Chelsea impressing under Lampard
When Frank Lampard took the reins at Chelsea, most people probably didn’t expect the former midfielder to do so well.
Chelsea were hit with a transfer ban early in the year, meaning Lampard couldn’t bring his own players in over the summer.
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned the English club Chelsea FC and The Football Association for breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18. Read more on @FIFAcom https://t.co/iTpcozM7Mz
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) February 22, 2019
The Blues also parted ways with Eden Hazard over the summer, with the Belgian arguably Chelsea’s most valuable player.
As for Lampard himself, he had just one season of managerial experience under his belt, and that was in the Championship with Derby County.
However, Lampard and co have certainly silenced any doubters with their emphatic start to the 2019/20 campaign.
The Blues have notched eight wins in 12 Premier League outings already this term, losing just twice, versus Liverpool and Manchester United.
That has seen the London outfit push up to 3rd in the English top-flight, with Chelsea currently in good stead to land themselves a top-four finish and secure Champions League qualification for the 2020/21 season.
Lampard is also only the second manager in Chelsea’s history to win seven consecutive away games in all competitions, showing just what an exemplary start he has had to life in the Blues’ dugout.
7 – Frank Lampard is only the second manager in @ChelseaFC‘s history to win seven consecutive away games in all competitions, after Bobby Campbell (February-April 1989). Icon. #WATCHE pic.twitter.com/wQb3qmgFej
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 2, 2019
Chelsea to be title challengers next season?
After such a superb start to the season, Chelsea fans will likely be excited to see what Lampard can accomplish when he is allowed to splash the cash.
With Liverpool playing some of their best-ever football and dominating the PL this term, perhaps Chelsea mounting a proper title challenge is a bit out of their reach this season.
But if Lampard is backed in the summer, given the start he has had this season, there shouldn’t be any reason why Chelsea can’t produce a proper title challenge in 2020/21.
Here are three areas Chelsea should look to improve in order to challenge for the PL.
Willian & Pedro
The first area Chelsea could look to strengthen is their right-wing spot, more specifically a replacement for Willian.
The Brazilian’s tenure at Stamford Bridge should largely be judged as a success.
Willian has racked up 307 appearances for the Premier League giants, in which he has scored 55, assisted 56 and won a plethora of silverware.
However, the now 31-year-old seems to be entering the twilight years of his career.
Willian has still been Chelsea’s man right winger this season, featuring 15 times across all competitions.
But some of his displays have been pretty sub-par. And should Chelsea wish to challenge for the league next term, replacing Willian would certainly help strengthen their hopes of doing so.
Like Willian, Pedro is getting on a bit now, and with the 32-year-old Spaniard out of contract in the summer, Chelsea may be better served letting him go and bringing in some fresh legs.
Better backup for Abraham
Tammy Abraham has perfectly encapsulated Lampard’s spell at Stamford Bridge so far.
The 22-year-old Chelsea youth product has surprised quite a few people with just how well he has begun the season under the guidance of Lampard.
In 12 PL outings, Abraham has scored a resounding 10 goals and provided two assists.
So, saying that Chelsea should target another striker in the summer may seem a bit peculiar.
However, if Chelsea wish to launch a full-on assault for the Premier League title next season, they probably need a better backup for Tammy.
At the moment, Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi are Chelsea’s main sub strikers.
But Lampard doesn’t seem too keen on Giroud, with the Frenchman being handed just one league start under his new boss.
Giroud is also out of contract in the summer, and if his playing time is kept to a minimum, it is hard to see the 33-year-old renewing.
As for Batshuayi, the Belgian is a decent sub striker. But he doesn’t really appear to be good enough to start for Chelsea, especially if they want to challenge for silverware.
And while Abraham will likely remain Chelsea’s main number nine next season, asking him to start every PL, Champions League, League Cup and FA Cup game may prove too much for the 22-year-old.
So, Chelsea should look to bring in another backup striker to challenge Abraham for his spot, and fill in for the England international when he is fatigued or injured.
A replacement for Alonso
The final area that Chelsea should look to improve is their left-back spot.
Much like the situation with Abraham, Emerson seems like a solid starter for Chelsea at left-back.
However, should Emerson suffer an injury, as he already has done this campaign, Marcos Alonso looks to be his replacement.
And as shown throughout 2018/19 and on a smattering of occasions this season, Alonso isn’t all that great defensively.
So, to really challenge the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City, Chelsea probably need to bring in a better left-back than Alonso to either start over Emerson or provide some good competition for the Italian.
One potential target for Chelsea could be Leicester’s Ben Chilwell.
The England international offers something going forward, but he is also competent defensively.