to take over from Maurizio Sarri as the new manager of Chelsea Football Club prior to last season, there were various question marks raised about the Englishman’s credibility for the job. While some argued that the appointment was based entirely on sentiment and a certain nostalgic value, others claimed that his experience managing Derby County wasn’t enough to warrant a place in the Premier League. The early parts of their 19/20 league season seemed to indicate just that as well, as they stuttered and fell to a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester United on the opening day.

Although things took a positive upturn in the weeks and months after that, the Blues never really looked like a team consistent enough to challenge for any trophies, let alone put up a title fight. However, despite all of their struggles, they actually reached the final of the FA Cup, but once again, their lack of consistency came back to haunt them. After losing to Arsenal, in what many Chelsea fans still claim was a fixture that was stolen away from them by the referee and injuries, the mood around Stamford Bridge was gloomy. Suddenly though, Frank Lampard has seemingly fixed Chelsea’s defensive issues.

What Changed For Lampard’s Chelsea At Stamford Bridge?

The recently concluded summer transfer window proved to be an extremely successful one for Chelsea, in that they were able to lure in some of the most sought-after players in the world. The likes of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz were bought in from under the noses of the biggest clubs in Europe, while shrewd pieces of business, like Hakim Ziyech and Xavier Mbuyamba, were also completed. Despite this, it must be conceded that it’s the Blues’ three defensive acquisitions that have made the biggest impact so far in the current campaign.

Frank Lampard Has Seemingly Fixed Chelsea’s Defensive Issues - Chelsea celebrate
LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 04: Timo Werner of Chelsea celebrates after scoring his sides first goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA Champions League Group E stage match between Chelsea FC and Stade Rennais at Stamford Bridge on November 04, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Neil Hall – Pool/Getty Images)

The arrival of Ben Chilwell has proved to be extremely important, as the fact that he is an upgrade on Marcos Alonso and Emerson was apparent to see from day one. Thiago Silva is another big name who was brought in by Lampard, and there’s no need to even begin questioning the Brazilian veteran’s long list of credentials. While these two have had a key part to play, it’s worth noting that the most influential signing has been that of Edouard Mendy. The Senegalese keeper has been being short of sublime since taking over in between the sticks for Chelsea, and as of writing this article, he had managed to keep five clean sheets across all competitions.

What Does This Added Defensive Sturdiness Mean For Chelsea?

The Blues recently kept back to back clean sheets in the league, for the first time since Lampard took over as the manager. While the thought that it’ll be hard to find a way through this solid Chelsea defence is probably circulating through the minds of the rest of the teams in the league, it’s actually their attacking potential that should concern everyone. As good as they’ve been over the last few weeks, it’s worth noting that the likes of Havertz, Pulisic, Werner and Ziyech are all yet to bring out their best, and when it eventually does happen, it’s surely going to be a sight to behold. Having a solid base to build from at the back will give them the security they need to go out and do their business.

Frank Lampard Has Seemingly Fixed Chelsea’s Defensive Issues: Are They Now Title Contenders?

Although it could be argued that it’s still far too early in the season to be making title predictions, if the last couple of weeks of action is anything to go by, then Chelsea will surely be there or thereabouts at the end of the season. Liverpool are currently atop the league table, but with Virgil Van Dijk expected to miss a major chunk of the season, they’re likely to drop points along the way. On the other hand, teams like Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal haven’t started in the greatest of fashion, thereby presenting the London club with an excellent opportunity. If they’re able to maintain this level of defensive surety, while also ensuring that the attacking players gel together soon, then this Chelsea side could soon turn into a force to be reckoned with.

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