Lampard takes the reins
After just one pretty successful season at the club, Maurizio Sarri left Chelsea last month.
Sarri helped to guide Chelsea to a 3rd place Premier League finish and two cup finals. The Blues would win the Europa League final 4-1 vs Arsenal.
Despite this, the Italian decided to leave Chelsea for Serie A giants, Juventus.
Now, after what seems like an age, Frank Lampard has finally been announced as Chelsea’s new manager.
Frank Lampard is the new Chelsea head coach!
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 4, 2019
On rejoining Chelsea, Lampard stated:
“The possibility and the opportunity to manage here, having played here, having felt the club, to manage this place, this club, these fans, these players, was huge. Was huge.” As quoted by football.london.
Lampard on Chelsea’s youth players
Lampard has had just one year of managerial experience, this past season with Derby County.
As well as having limited experience, Lampard will also have another disadvantage, as Chelsea are currently in the midst of a two-window transfer ban.
With Chelsea not currently allowed to bring in any fresh legs, the Blues could well look to their massive list of young players who are out on loan.
In many respects, Lampard is the perfect man to help give the youngsters a chance.
During his stint as Derby boss, he had both Mason Mount and Fikay Tomori on loan from Chelsea.
Lampard has also brought along with him Jodi Morris to be his assistant head coach.
Prior to working with Lampard at Derby, Morris worked with both Chelsea’s under-21s and under-18s.
So, Morris has a great relationship with some of the young players that Chelsea could bring through this summer, something that Lampard has already recognised:
“He [Morris] obviously has a great link with the academy which is important, but more than that he is a fantastic coach, we have a huge loyalty together between each other day to day.” As quoted by football.london.
Lampard also discussed Mount and Tomori, and their chances in the first-team:
“They were pivotal in the team and they come back now with a very clean slate as does every player, young, old, been on loan, at the club, whatever they are to prove in pre-season that they have a chance to be in the squad going forward so they are the same.”
With Chelsea currently unable to sign players, we could well see some of their youth players promoted to the senior side in the forthcoming campaign.
Lampard will begin his Premier League reign as Chelsea boss vs Manchester United on August 11th.
Here is how he could line up for that game.
Starting between the sticks, Kepa had a decent debut season at Stamford Bridge.
Barring a spat with Maurizio Sarri during the League Cup final, Kepa did pretty well, and managed to keep 14 clean sheets in 36 league games this past season. He will very likely remain as Chelsea’s number one throughout 2019/20.
Moving to the backline, Chelsea opted for four at the back for much of last season, and so did Lampard with the Rams.
So, that will likely be how Lampard sets up vs Manchester United.
Cesar Azpilicueta was Sarri’s main right-back during the 2018/19 season, and it is hard to see anyone replacing him next campaign.
19-year-old Reece James may be handed a more prominent role, though, after an excellent season with Wigan at right-back.
However, he is currently injured and will reportedly miss the start of the 2019/20 season.
Chelsea’s centre-back spot is also likely to be affected by injuries at the beginning of their PL campaign.
Antonio Rudiger, along with David Luiz, were Chelsea’s main centre-back pairing under Sarri.
However, the German suffered a knee injury in April that caused him to miss the remainder of the season.
It was then reported in June that Chelsea are fearful that Rudiger’s injury will cause him to miss the start of the upcoming season.
As a result, you could be looking at a centre-back pairing of Luiz and Andreas Christensen to face Man United.
Chelsea’s left-back spot is then likely to be filled by Emerson, after Marcos Alonso spent much of last season proving that he is pretty inept defensively, especially in a back-four formation.
Kante vs Jorginho
We must now focus on one of Lampard’s biggest issues, involving N’Golo Kante and Jorginho.
Prior to Sarri taking over at Stamford Bridge, Kante played in the holding midfield role.
The Frenchman had proven himself to be one of the best in the world in this spot, winning two Premier League titles and a World Cup.
Despite this, when Sarri brought along Jorginho from Napoli to help implement ‘Sarri-ball’, Kante was thrust into a more attacking role.
With Sarri gone and Jorginho still in London, Lampard must decide whether he should move Kante back into his natural position, or allow Jorginho to continue there.
The best option to appease Chelsea’s fans, and likely for the good of the team, is moving Kante back into his old spot.
Lampard has already been asked if he knows where he will play Kante, to which he responded:
“Yeah I do actually. Not going to sit here and talk about next season, we are starting pre-season tomorrow. I have said it before out loud, Kante is is one of the greatest midfield players in the world, in the last few years his performances have been outstanding.
“One of the pleasures of me getting this job is I am able to work with players of his quality and my job is to find the best position to get the best out of him in the team.” As quoted by football.london.
Barkley vs Mount
The final two spots in what is likely to be a midfield three can be taken up by several players.
After Chelsea signed Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid on a permanent basis this week, he is likely to take up one spot.
If Lampard had everyone available to him, you would think that the final place would go to Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
But RCL is also injured, after rupturing his Achilles. The midfielder posted a video of himself back walking on Thursday, so it’s unlikely that he will be fit for August 11th.
First day walking… never thought I’d struggle pushing 5kg pic.twitter.com/pNbEQJV5e6
— Ruben Loftus-Cheek (@rubey_lcheek) July 4, 2019
Therefore, Lampard will probably start one of Ross Barkley or Mason Mount in that final spot to take on United.
Given that Lampard spent the past season working with Mount, and the fact that Barkley had a rather average 2018/19, we could well see Mount given a chance vs Man United.
Who will start up top?
Much like the Loftus-Cheek case, if Callum Hudson-Odoi was 100% fit, Lampard would presumably start him on the wing.
Like RLC though, Hudson-Odoi suffered an Achilles injury at the back end of last season, and may not be fully fit for next month.
CHO does look to be ahead of Loftus-Cheek in his recovery process, though:
Recovery is going well, I hope to be soon be back on the pitch, let’s go!! pic.twitter.com/SCKbOOzWKu
— Callum Hudson-Odoi (@Calteck10) June 23, 2019
But with Hudson-Odoi a doubt, Lampard could opt for a wing duo of Willian and Christian Pulisic.
Willian is naturally a right-winger, but he played 30 games on the left last season, and could well start there vs the Red Devils.
The striker spot will then likely come down to either Olivier Giroud or Tammy Abraham.
Gonzalo Higuain has returned to Juventus following his loan spell at Stamford Bridge, meaning he is no longer an option.
Alvaro Morata, though, could be recalled from Atletico Madrid.
But given the fact that Morata has expressed his desire to remain in Madrid, he probably won’t be too thrilled, should Chelsea bring him back this summer.
Moreover, while Giroud did impress in the Europe League last term, his PL record was pretty poor. In 27 league outings, he scored just two.
As a result, Abraham could well be given a chance to earn a starting role up top for Chelsea